Sunday, February 24, 2008

Life with Buster

Well, having two dogs in the house has been quite the adjustment. The new pooch is just great though....he is much better behaved and well mannered than the shelter lead us to believe, which was a nice surprise. Actually, it makes Thomas and I laugh because before the shelter allowed us to adopt him some lady sat down with us and told us that it sounded like we wanted an "average" dog and he (called Spud Jr at the time) was VERY high energy. Um lady, have you MET the little energy freak of nature in my car you let me adopt last year with no questions asked. This dog is NOTHING compared to her....she wears him the hell out (which actually posses quite a problem since we are trying to keep him somewhat restricted due to his surgery on Thursday). We are limiting the indoor play and doing 2 or 3 fifteen minute outside play times a day (plus of course, all potty breaks, which are a quick in and out).

Again, the new puppy is's MY dog that is the issue (seriously, if I thought taking one of them back would be the only solution to the problem, I would *want* to take HER back, but on the other hand she is our burden and another family deserves the better behaved one-oh, and we are NOT at this point yet, I'm just saying).....she annoys the ever living shit out of him by trying to jump on him and grab his ears (apparently it's a dominance thing). He had enough one time and turned around to snap at her....she backed off, but we gave both of them a time out away from each other in their crate. Right now I am having a rare moment (with enough time to type this) because she is sleeping on the couch and he is sleeping on a pillow bed on the floor. We have decided that Ginger can keep her couch privilege if she asks to get up and gets down when told, which she does. Buster however is not allowed on the couch....but he seems pretty cool with it being the laid back guy he is.

I understand this is a huge change for Ginger, and we are trying to be understanding but she is pushing limits like crazy. As mentioned before we have established a "time-out" in which if she is doing something we don't want (like jumping on Buster simply for walking across the room) we will correct her with a stern NO. If she does it again, she gets a 5-10 minute time-out in her crate away from the living room. She is use to being the only dog and we know that..... but it is just an exhausting transition for US too because she is being a stubborn ass about it. She has only eaten once in two days because she is use to her food setting out and she can eat it when I put it down or an hour later if she chooses....but now, with the new dog I can't leave Ginger's food out or he will eat his and hers so we have established an "eat in your cage" rule. The little one could give two shits less about this as he loves food....Ginger however does not like this new arrangement and refuses to eat like normal. Oh well...she won't let herself stave, if she is hungry enough....she will figure it out. I think the biggest thing for Ginger right now is that we normally don't make her sleep in her crate....she has her pillow bed or will simply choose to sleep on the couch, and now with two dogs (until they get used to this living together thing) both are in their crates at night AND when we leave (which again is different from what Ginger is used to).

I DO feel bad because things have changed so much for my first baby girl (however, this may be OUR fault to begin with because let's face it...she was treated like a child, not a dog-luckily she is young enough were this can change), but we honestly don't know how to make this transition any easier (and she does enjoy the new playmate) is just going to take time. We still have alone play time with her, still give her praise/treats for doing good things, and we are diligent in making sure he doesn't steal her toys while she is playing with them. We take the toy back from him, give it back to her and then give him is seems to work OK for now. We still make sure she is seen as the "first" dog....she is given food first, gets let out first......I really think he gets it, but for some reason Ginger feels the need to CONSTANTLY remind him. She will eventually figure out he is here to stay, and I think when he is fully recovered from surgery and gains a bit of weight he will be a better playmate for her. Plus, when the weather breaks we will start taking walks again AND both dogs will be attending an obedience class together.

So, those with two (or more) did your dogs deal with the "new guy/girl"? How long did the "getting used to" phase last for your pre-existing dogs? Do you have any suggestions that we may not be doing that helped out?


P.S-I promise pictures are coming soon....maybe even pre-bath! I should take them and upload them now as we are still in our quiet moment, but I have go get ready for work and start the normal "potty,crate" leaving routine.


Jen said...

Our Trinity dog adjusted pretty well to the new one. He was so small then (2 pounds!) that we couldn't let them play until he got much bigger and studier. (She is 35 pounds.) Her favorite thing was when we would hold him up and she would get to sniff him from below. I think she would have sniffed for hours.

When Trinity met my in-law's dog, there was a much different adjustment period. They fought horribly for weeks. I would stand in the upstairs window and cry. My father-in-law stood out in the yard and kept the dogs from hurting each other, but eventually they worked things out.

One of the things that helped a lot was that we washed the dogs in the same smelling stuff as often as possible. They seemed to get that they belonged to each other when they smelled the same. And we did the same things you are doing, letting Trin be the main dog, and they are now best friends. Seriously, they play with each other and sleep together. Your dogs will get there too.

KatieM said...

Thanks for the advice Jen! Aww, I can't even imagine how tiny little dog was! Ginger loves to sniff the new guy out a lot too, which we do allow even though I can tell he gets seriously annoyed with it sometimes.

After I wrote this I took both of them out in the backyard with the leash, and that seemed to go really well. If I asked Ginger to back-off, she would, and when he initiated play I let them run around for a few minutes. Last night they laid together side by side on the pillow bed, so I do still think they are a good match and will be "friends" once the "newness" wears off, it just needs time. =)

jenn said...

It took almost 2 years for Chase & Roxy to be friends. 2 years of being crated together- getting Roxy off the bed at night (yikes!) countless flare-ups, one big fight resulting in a chunk out of Roxy's head, a fight with another dog that ironically bound them closer together.

We worked with them a lot & a lot of it was them working out their relationship together. We step in when it gets out of hand, but they basically have to be let alone to figure it out. Now theu sleep on the same bed cuddling under a blanket every night- even though they each have their own bed.
Keep a very consistent schedule & be firm with discipline & you'll be fine. I have a Jack Russell which is why their transition to friends took so long- female Jack Russells are notoriously dominant.

The worst part actually is toy sharing- they really don't have any now which is sad, but Chase can't have them in his crate & Roxy steals his when they are out. Ce la vie- they seem happy enough with lots of walks & play time.

He is beautiful by the way!