Whole Dog Journal's Blog March 29, 2011

New Dog (not mine) - New Problems

Posted at 08:54AM - Comments: (5)

So, two weeks ago I wrote about how I have two friends who are looking for dogs, and how I was worried because they are both impulsive and apt to bring home the wrong dog.

One friend is actually being patient! Yay, friend! A week after I wrote that blog post, the other friend may have gotten the wrong dog. Or maybe not. She actually wanted a certain breed, the kind she’s had for two dogs in a row, and she found one in a shelter. And she wanted a young dog, and this guy is a year old. So far, so much better than I hoped.

But breed, age, and even sex are not everything! There is also the very important personality/compatibility match. And I’m not sure this is going to be a great match for all time. This dog is not as sweet and bonded to people as her last dogs. He seems only mildly interested in humans, and only mildly happy to have them pet him. (Granted, he might develop that trait over time. We’ve no idea of what his background is; he may not have had the opportunity to bond with a person.)

How do I know so much about this dog? Because after a week in my friend’s home, she asked whether I might take him for a week or two, both to evaluate him and to help her through two related problems common to young, untrained dogs.

Problem A: He chews anything he has access to.

Problem B: He won’t tolerate being confined in a crate or on a tether without barking, barking, barking.

Ouch.

My friend lives in a rental duplex, in close proximity to several neighbors, and while her landlord is dog-friendly, she feels vulnerable to complaints that might arise as this guy learns that barking won’t earn him an early release from the crate.

I have a nice insulated office, a bit of distance from immediate neighbors, and maybe a stiffer spine than my soft-hearted friend. I also have Otto, who can model appropriate good manners behavior around humans and at play with other dogs. And it’s not much different from fostering, which I like to do because it’s interesting and gives me new canine behavior and health problems to consider and deal with and write about. And, we’ll see; he might end up being an actual foster, if he doesn’t seem like the type of dog that my friend was looking for. The very fact that she was eager to see him go somewhere else for training and evaluation speaks volumes to me; usually, she’s way over-attached to her animals. We’ll see. We’re on day one. And so far, so good.

Comments (5)

I don't know anyone else whose dog is named Otto -- we named our Rottweiler puppies Otto and Lulu, after a husband and wife cleaning service we had years ago. :-)

I hope everything works out with your friend's new dog. Has she tried yummy stuffed Kongs in the crate? One of our puppies was crying in her crate and our trainer suggested filling Kongs with that cheese spray stuff, kibble, a little round liver treat in the small hole at one end, and a dog biscuit and peanut butter smeared at the large hole. We only give these in the crates, and only when we have to leave them in there for a couple of hours. It is amazing how well this has worked; they LOVE their crates now!

Posted by: Rebecca Deming R | April 2, 2011 8:16 AM    Report this comment

My Aussie mix was a stray from the local shelter 10 years ago and was totally wild! If I had not been extremely patient with her (and not the type to give up easily), she would have been back at the shelter within a few days. She had obviously not been socialized well as a young puppy - we got her at about 6 months of age. She was obnoxious and had no concept of personal space (except hers!). She drove us and our older dog crazy. She is now the sweetest, most well-behaved dog you could want. We have a new puppy, gotten at 6 months from a local shelter, and she is now the wild one! I seem to have a penchant for lost causes... I just have to remember that she, too, will grow up and out of her craziness.

Posted by: CAROLYN E S | April 1, 2011 2:56 PM    Report this comment

Shelter dogs do change for the better. I can share my experience with my foster dog Skye, a tri-headed white rough collie. When I picked Skye up from the shelter, 8/21/2010,( picked up by the shelter as a stray), he weighed only 35 lbs, loaded with hook worms, matted, fleas and ticks, not to mention Kennel Cough. (Through no fault of the shelter, we are overloaded with dogs, not unusual for 150 dogs to enter the shelter on a Saturday). KC is just a known fact here, upon leaving the shelter most dogs have it. The shelter did dispense Hook worm meds, plus KC meds until I could get Skye to the vet.
He arrived with the following behavioral problems.

1. Obviously had been tied up around feces (no hair around his neck) did not want to potty in our yard, this caused extreme stress and behavior of holding, whining and prancing around the yard, coming in and out the doggy door, until he finally had to use the yard. Would hold himself if possible for a.m. and p.m. walks.

2. On our walks, he was so reactive to everything, jogger, dogs, someone using a weedeater. Upon seeing dogs, he would loudly whine and bark and pull towards the other dog.

3. He was not able to relax and sit with us in the front yard without pacing and whining, even for the first 8 weeks he would pace and whine in the house and the back yard, why I had no idea. If anyone approached our yard (walked on the sidewalk past our house) he would go nuts, and if they had a dog with them it was ten times worse.

In December I decided to bite the bullet and take him for training, just for the socialization. The first class, we had to stand behind a barrier so he could not see the other dogs, as that loud whining crying, and pulling towards other dogs persisted throughout the first class. However, light at the end of the tunnel, second class much better, actually Skye was never dog aggressive ( as I thouht) just wanted to meet the other dogs, once he met a dog he was able to settle down and relax.

We are presently in our second obedience class and third agility, and he has settled down nicely. He loves agility, loves to please and has turned into a wonderful warm loving dog. He loves to ride in the car, last weekend we met friends at the Pet Expo in Palm Beach and he was somewhat excited with all the dogs but no whining, and acclimated himself well to the busy environment of vendors, dogs, and shows going on. We even participated with six other dogs in canine musical chairs. He greeted all dogs apropriately, whether they were small Yorkies, or large Danes, and was able to relax outside with all types of dogs walking by.

In conclusion, I have fostered many shelter dogs, (mostly collies) diamonds in the rough, but they have all blossomed into beautiful, warm and affectionate dogs; disgarding inappropriate behaviors as life became more stable and enjoyable.

Posted by: Patricia B | March 31, 2011 10:26 AM    Report this comment

When our dog, a Beagle x spaniel called Dexter was approximately 10-11 months of age we aquired Lilith, a pure bred Beagle aged 11 weeks. Lil is now approaching 13 months and Dex is 21 months. They are beautiful dogs, not only in appearance but more importantly, temperament. They have a great bond and are great companions for each other and us as well, we are vey proud of our dogs and how we have raised them, but I must stress the importance of patience, persistance and consistency which is of even greater significance in a multi dog household. So to all of you thinking of acqiring another dog, good luck and enjoy the fun having two or more dogs can bring, but please remember that there is some work involved and if your encountering problems seek professional advice. That old adage is certainly true regarding our canine companions...common sense prevails! Ciao for now dog lovers everywhere. Janine W VIC AUST

Posted by: Janine W | March 31, 2011 3:54 AM    Report this comment

Great picture--Otto is definitely a good roll model!!

Posted by: Hil P | March 29, 2011 12:52 PM    Report this comment

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