Older dog has HUGE anxiety over new puppy. What do I do? - German Shepherd Dog Forums

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Old 12-28-2012, 05:40 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Older dog has HUGE anxiety over new puppy. What do I do?

Here's a little back story;
I have some health issues that has caused my husband and I to move in with my parents temporarily while being treated at a nearby hospital and clinics. Our new GSD pup is to be raised as a service dog for me.

My parents have an older mix, some kind of setter/shepherd. He is extremely well behaved, except he's got bad dog anxiety. He's pounced dogs before but never bitten until yesterday when he nipped our puppy in the face for coming to close to his treat. We work really hard to keep the puppy away from Bailey's (older dog) food, water, bed and toys. But accidents happen. Puppy learned a lesson the hard way and now gives Bailey more respect and space. He's not acting afraid really, just more respectful. Bailey on the other hand is getting more and more stressed out. He stopped eating yesterday, wont take any more treats and today has thrown up bile twice.

What do I do?
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Old 12-28-2012, 10:30 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Call a vet!
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Old 12-29-2012, 11:48 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default For What?

Let me clarify. I'm not asking about the scratch on the puppy's face. He's totally fine. But how do I help the older dog?
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Old 12-29-2012, 11:50 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Call the vet for the older dog who is not eating, and throwing up bile. It may be the puppy but it may also be unrelated illness and that is what is wrong with him. Vet check first, then behavior.
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Old 01-08-2013, 04:14 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Late Update

Sorry, I'm not very good at the whole forum thing.
So the reason I didnt take the older dog to the vet, is because I already know why he was throwing up bile. We've been to the vet multiple times since I've lived with him because he throws up bile. Its always come down to stress, so unless it doesnt go away when I remove the stress, I dont feel the need to run to the vet right away anymore.

I gave the older dog a new space with his bed that was completely away from anything puppy related. He is now free to come and go between this space and the rest of the house. He's doing MUCH better now. He will come in the living room, sniff the puppy, hang out for a few minutes and get some attention and then go away. He does this all day long. This way he is gradually getting used to the puppy instead of suddenly have the puppy around all the time. He eating again and no longer vomitting.

I'm still cautious about him with the puppy...since he is a bit fear aggressive. Sometimes he'll literally be shaking when the puppy is close to him. I dont know why he's so afraid. So again, I'd really appreciate any advice someone has about integrating the two dogs and how to relieve some of my older dogs fear.

-Curvy
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Old 01-08-2013, 04:59 PM   #6 (permalink)
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It can be expensive, but you may want to consult a veterinary behaviorist or talk to your regular vet about medication. That sounds like a really extreme level of fear, and anti-anxiety medication may help Bailey while you guys are staying there.

Otherwise, my suggestions kind of depend on your living situation. I think you need to find a way to make all the interactions on Bailey's terms. Can you or your husband keep the puppy tethered to you whenever you're out in the house, so that he can't approach Bailey unless you do? Or perhaps could you confine him to one area of the house and Bailey to another with a baby gate, so they can sniff at each other through it if they want but Bailey has to choose to approach the barrier? Putting things back on Bailey's terms is the best thing I can think of to help him relax.
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Old 01-08-2013, 11:49 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks for your suggestions.

We have been working on giving Bailey space. He approaches Huter on his terms and we never let Huter just run up to him without being "invited." It is helping some. I just feel so bad when Bailey is shaking. I have considered medication. In general I dont like to medicate my dogs...but he has so much anxiety, it may be better for him to have some meds. When I discipline Huter, Bailey cowers and hides behind the couch. And I mean, normal discipline. I dont yell, or hit or anything like that obviously. Just normal "no" to puppy biting and chewing. Redirecting and everything, Bailey can tell the puppy is being disciplined and he cowers and shakes. I didnt realize it was this bad, because Bailey has always been an only dog. I knew he had some anxiety but my goodness.


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Originally Posted by RowdyDogs View Post
It can be expensive, but you may want to consult a veterinary behaviorist or talk to your regular vet about medication. That sounds like a really extreme level of fear, and anti-anxiety medication may help Bailey while you guys are staying there.

Otherwise, my suggestions kind of depend on your living situation. I think you need to find a way to make all the interactions on Bailey's terms. Can you or your husband keep the puppy tethered to you whenever you're out in the house, so that he can't approach Bailey unless you do? Or perhaps could you confine him to one area of the house and Bailey to another with a baby gate, so they can sniff at each other through it if they want but Bailey has to choose to approach the barrier? Putting things back on Bailey's terms is the best thing I can think of to help him relax.
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Old 01-09-2013, 02:38 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I'm really not a fan of medication either, and I haven't used it in my own dogs. I own and have cared for many fearful dogs too, so that's saying something.

From your description, though, I think Bailey's situation is one that medication is made for. You guys obviously have relatively little choice in living situations--you need your future service dog, and Bailey deserves to stay in the home he's lived in so long, and uncontrollable circumstances have combined the two households. On top of that, his reactions do seem extreme. Cowering and shaking in the circumstances you describe is over-the-top. This sounds like a situation that anti-anxiety medication is made for.

FWIW, I have seen medication have extremely positive effects in some dogs I have met. I only endorse it in unusual situations like this, but from experience I do think it is a very valuable tool.
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Abutiu "Abi"-ACD puppy and hopeful future SAR dog!
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Old 01-09-2013, 08:56 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Considering he pounced again...

Well considering Bailey pounced again, I feel medication may be in order. I have NO idea why he pounced the puppy this time. I just called Huter over to me and Bailey attacked. Puppy is completely fine this time. Nothing wrong. But this cannot keep happening. I do need the puppy, and yes Bailey deserves to stay in his home.

Hopefully our living situation will change very shortly. But until then, I dont want anything bad to happen. Huter gets socialization with other known dogs, even large dogs, so I'm not too worried that he'll become afraid of dogs. He's just a bit afraid of Bailey now

Thanks for your advice!
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