Living with 2 Dogs - Maxx Update
Some of you may have followed Maxx's story here - for anyone who isn't familiar, here are the highlights:
- Maxx lived with a "breeder" whose intact male dogs didn't like him. They took him to a shelter;
- Maxx was adopted by a family with two other small dogs in December 2010. By February, they were ready to rehome Maxx because the neighbors were complaining that he was barking at other dogs while in the back yard;
- A lovely family in NY found Maxx on petfinder.com and paid us to transport him from Michigan to NY. On the way, we hit a patch of ice in PA and hit the guard rail several times. $5k in damage to the car. OUCH! Thanksfully, we were all fine (including Maxx);
- Within a few days of being in his new home, Maxx's new family realized that he had separation anxiety and barked/howled when alone, even though they had specifically asked the previous owners about SA issues and been told it was not a problem. Unfortunately, neighbors began to complain and they were given a date by which to rehome Maxx. This was a sad, sad situation for the whole family, including a 5 year old little boy;
- The NY family paid to have Maxx transported back to MI where he now lives with us and an annoying little brother GSD named Ezra (10 months). We added an extra "X" to his name in honor of the Malibu Maxx that we wrecked taking him to NY.
The first few days were ROUGH. Maxx had never been in a crate before and it caused him great anxiety to be in it. Ezra has been crated since he came at 9 weeks, so it's not a problem for him. I assumed I would crate train Maxx in a few days and he'd be fine. After waking up 3 mornings to a Hershey Explosion in the crate (did I mention Maxx is long haired? ARGH!) Maxx's previous owner in NY (who I have become friends with) suggested that I try letting him sleep outside the crate. DUH! Poop problem solved.
I was also leery of Maxx & Ezra not getting along. Ezra is a VERY confident, very spoiled boy who has spent practically every waking hour with me since he came. The only caveat I gave for taking Maxx was that if there was a bloodbath between the two of them, I would not be able to keep him. I bought a Leerburg video about introducing a new dog to your home and decided to keep them separated with crates and rotate them in and out during the day until they were able to ignore one another in the crate. Sounds great in theory, huh? We made it 6 days before I was so frazzled by trying to keep them apart, I decided that they were going to have to peacefully coexist in the same house. We went out in the back yard, they sniffed, Maxx growled. Ezra tried to mount, Maxx snapped. Ezra put his paw over Maxx's shoulder, Maxx let him know that wasn't going to happen. Ezra wagged like a fool, play bowed and did that "approach & run" thing. Maxx ignored him. When we came in the house, I caught Ezra licking Maxx's muzzle. YAY! Bloodbath averted!
Day 2 of peacefully coexisting, Maxx & Ezra took off down the street while I was taking out trash. Ezra usually follows me out the back door to the trash can and back so I was just bopping along without thinking about the fact that I now have a full grown dog that ISN"T bonded to me. Until about 5 minutes later when I realized they were not in the house. They made it 4 houses down before a neighbor grabbed them and put them in her back yard. Thank god for small towns.
Maxx is also transitioning from Pedigree to raw. I assumed the bowel issues the first few days were from the transition, but in retrospect, I think it was me not fully understanding Maxx's anxiety over the crate (thanks, S!). He's getting 3# of raw food a day (still mostly chicken but starting to add some pork) and eating every meal like it's the best meal he's ever had. He's also joyously running to get in his crate to eat, though he's ready to get out as soon as he's done. Poops are firm to crumbly so I'll start to slowly decrease bone until I find his "happy place".
The best part of all is watching Ezra and Maxx play in the back yard. I get so much joy from watching them and Maxx is teaching Ezra some important lessons about dynamics. The first few days, I have to admit I was thinking "what have I done?" and I'm sure there will be other days when I feel that way. Heck, I have days when I feel that way about my CHILDREN! But as I write this, I've got two happy boys just in from a romp in the snow laying at my feet. I'd call that success.
Caretaker of Ezra the Wonder Dog &
Maxx, Pooch Extraordinnaire