Dog grieving loss of other dog - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-02-2019, 02:51 PM Thread Starter
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Dog grieving loss of other dog

Hey all new to the forum, I'm having a bit of an issue with my Malinois.

My girlfriend and I had gotten a couple of dogs about a year and a bit ago a boxer named Frey and a Mal named Tyr. A month ago we lost the boxer to sudden heart failure, I tried to bring him back with cpr and ultimately failed. It was a pretty tragic experience for us. We let our Mal say goodbye in the hopes he might understand.

So our current problem is getting Tyr to do anything. Trying to get him interested in playing or any form of exercise for more than a couple minutes has been getting pretty futile since Frey passed. He often just gets bored in a couple minutes and goes and lays down in the corner of the yard to pout. His lack of exercise is starting to have the negative affect of hurting his nose while he is kenneled. And being excessively clingy when he was reasonably independant previously.

Other than that he is well behaved aside from a bit of over excitement at guests which is being worked on.

Does anyone have any experience with a dog grieving the loss of a pack member? Any tips?
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-02-2019, 05:30 PM
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Yes they grieve. Give it time, keep the routine as familiar as possible and carry on.
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-03-2019, 01:52 PM Thread Starter
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We've been keeping routine as best we can. I will keep giving it time. Thank you.
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-03-2019, 04:28 PM
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Does anyone have any experience with a dog grieving the loss of a pack member? Any tips?
Lots. The only thing that really helps is getting the grieving dog a new canine companion that is similar as possible to the dog he lost. Even if he is initially annoyed by the newcomer, it's better to be annoyed than heartbroken, and the annoyance goes away after a while. I have even seen older, perhaps a bit senile, dogs come to see the newcomer as the dog they lost.

In my experience with clients who refused to do this, the dog had some recovery but was never the same afterward.

Relying on "time," "routines," and showing the dog his best friend's dead body is cruel.

Also, your Mal is not "pouting." He is heartbroken.

Last edited by JonRob; 07-03-2019 at 04:34 PM.
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-03-2019, 04:36 PM
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Perhaps you can start doing things where he has no memory association reference to his best buddy Fray. Take him there and do something novel. nothing crazy, just unusual and unassuming but will peek his interest. Etc. make it short.

Our old girl seemed to settle pretty hard into the grieving slump when Dh heart dog passed. After a decent amount of time, it seemed to be becoming her new normal. It did have to be interrupted. But a month isnít that long, our girl was going on four months.

Iím sorry for your loss.
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-03-2019, 04:38 PM Thread Starter
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I can't say that I think letting him say goodbye was cruel. I think they understand more than you give them credit for. He was there when it happened anyways so its not like I could have shielded him from it. We do intend to get another boxer but through a proper breeder, which can take time. I doubt the dog would think a new dog is the same dog they lost.
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-03-2019, 04:46 PM
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I don't advise getting another dog just because. You may wish to get another you may not but getting one for your dog could backfire badly.
When Sabi died Bud was grieving badly and I was worried about him. We let Shadow out to play with him thinking that it would do them both good. Thankfully I was not by myself because after a split second of startled immobility he tried to kill her. Literally grabbed her by her head and was trying to shake her.
Prior to Sabi's death I thought Bud was really good with other dogs. After her death he hated them. We tried, carefully, numerous times to let him and Shadow play and every time he went after her. Dogs that he had previously ignored on walks he would growl at, dogs that he had played with he ignored unless they got near him and then he would snap and growl.
I know too many people who got second dogs to help and ended up in a crate and rotate, with a dog they really did not want to start with.
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-03-2019, 04:49 PM Thread Starter
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We do want a new dog in time. Breeders usually have wait lists anyways. The dog will be for us not just for Tyr. He still plays good with other dogs and pups. So no aggression yet.
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-03-2019, 04:52 PM Thread Starter
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I will say he does seem to be slowly getting better. So I don't think he will stay that way. But I will try to get him out to do something new. He still enjoys walks and car ride but running and playing fetch was how I previously tired him out which he seems to not be interested in.
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-03-2019, 04:58 PM
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I can't say that I think letting him say goodbye was cruel. I think they understand more than you give them credit for. He was there when it happened anyways so its not like I could have shielded him from it. We do intend to get another boxer but through a proper breeder, which can take time. I doubt the dog would think a new dog is the same dog they lost.
No, they understand far more than you give them credit for.

If the Boxer died in front of your Mal (new info), then of course you couldn't have shielded him from it. But there are folks who insist on dragging their dogs up to the dead bodies of their friends when the dogs have not seen their friend die.

My dogs have always known when I have taken a dog away to be euthanized, Sometimes they howl in anguish when I leave with the dog. They know the dog is sick and cannot be saved and will not be coming back. That is how much they understand.

I have also had dogs drop dead from hemangiosarcoma in front of their dog friends. This is much, much harder on the dogs than taking a dog away to be euthanized. Obviously you couldn't help it that your Boxer died in front of your Mal.

Whenever one of my dogs has lost a beloved dog companion, I have moved heaven and earth to get him a new compatible dog buddy as soon as possible. There are lots of good dogs and lots of good breeders, and it has never taken me more than two weeks. It was really inconvenient for me, but that didn't matter. I made it top priority. And I have never blown off a dog's grief as mere "pouting."

And whether you believe or not, an older, perhaps somewhat senile, dog can come to view a newcomer as the dog he lost. I have seen this happen at least half a dozen times.
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