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Old 11-24-2014, 11:42 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Need advice on taking in an older dog

Hey everyone! Sorry in advance for the long post. My heart is very torn right now and I was hoping to get some advice. A family member of mine has a 7 year old medium size dog. She has been an outdoor dog her whole life, with no socialization, meeting other dogs, etc. The only interaction she has received is when they bring her dog food to her pen once a day. I don't think she has ever even been on a leash. She has also never had any toys. Anyways, they are moving and don't want to take her with them. I'm afraid if they take her to the shelter she would be put down because she is older, has no training, and is an owner surrender. I feel a very strong pull telling me to take her in. I am looking for any advice on the subject and am hoping someone can answer some questions for me.

1. Would this be biting off more than I can chew? I know I've only had Reagan since May and she's still adjusting, but I'm afraid this dog may not have many other options.

2. How hard will it be to transition her to an indoor dog since she has been outdoors for 7 years? I just purchased a house so we have a yard, but I would love for her to live out her golden years inside with lots of love.

3. I'm planning on doing the 2 week shutdown with her if I take her in order to see how she reacts to my dogs without them actually interacting at first. Any other suggestions for gradually trying out their interactions?

4. I'm considering taking her for a trial period to see how it goes. Any opinions on that? That way just in case she's severely dog aggressive or something I will hopefully be able to figure out another plan.

5. Has anyone adopted an older dog with no training? I know adults are easy to train just like puppies, but we will basically be starting from scratch with leash desensitization, basic commands, manners, etc.

Any and all advice is appreciated! I just feel really driven to take this girl in and try and give her the best life possible. (Also I know many people will probably have opinions on how she has been kept/her previous owners, but I'm trying to look toward the future instead of the past)
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Old 11-24-2014, 11:46 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I think when she meets your dogs you should do it in a neutral place, off property

Sure, try her out, give her a chance to shine in a new environment, just keep in mind that she may have a large period of adjustment and work with her, take her to the vet and get her health all checked out too (if you do not know)
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Old 11-24-2014, 11:54 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Older dogs are the best!

Honestly, most outdoor dogs with genetically solid temperament don't have half the issues that some neurotic housepets have acquired.

If you can do this safely, I say go for it (I have no idea what your background is which is why I say "SAFELY") and if it's a nightmare, just be honest with potential adopters so she gets a permanent home next time. If you really think you're her only hope, I'd say go with your heart.

I would adopt an older dog in a heartbeat. I have never had a problem bringing an older dog into the house and they have been the most awesome pets.
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Old 11-25-2014, 12:02 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by misslesleedavis1 View Post
I think when she meets your dogs you should do it in a neutral place, off property

Sure, try her out, give her a chance to shine in a new environment, just keep in mind that she may have a large period of adjustment and work with her, take her to the vet and get her health all checked out too (if you do not know)
I will be sure to introduce them in a neutral place. Should I introduce them before bringing her in for the two week shutdown or after? I don't know about her health (other than the fact that she needs to lose weight), but if I took her I would take her to a vet first thing to be sure she doesn't have any health issues. We live in Georgia and she's never been on HW preventative, so I do worry about that.
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Old 11-25-2014, 12:03 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vom Eisenherz View Post
Older dogs are the best!

Honestly, most outdoor dogs with genetically solid temperament don't have half the issues that some neurotic housepets have acquired.

If you can do this safely, I say go for it (I have no idea what your background is which is why I say "SAFELY") and if it's a nightmare, just be honest with potential adopters so she gets a permanent home next time. If you really think you're her only hope, I'd say go with your heart.

I would adopt an older dog in a heartbeat. I have never had a problem bringing an older dog into the house and they have been the most awesome pets.
Thanks for your reply! Have you ever brought an older dog in that didn't have any experience with other dogs? I think that's what I'm most worried about.
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Old 11-25-2014, 12:20 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Everything you asked I think is not really any barrier for a dog who is of average temperament.

I've fostered mature dogs that didn't know what a dog bed, dog toy are and how to interact with dogs with zero training. But they all blossomed within a few months and became well adjusted sweet dogs. It warms my heart every single time when they go through that transformation. The more untrained/unloved the dog were in its previous life, I felt they appreciate life and love that much more. They soak up all the love and attention naturally.

My current cattle dog was that way as well when I first adopted him. He came in the house wanting to mark every indoor plant, didn't know what toys are nor how to play with my resident dogs. He looked confused when my shepherd tried to engage him and would do it wrong and upset the shepherd. Initially he was not food nor toy motivated. After many months, I now can use food to train him (he even drools!) and we're now working on his motivation for tugs so I can use that for training later. He also plays appropriately with the shepherd too! 100% potty trained but the marking did take a couple weeks to fully break. After almost a year, we're still working on behavioral stuff that I believe were developed over time in his prior life but I know it's all a matter of time and we've got time. :-)
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Old 11-25-2014, 02:40 AM   #7 (permalink)
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It doesn't hurt to try. Getting a medical check up complete with bloodwork would be ideal. Sometimes medical things can make them act differently, thyroid for example. I would make it a very slow process, don't necessarily put a 2 week limit on it, it might be longer. Good Luck and keep us updated
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Old 11-25-2014, 09:41 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Go for it! It may be hard work but I just think older dogs are great. I imagine before long your resident dog will appreciate the company and having a friend. I know the older dog will appreciate the comfortable home and bed.
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Old 11-25-2014, 10:51 AM   #9 (permalink)
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If you do a trial, try to keep in mind the rule of thumb many use in rescue is you'll see huge changes in dog in the first 3 days, 3 weeks, and 3 months. We thus expect three very rough first days, then some small improvement....better, but still challenging three weeks, etc.

I've had several fosters who came from circumstances like you described, or worse, including coming off living on a chain (one was very old -- 10+ years old). They made the transition beautifully to being loving house companions. One is now so much of a princess that when it's been raining, her adopters tell me she won't put her paw on wet grass -- she is so over being any where close to the "elements" outside now that she's an inside dog who sleeps on a couch!

Take it slow. She'll have to learn how to learn from people since no one ever taught her that basic skill, but it's a beautiful thing when you see a light bulb go on in their head and they start connecting rewards and praise to their own actions.
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Old 11-25-2014, 12:50 PM   #10 (permalink)
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expect to find the dog HW pos.

Other than that, I think you will probably be fine. I brought an older shep home from the pound in AR. I had planned on introducing them outside but he didn't initially want to go down stairs to get outside - they met in the house. All was fine.

Depends on the dogs.
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