One Senior, about to add another - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 29 (permalink) Old 01-13-2017, 06:15 AM Thread Starter
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One Senior, about to add another

Hi everyone!

I currently have a senior Long Hair GSD (8 Y/O)that I rescued 4 years ago (has it been that long!?) that has bonded to me very well. I am single and he is the focus of all my attention and, unless I have to go to work/shopping/errands that I cannot bring him on, is with me all the time. I have always felt guilty about leaving him by himself while I am at work, as he seems lonely (my perception) when I check up on him with the 1000 cameras I installed to watch him while I am away. (please don't worry, he is monitored by my stay at home neighbors and is well tended to with an Acre yard to roam in, access to a heated garage via a large doggie door, continuous water and food as well as a his own car!). A day ago I was presented with an opportunity to rescue another senior that is also around 8 Y/O. She is recovering from starvation and is partially blind, but otherwise seems to be OK. Bruno and I are going to see her tomorrow to see how they get along and if they are OK with each other I'd like to add her to the family. I worry though that Bruno will get jealous of the reduced attention and strike out at her for it.

Can someone with similar experiences chime it and offer some advice as to how best to approach it?

Thanks,
Steve

The attached picture is Bruno in his car. I have a hard time getting him out of it he like to ride in it so much-even when I am working on it! He even wants to help me with the lawn!
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post #2 of 29 (permalink) Old 01-13-2017, 10:52 PM
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Handsome Bruno may like a lady companion I can't speak from experience since I've always just had one dog, but from other posts on adding a second dog, it is suggested to introduce them in a neutral area like a park. When a friend adopted a second dog, the foster mother brought the dog to a park and she was there with her dog. The dogs got along well so my friend went ahead with the adoption. So, I would suggest that you and Bruno meet the dog that way and see how it goes.


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post #3 of 29 (permalink) Old 01-14-2017, 05:17 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply!

Bruno and I are heading out today for introductions-hopefully the snow will hold off until they can meet!
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post #4 of 29 (permalink) Old 01-14-2017, 11:26 AM
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Sometimes seniors become very nurturing and doting on a special needs or health-challenged dog -- they can be very surprising in their reactions! I've fostered several seniors who came from neglected circumstances, and I honestly love having them around--they tend to acclimate beautifully to new circumstances, once given a chance.

Blind dogs are usually submissive with other dogs, out of necessity. However, they can't read other dogs' body language, so they don't relate to other dogs in quite the same way. Sighted dogs also may take a bit to figure out why this new dog keeps running into them and ignores "the look" to leave them alone.

If you get her, I can help you with some training and acclimating techniques. Several years ago, we adopted an older dog who was totally blind and had to figure it all out. Try to remember that blind dogs aren't truly disabled --they are normal dogs who just rely on smell and sound to move through the world (and those are already dogs' primary senses). They can do nearly everything sighted dogs can do...they just learn it differently.

Thank you for wanting to give her a good home!
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post #5 of 29 (permalink) Old 01-15-2017, 05:55 AM Thread Starter
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Well, Zoey is now in my home. I have to admit I having mixed feeelings about the whole situation and am wondering if I did the right thing.

Let me explain:

Zoey is not 8 Y/O she is more like 12, and she definitely has some hip issues. She is very frail and is being very timid right now. I was hoping to get Bruno a friend to play with that is around his age, this is not going to be the case-BUT, that is not the issue. I can deal with those and will love her as much as I can. The issues is the guilt I am feeling over having to share my attention with another GSD when Bruno has been my only child for so long. I can feel his confusion and see his reaction to having another dog in the house when it was just the two of us and I just don't know what to do. I feel as if our bond is going to become weaker and I am very afraid of that.

Anyone have any suggestions? I am sure in time things will get better and I will laugh at this later, but right now I am an emotional wreck.

Thanks,
Steve
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post #6 of 29 (permalink) Old 01-15-2017, 07:04 AM
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I have a senior and a youngster and they are pretty jealous of individual attention the other one gets. here are some things I do:

I take them on individual outings to town for training or just fun

if I can make time I walk them seperately

When I get home and let them out of their kennels I let the old one out first and spend a minute greeting her before I let him out because he will try to push her out of the way to get to me.

If I am running short errands I let one or the other ride along with me, usually her.

Do the bottom line for me is, I try to make one on one time for each dog.
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post #7 of 29 (permalink) Old 01-15-2017, 07:43 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks,

That is something I will try out.

We just got back from a walk this morning. Bruno and I usually go out before the sun comes up so I can let him run without the worry of other people/dogs on the path and that usually works out very well. I had her on a 25ft retractable and she didn't pull on it, or backup so I know some time in her life she was leashed. I wanted to see how Zoey would fair out in he dark with her partial blindness and she did better than I expected. She was slow at first, sniffing all the other dogs scents on the trail and Bruno was kind enough to always wait up the trial about 50/75ft for us to catch up (but I could tell he was impatient to get on a squirrel scent). As we got in the more wooded area, the 3/4 moon cast a nice glow and she was getting a bit more confident and would react when Bruno would get on a scent trail. I wanted to let her go, but there is too much undergrowth around the trees and I just see Her bonking herself on a tree, or worse getting a twig in the eye (I don't know why, but Bruno has uncanny night vision and can navigate the brush like it was full daylight outside).

Anyway, the fog was kinda thick on the second part of the trail and I could see that Zoey was starting to use Bruno as a guide as she would follow him closely as far as the lead would allow. (or they were on the same scent trail). I was much happier after the walk as it seemed Bruno didn't mind the company as much. Next we'll try a Daytime walk with them both tethered and see how that works.

I feed them both out of the same bowl at the end of the walk, while one ate, I groomed the other and that worked out well. Bruno was first and while Zoey was eating, he did approach her and sniffed her rear. She didn't react, other than being surprised, so that was good.

So we are back and Zoey is taking a nap (picture attached-any want to guess her age?). Later today I am going to do a quick trip and leave them alone with each other, monitor them on the Cameras and see what happens.

Thanks,
Steve
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post #8 of 29 (permalink) Old 01-15-2017, 07:52 AM
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I would recommend feeding them with a solid barrier of some sort in between, and not leaving them alone together. They don't know each other well enough, and you don't know them well enough as a pair to know this is safe if you know what I mean. My current female is 10, when she was 3 I adopted a rescue male. I installed tethers in the kitchen at various points, lightweight 4 ' leads, because I had 3 dogs to feed. All 3 went on tethers before I put down a bowl and didnt come off until I had picked up all bowls.

Later on I knew I could safely feed them loose together but scraps sometimes break out with new dogs and food can make it worse. I am all about preventing the preventable.
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post #9 of 29 (permalink) Old 01-15-2017, 08:04 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Thecowboysgirl View Post
I would recommend feeding them with a solid barrier of some sort in between, and not leaving them alone together. They don't know each other well enough, and you don't know them well enough as a pair to know this is safe if you know what I mean. My current female is 10, when she was 3 I adopted a rescue male. I installed tethers in the kitchen at various points, lightweight 4 ' leads, because I had 3 dogs to feed. All 3 went on tethers before I put down a bowl and didnt come off until I had picked up all bowls.

Later on I knew I could safely feed them loose together but scraps sometimes break out with new dogs and food can make it worse. I am all about preventing the preventable.
understood.

As far as the feeding, They only get fed when I am there to supervise, twice a day. Bruno wont even eat unless I am in the room with him unless I drop some raw food in. So I'll have to monitor that senario as they get more comfortable with each other and start getting back to a routine.

As far as unsupervised, They will at some point soon have to be alone together, it is unavoidable. There will be no food in the bowls in the garage, just water. Today I am just going to get out of their scent range (probably go to the neighbors) and watch them over the cameras for any problems.
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post #10 of 29 (permalink) Old 01-15-2017, 08:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve1814 View Post
Well, Zoey is now in my home. I have to admit I having mixed feeelings about the whole situation and am wondering if I did the right thing.

Let me explain:

Zoey is not 8 Y/O she is more like 12, and she definitely has some hip issues. She is very frail and is being very timid right now. I was hoping to get Bruno a friend to play with that is around his age, this is not going to be the case-BUT, that is not the issue. I can deal with those and will love her as much as I can. The issues is the guilt I am feeling over having to share my attention with another GSD when Bruno has been my only child for so long. I can feel his confusion and see his reaction to having another dog in the house when it was just the two of us and I just don't know what to do. I feel as if our bond is going to become weaker and I am very afraid of that.

Anyone have any suggestions? I am sure in time things will get better and I will laugh at this later, but right now I am an emotional wreck.

Thanks,
Steve
Dogs are extraordinarily adaptable creatures. Bruno and his new friend will work things out, barring any genuine dog aggression. Which I'm assuming Bruno has never displayed.

Bruno will be a little off balance for a couple of days while he figures this all out. Sooner or later, it will dawn on him that the other dog isn't leaving and that's that. On to the next thing.

We tend to way overthink these things.

I understand you're an emotional wreck, but Bruno isn't. He's a bit baffled and more than a little curious. He'll be fine.

My Lexi is dog aggressive. When we brought the puppy home, she went up to his crate, gave him a casual sniff and then went about her business.

Let them work it out. Try not to interfere in their doggy communications, they don't misunderstand each other.
Give Bruno some extra TLC to assuage your needless guilt.

And you're a sweetheart for taking in a Senior Dog. They have a special place in my heart.
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