I don’t want to put a downer on what might well work perfectly for you but tonight I have just said goodnight, for the last time, to my beautiful 10 month old pup who is going to a new home tomorrow because the two-dog situation just didn’t work out for us. Not because my older dog could not accept him but because it became painfully obvious that the pup cannot share a home with another dog and it is only by good fortune and prompt intervention that my older dog has not been seriously injured or killed.
We are fortunate that his breeder has been so supportive and responsible because it is through her efforts that the pup is going to what will be the perfect forever home for him too. So despite my heart breaking at saying goodbye to him, I know he will do well with his new human who is experienced with the breed and will ensure that pup lives in a one-dog home. The pup, incidentally, gets on just fine with other dogs he meets outside the house and in all other ways is a bright, easily trained, loving and happy little chap. He just has a terrifying high level of territorial aggression when faced with having to live with another dog.
How did this sad situation occur? Well I thought I’d done all the right things. Before getting the pup I made sure that my older dog was accepting of other dogs in his home by providing a holiday home for friend’s dogs who came to stay for several days at a time. All went fine. My older dog is a friendly, easy going chap who shared nicely and loved the company.
I then chose a well bred puppy from a reputable breeder. I know his parents and siblings and visited him several times in his breeder’s house before he came to me at 10 weeks old. My dog accepted him happily and the pup settled down quickly. All went well until puberty kicked in when pup first started to behave aggressively towards my older dog. Pup was castrated on my vet’s advice and we hoped it had been a teenage blip. It hadn’t. Because as the pup got more mature he got ever less prepared to accept the presence of my older dog in the home and he attacked him with increasing ferocity. A ferocity combined with unpredictability which made any sort of effective training very difficult indeed. My older dog became terrified of the pup and fell into what I can only describe as a frightened and deep depression. Even if the pup was safely separated away from him, he could not relax because he clearly feared an ambush at any time.
What have I learned from this? Well for starters, not to assume that the older (or first) dog will be the one that causes any problems or disharmony. Also that I shall never again get two dogs of the same breed (in this case Jack Russell Terriers) or the same sex. Instead, and only if I ever feel my older dog could cope, I would likely choose a gun dog breed – probably a spaniel and certainly get a female.
If you already have a fear aggressive dog, MrsPanda99 then I strongly advise very careful introductions and perhaps, if possible, arrange to have a dog to stay for a vacation break, say, so that you can observe how your dog reacts before you commit yourself. Boxers (a breed I love) are generally not as feisty as terriers but you won’t want your older boy made more fearful by the introduction of a dog that is too full on for him. Puppies can be a lot for an older dog to cope with so as a pp has said, perhaps consider a dog of similar age. But do ensure that you don’t introduce another dog with known issues into the house.
Only I’d hate for you to be feeling like me right now as I prepare to say farewell to my beautiful pup who I love so very much and who I had expected to share many happy years with.