Was getting a second dog a mistake?

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Was getting a second dog a mistake?

This is a discussion on Was getting a second dog a mistake? within the New Additions forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; I just adopted a second dog this weekend, and I'm starting to worry that I may have made a mistake. I want to share my ...

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Old 11-22-2016, 10:13 AM
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Unhappy Was getting a second dog a mistake?

I just adopted a second dog this weekend, and I'm starting to worry that I may have made a mistake. I want to share my experience, and see if anyone else has gone through something similar.

My first dog, Addie, is a 4yo 20-pound min-pin/velociraptor mix who I love with all of my heart. She loves to run and play, and I enjoy finding new fun things for us to do, such as go for nature walks or play ball in the park. She tolerates other dogs (at best), but mostly tends to be aggressive and HAS to be the dominant one in the mix. She gets very snarly and snappy when other dogs get close, but I have never seen her take it further and actually fight with them. When she was a little younger, she played better with other dogs, but it has been a while. I have always wanted a second dog, but I was hesitant because of her aggression.

I recently started volunteering at an animal shelter where I met and fell in love with Bubba, a 1yo 25-pound boxer/puggle mix who is just so happy and floppy and loves everyone. I brought Addie to meet him, which went as expected. She snarled and snapped at him, but they didn't fight, so I decided to proceed with the adoption. I brought him home a few days ago and he is adjusting well to his new digs, but Addie hasn't warmed up to him at all. Their interactions generally include her snapping at him, then he starts barking at her, then she gets scared and hides behind the couch (which breaks my heart). Like I said, Addie thinks she HAS to the the dominant one, but I haven't seen Bubba be submissive to her, which makes me think this might be a recipe for disaster. He really just wants to play, though, and I think they would play well if Addie got off of her high horse!

I'm worried that I may have rushed into things with Bubba. I know it has only been a few days and these things take time. I'm certainly willing to work with both dogs to achieve a good outcome, but I would hate for Bubba to get too comfortable in my home if it ultimately would not work out with Addie. I'm also sad that I'm not able to take Addie on as many fun adventures now, but my hope was that she would have a new best friend to make up for it. This is definitely a big adjustment for me and both dogs. I had a bit of "new puppy depression" when I got Addie, and now I can't imagine life without her. I know this is the same thing with Bubba, but I just want to be sure there is a light at the end of the tunnel!

Has anyone else experienced anything similar? And if so, how did you handle it?

How can I encourage them to get along and play together? When they interact, should I correct Addie for snapping, or Bubba for barking? Or let them work it out on their own?

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
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Old 11-22-2016, 10:34 AM
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Hi LSUT

I think you will find it will work out with a bit more time. I've got a revolving door here for streetdogs, and if anyone had told me that I could have so many dogs and so few fights I wouldn't have believed them. I just let them go their own way unless there's a serious fight. Obviously you can't leave them together while you are out just yet, but I suspect they'll sort out the pecking order and all will work out. Don't despair yet

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Old 11-22-2016, 11:03 AM
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Thanks, Lynsey! Do you find that your dogs learn to play together over time, or just tolerate each other?
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Old 11-22-2016, 11:34 AM
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It may, or may not, work out. Only time will tell.

I will say that from your description it does not sound like Addie wants to be dominant, but that she's fearful and wants to scare the other dog off before they hurt her.

My boy Zody is sort of like your Addie, when he meets new dogs he's extremely cautious, and if they make a move to try and play with him he goes on the defensive and tries to get them to back off. He'll growl, snarl, and do mock charges. Normally if he's around calm dogs often enough he'll settle down and greet them in a civil manner. What he does NOT want is another dog coming into his house, he escalates the snarling and growling and tries to protect his stuff from them.

In the past I had a female dog named Jersey who decided she did not like other female dogs. We moved to the country and my neighbors had a female German Shepherd named Lady who was allowed to roam around loose. Lady would come by my house since my house was owned by her owners and she'd always been allowed over there, and Jersey would get to snarling and growling, Lady would answer her back with snarls and growls. I did my best to keep them separate, but not always successfully. That went on for at least a few weeks, and I was just waiting for a dog fight to break out, but one day I went out with Jersey, Lady came up and Jersey greeted her in a friendly way. After that those two girls were the best of friends, and where one was outside there the other one would be.
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Old 11-22-2016, 11:42 AM
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Aww, I'm hoping the same thing will happen with Addie and Bubba! I think you may be right about her being scared. She is also very skiddish around new people, and I was hoping having a second dog, especially one who is as social as Bubba, might pull her out of her shell a bit!
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Old 11-22-2016, 11:44 AM
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Honestly, it sounds a lot like the relationship between my Sophie and my Chisum. Sophie hates Chisum; Chisum doesn't care.

They definitely tolerate each other now. They will occasionally play together, but they have two totally different play styles so not often (Sophie just likes to chase, Chisum prefers to wrestle). Overall it's not an issue.

I'd give it a few weeks to decide, at least. Perhaps if it doesn't seem like it will work out you can offer to foster him until a new home is found.
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Old 11-22-2016, 11:49 AM
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Polly and Bonzo play all the time. They didn't in the beginning but I think that was because Bonzo was wary of hurting the pups. (there were two of them, one sadly no longer with us).

Mecho, who just arrived, uninvited, about 3 months ago, is still struggling to muscle in on their games. They don't exactly tell him to go away, but I think they are a bit wary because he's so big (70 kilos).

I have a lovely story about playing... Some years ago I took a gorgeous dog off the street who had some kind of infection in her joints and generally wasn't too well. The vet couldn't do anything for her and I had to have her put down 6 months later. But in the meantime she made friends with my other dogs and on her good days she tried to join in their games. Somehow they knew that she was in pain and the were so gentle with her, it was lovely to watch. They used to gently biff her round the nose, and if they were rolling on the floor they were really careful not to hurt her.
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Old 11-22-2016, 11:51 AM
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It takes time for dogs to adjust - often months. Don't force interaction between the two and don't leave them together unsupervised. Give each dog individual attention without the other present. Find some activity they BOTH enjoy (such as a walk or playing catch). Good luck!
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Old 11-22-2016, 01:27 PM
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My first dog lived in a walk-in closet for a week when I got a puppy. She would only come out for her walks and to bark at him. She got over it. They became best buds always within a few feet of each other and he licked her face every day from then on.
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Old 11-22-2016, 02:03 PM
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These stories are definitely encouraging! I've been taking them for walks together with no incident, which I've heard helps. I think any sign of good will between them will make me feel so much better about all of this!
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