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I've always planned on having more dogs- I wanted a small pack of 4-5.

Delilah, it seems, gets very stressed out about other dogs. Actually, everything stresses her out- she's pretty neurotic and has issues with anxiety and compulsive disorder.

My parents got a new puppy and we've been spending a lot of time with the new puppy, probably a total of about two weeks between us visiting them in MA and them visiting us in VT.

Delilah never really warmed up to the puppy- she just growls when it comes near her or tries to completely ignore it. I mean, she's very polite and tolerant for the most part, and I thought her corrections were fair- that puppy is super annoying and obsessed with her. But she definitely wasn't happy about it.

She also gets very overwhelmed and snappy towards bigger dogs and/or rude/high energy dogs. Being 7 lbs, most dogs are bigger than she is.

She's been an only dog for over two years now. I think she enjoys it. I don't think she likes having other dogs around.

Here's the thing, when I was looking to get a dog, I specifically had agility and hiking in mind as the things I wanted to do with it. She gets so stressed out at agility classes, she loses focus and starts fixating on lights or dust. We'd practice all the time at home, she'd get down weaving or directionals or something really well, we'd do it in class, and she'd just lose her mind and run to a corner in the room to chase dust. We're going to start private lessons in the fall and see if that goes better than group classes. But I don't know if we'll ever be able to do classes, and I definitely don't expect to be able to compete with her ever.

And hiking, that was my favorite thing to do with my old dog, but Delilah's so small most of the dogs we see on the trails seem to think she's a cat or rabbit and try to attack her. The owners have no control over their off leash dogs at all. And when I spray compressed air to scare them away and keep my dog safe, the owners flip out at me, even after I explain that she's been attacked by "friendly" dogs in the past. So even an activity that used to be enjoyable for me is just stressful with this dog. I feel like I can't do anything with her that I wanted a dog for.

I've been thinking about getting a second dog for a while, I've contacted a breeder I like who said they thought I would be a good home for one of their puppies. They seem to breed maybe every other year or so- it's been about two years since they've had a litter. So if I want a puppy from them I should probably jump on their next litter, which will probably be at some point within the next year. I've started saving up specifically for that puppy. But I feel so guilty knowing that Delilah will feel stressed and maybe even betrayed.

The other thing is that I want to handle explosives detection dogs for the TSA, so if that goes according to plan, in the next 2-3 years I could be bringing home a BIG dog (lab or pointer).

I don't want to ruin Delilah's life, but I don't want her to be the only dog in my life for the next 15 years.
 

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Sounds frustrating, but honestly my personal choice would be to love and accept the dog I already have. Our pets are our family, even when they don't fit into the molds that we hoped they would. And life is long; there is plenty of time to add dogs later in life. In the mean time you can work on socializing her, but to add a puppy right now seems really unfair. Trust me, I understand your frustration, but it isn't her fault and she didn't get a list of your desires before you adopted her. I would suggest waiting and working on socialization.


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Would she do better with a smaller, dog that's maybe a year old? That way it's past the crazy, rude, in your face, puppy stage, but still young enough to learn to fit into your life. The upside would be you could start training agility right away, and you'd know what his or her personality truly is.

My boy is sort of like Delilah, he has no real use for other dogs, feels the need to put them in their place if they are rude, hates if they try and play with him, and if they come into my house he loses his doggy mind. My friends toy poodle is the only dog that he does not ming coming over, but even then he still stresses out a bit. So I'm in your boat, I'd have to think long and hard before adopting another dog while I still have Zody.

If you do get a puppy, or another dog, are you prepared to crate and rotate, or give the new puppy, or Delilah up?
 

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I'd start looking for an awesome home for Delilah, it sounds like getting more dogs is on the cards for you and that it would be undeniably stressful for her.

You have worked so hard on her issues and its apparent that she doesn't fit your lifestyle and I know if you were to rehome her you would take care to find a good one. Yes, it's not her fault but finding a safe home that is a good fit isn't a punishment! What Delilah would probably find punishing would be having a new dog around or sensing resentment from you.
 

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To clarify because on reading what I said it come across a bit harsh. If you start looking you'll work out if it's feasible or if you're willing to give her up, not saying you have to give her up.
 

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Personally, I would consider whether she would be happy enough "coexisting" with another dog, and whether you would be happy enough having dogs that merely tolerate each other, but are not really "friends". If not, then I would reconsider getting another dog, but if those criteria seem doable, then it's fairly easy to teach dogs to not harass each other (especially if one wants to be left alone already), and manage them to prevent conflict until they have learned. Will you feel guilty leaving her while you do all these things with a new dog? That is something that weighs on my mind when I've had a dog that enjoys doing things and one that doesn't, though in my dogs' cases, they stopped wanting to do those things because they were old and/or debilitated, but had previously enjoyed them, so the guilt of leaving them home was significant. I had to engineer activities for the "left behind" dog to make myself feel better about excluding them from other things ;) .

I would be very reluctant to rehome a dog with the issues that you describe Delilah as having, my guess is that it might be difficult for her to adjust and another owner might not be as understanding of her quirks as you have been.
 

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Whoa.

lol

Okay, thanks to everyone who responded. Here are some thoughts:

1) To anyone who thinks that I (or any member) haven't done anything with my dog- that's really not true. By it's very nature, the members of this forum are very dedicated to their dogs and working with them. I know Rain does A TON of work with Zody and has a lot of success, so if this is directed towards her:

"Other folks' rights to enjoy their outing outweigh the inconvenience to the owner of an excitable / not-well-trained / not-well-proofed dog, forced to manage a leash on their lunging, yelping Fido or Fifi. *shrug*
Praps they might better have left Fido or Fifi at home, hiked sans dog, & then done some training & proofing on their return home"

"Good dogs don't happen, & they aren't "born that way"; someone invested time & effort to teach that good dog the desired behaviors, in context."​

that's simply not true. If it's directed towards me, it's not true either. I've done A TON of work with my dog over two years and she's very well behaved on leash. I don't think other people's bizarre desire to let their untrained, out of control dogs run up to anyone they like outweighs my right to enjoy an outing...

Anyways, I've been working with my dog for the entire two years I've had her. She's a rescue and she came to me with a bunch of health and behavioral issues (I think the rescue misled me...). I work with dogs professionally and have graduated with a degree in animal science focusing on behavior, so I had quite a bit of my own knowledge about training dogs going into this. But never having owned a fearful dog before, I didn't have the experience. I've relied on this forum for advice and have also consulted with professionals. We've done a behavior consult with a trainer who specializes in anxiety and compulsive disorder, we've done obedience class, agility classes, reactive rover class, we are part of a reactive dog support group that meets once a month for training, discussions, and group walks, and I've attended a fearful dogs seminar by Debbie Jacobs. We've met with THREE vets until we found one who would work with us to come up with a plan for using medication- she is now on fluoxetine daily and CBD as needed. So I understand if newer members don't know our background here, but please DON'T make assumptions that I'm not training or socializing my dog! I've always tried to do what's best for her!

2) I used to pick Delilah up on hikes before I got the compressed air spray. But that would lead to rude, aggressive, and predatory dogs jumping on me trying to grab her while I tried to kick them and got scratched. The spray has worked a lot better to keep us safe- it's just stressful having to worry about that happening.

3) Rehoming her isn't going to happen- she's been part of my family for two years and even though she's not the dog I wanted, I wouldn't trade her for the world. My boyfriend and I love her to death. As busannie mentioned, I also wouldn't want to rehome her with all of her issues- I could just see her being bounced from home to home, or ending up in a shelter, or someone screaming at her or physically reprimanding her for something that I don't think she has much control over. I've always wondered what would have happened to her if someone other than me adopted her. My mom has said that she would probably have been euthanized by now. That being said, it wasn't a wrong answer, I mean it's an option, just one that I'm not going to choose.


I would really like to make a second dog work, but I do feel very nervous about it. My boyfriend's family has always had two dogs at a time when he was growing up, and he says I'm overthinking it and worrying too much. He says once the puppy matures a little and Delilah gets used to it, they will be buddies. I am open to crate and rotate, and whenever I've added a new animal I've always considered that I might have to physically separate my pets (I planned that with my bunny Sophie and with Delilah before I adopted her).

Delilah loved hanging out with my old dog Mia, her behavior was better when Mia was around. Her recall was always perfect because she would see Mia coming and getting a treat, so she would follow her. Her reactivity towards strangers was much better too, because Mia was so laid back and friendly, she would greet strangers and Delilah would stay back and just watch her quietly, I think she was fascinated. So I had thought a second dog would help Delilah. But she was just so stressed out about the puppy...

I do feel bad that sometimes I feel resentful towards Delilah, it's not fair to her and it's not her fault at all. It's gotten a lot better, it was worse when I first got her and then after Mia died. But I've gotten a lot better about accepting and loving her for who she is. It's just hard sometimes when you have friends that do amazing things with their dogs and you're not able to join in.

So I'm still not sure what I'm going to do, it's a lot to think about.
 

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I would really like to make a second dog work, but I do feel very nervous about it. My boyfriend's family has always had two dogs at a time when he was growing up, and he says I'm overthinking it and worrying too much. He says once the puppy matures a little and Delilah gets used to it, they will be buddies. I am open to crate and rotate, and whenever I've added a new animal I've always considered that I might have to physically separate my pets (I planned that with my bunny Sophie and with Delilah before I adopted her).

Delilah loved hanging out with my old dog Mia, her behavior was better when Mia was around. Her recall was always perfect because she would see Mia coming and getting a treat, so she would follow her. Her reactivity towards strangers was much better too, because Mia was so laid back and friendly, she would greet strangers and Delilah would stay back and just watch her quietly, I think she was fascinated. So I had thought a second dog would help Delilah. But she was just so stressed out about the puppy...

I do feel bad that sometimes I feel resentful towards Delilah, it's not fair to her and it's not her fault at all. It's gotten a lot better, it was worse when I first got her and then after Mia died. But I've gotten a lot better about accepting and loving her for who she is. It's just hard sometimes when you have friends that do amazing things with their dogs and you're not able to join in.

So I'm still not sure what I'm going to do, it's a lot to think about.
I sympathize with your situation and I don't envy you. I'm really glad to hear you're not planning to rehome Delilah. I admit I was worried about that. I'm glad she has a home with someone who's willing to work with her and love her for who she is, personality quirks and issues and flaws and all. That's the kind of friendship dogs offer us, after all.

I think your boyfriend may be on to something. I've never had more than one dog at a time, but I think that once the puppy is a bit older and learns some boundaries, Delilah may be able to learn to tolerate him. She may never be super duper bestest friends with other dogs in your household, but I'd like to think there's a chance she could learn to tolerate them. I'd hate for you to have to give up your dreams of having many dogs and doing dog sports and such that you love.

Regarding the amazing things your friends do with their dogs, this is probably overly simplistic, but do they understand reactive dogs enough to celebrate Delilah's accomplishments with you? Just because she's not able to do agility and such doesn't mean she's not doing amazing things. Her definition of amazing is just different from other dogs' perhaps. ;) I'm probably personalizing too much but I see so many people my age doing amazing things but as someone with social anxiety and agoraphobia, for me, there are plenty of days where my amazing accomplishment of the day is opening my front door and walking to my mailbox.

I also have a dog who doesn't like living with other dogs according to the people at the rescue where I got her, so I'm working hard on teaching her boundaries and impulse control and counter conditioning to decrease her territorialness in the hopes that she might someday be able to live with another dog. So my wishful thinking and hope for you and Delilah is probably being influenced by wishful thinking and hope for Mira and me. In other words, I'm all sorts of biased and impartial so take anything I say accordingly. I sincerely hope you're able to make it work out, though.
 

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I think the best thing if you want another dog is to get one. Delilah's interaction with your mothers puppy sounded fine , as long as there is no aggression and running in fear , its great. The only way Del will learn to live with other dogs is to go ahead and do it . Dogs do not feel betrayal in that way. Get the puppy and work with them. You can take the puppy hiking and stuff, just Make sure you find plenty of time for Delilah activities that she likes.
 

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@revolutionrocknroll - I sympathize with you, you know I do. I'm living sans Chisum right now and I miss him like crazy - to the point where I am considering looking for a more rural rental next year so that I can have him with me for a time.

Chisum isn't good with other animals. He has crazy high prey drive, so no birds or rodents - he even wants to hunt the goldfish! Haha. I can live with that :)

He wasn't previously reactive to strange dogs, and he still isn't nearly as bad as with people, but he is FAR more on edge with them than he was in the past. He's fine with cats, but super wary of them indoors. I've discovered this is due to two things:
1) He's super socially awkward - he doesn't do a great job at reading other animals' body language, and they don't really seem to understand his.

2) It only takes one (maybe two) bad experiences to form a very real opinion in his head. He was fine with cats indoors, until my cat swiped at him twice for being too frisky -- now all indoor cats are not to be trusted. He had a couple of scraps with Nellie early on, now he cannot trust her. He was great with Raleigh, but then they got into a couple of little tuffles and now they are on edge around each other too.

It's funny that it's always Chisum - I'd actually say that Sophie is by FAR the snarkiest, but no one seems to care about her (maybe they don't take her seriously?). Nellie pushes Raleigh around as well, but he seems to have accepted it.


Anyway....my roundabout answer leads to the point that with Chisum, I probably won't have any other animals. We do kind of a crate-and-rotate type of thing with him right now, and will be essentially dividing our house in half with a gate to keep him separate from Nellie and Raleigh. Not everyone has that luxury.

And yeah, it sucks. But damn, I love him :D. He didn't ask for this - it's not his fault.


On the other hand, Sophie was mildly reactive when she was younger and didn't really care much for strange dogs - and she's met several in the years since that she's loved and even befriended.

You won't really know how it will end up until you try. I do think that in the majority of cases, dogs can learn to get along. Chisum's just broken.
 

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Please remember to keep threads on topic. This thread is about adding a second dog, not about reactivity etc. I've deleted off topic posts, any more may result in infractions. Thank you.
 

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I would also love another dog or five but my sweet pupper just isn't interested in other dogs in his space. I love him and respect that.

I do have to say though ... My mom's 4 pound chihuahua can hike for three hours at a time
size is not a factor there. We just pick her up when there is another dog coming by because she can get stepped on (she was stepped on by another dog as a puppy in fact, and fractured her leg). But otherwise, she is more game for a big hike than bigger dogs in the family
maybe you can patiently work her up to it?

Edit: just read your response and see its due to the other dogs and not size. You must have some horribly behaved dogs in your area ... In six years, I've never once felt unsafe picking her up when another dog has come up to her, nor have I ever felt the need to get the other dog away from me in the way you describe. That is a very foreign concept to me. I don't mean that in a disrepectful way ... Just surprised!
 
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