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Discussion Starter #1
My German shepherd is 6yrs old and recently lost her companion. In the past 6 weeks we have seen a strange behavior. The first 2 weeks after the death, she would take the box of treats and place it in front of the back door, then take individual treats and place them in the spots the deceased dogs would sleep. Now she is getting into the pantry and taking protein bars, fruit snack and placing them in our beds, chairs and hallway. She is not eating anything just putting them under pillows and blankets through the day while we are gone. My vet wants to medicate her and we do not agree. Today when I got home I found the pizza box in my bed and the left over crust in different bed rooms and placed in chairs, she didn't eat anything just placing the food . Has anyone experienced this. Please help. Thank you
 

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I would not medicate her for that. That seems a bit extreme. I might talk to a behaviorist just because her actions are a little bizarre, though super interesting. Maybe just try to engage her more and take her on outings. She obviously reacting to the absence of your other dog.
 

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She might do well with another dog in the house. Are you thinking about getting another one? Mine perked up a lot after losing our older dog when I brought home a puppy.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you for the comments and suggestions. We are in the process of selling our home, both of my children graduate from college this spring and we are afraid of the stress, new home missing family members ect., will cause for stella and not sure a new puppy is the right time for her. I have asked so many and no one has heard of or experienced what she is doing, but she has always been super sensitive/ emotional dog, I just dont want to take away the protein bars and other items, if this is a coping mechanism for her. She is causing no harm, just randomly placing food in our home ?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
My husband said I should clarify. The dog we had to put down, became blind and diabetic, my shepherd was able to tell when he was going to have an episode and stayed with him. She would also watch over him when he was outside, kind of guiding and guarding him. So when I say sensitive or emotional, she was able to tell when he was having a diabetic episode.
 

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I was going to say the same; she not only lost her friend but her job also. Maybe teach her another job that she can do at seemingly random times like picking up an item you drop and giving it back.

With her need to place food in spots where he was accustomed to being, did you ever bring him food to help with the diabetic episodes while she stayed by his side? maybe she has put her own two plus two together in hopes that will bring him back home or perhaps a need to do something that in some way comforts her and fills a void.

I am really sorry for your loss and it makes it harder seeing how strongly it affects your girl.
 

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My male GSD became quite bonded to the cat I had. They used to sleep together and play together. When the cat got run over by a car after sneaking out the door one dark, foggy night, Ranger began taking bits of my dirty laundry to his bed. He didn't chew them up, just left them there.

I think it was a similar coping mechanism to what your dog is doing.
 

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I probably am thinking too much like a human...

...but her actions make sense to me in the way that she is hoping to lure her friend back. First treats at the backdoor (come in! come back!) and then putting treats in her friends' favorite places (when my friend comes in, he can go to his favorite place and rest there with a treat!). When her friend still did not appear, maybe she decided to up the ante to prized human foods - or, it became a habit and just something she found interesting to do which would take her mind off his absence.

Anyway I wouldn't be too hard on her, poor girl, but just end her access to the pantry and gently let her know somehow that I don't want pizza in my bed...and could you give her some extra play/attention/training to help her through this stage? Maybe go for walks with another friendly dog, etc? (Hopefully it's just a stage and she will accept that her friend isn't coming back, and her behavior will become more normal again!)

Then again, maybe I am being too harsh...few wrapped snacks/fruit bars on chairs and in beds is no big deal! But pizza/pizza crusts seems unsanitary, so I would at least end access to that...(as a mom of teens, one tends to develop "food hygiene rules"...)

Sorry for your loss!!
 

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Maybe not a puppy, but how about adopting a rescue? Skip the puppy stage and give your dog another companion without all the work. You don't have to get one right away. Take the time to find the right one. It could be a week, a month, or a year. Anyway, it's just a thought.
 

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Dogs grieve. I don't care who says what, it's real.
If she is causing no harm and not in any danger let her work through it. I believe that gentle is the correct approach, she is not trying to be bad she just wants her buddy back.
When Sabs died Bud tried similar behaviors. He would carry her favorite toys around, sometimes put them in spots she liked in the yard, sneak onto her bed, sit by her dishes. I remember him going to her bed the day she died and laying beside it. My other dog Shadow was upset as well but she did eventually recover, Bud never did.
I kept their routines the same and carried on as normally as I could but at no point did I stop either of them from doing what they needed to do. To my mind that would be like telling someone how to grieve and that's just wrong.
She will process this in her own way, in her own time.
 

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My very comes to the house for euthanasia. When I had multiple dogs (Whippets), they were there but crated during the procedure. But allowed to see their dead buddy for several hours afterwards. One lied next to him for a while. The other one tried to jump into the grave with him. This was their leader dog and the two surviving ones went on an anorexia spree for several months. It was heartbreaking and I had trouble getting them to eat during this time But they did recover and then had to deal with a GSD pup.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thank you to everyone. It has been devastating and a relief at the same time for everyone in the family. 13 years with our first dog, who was a rescue and to watch the suffering. Anywho. Thank you for all of the comments and suggestions. We have decided to not medicate and let Stella work things out, safely. Possibly a new rescue in the future but for now its extra walks and treats and attention
 
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