Over the past couple of months, I have had several friends adopt a new dog into their household. Given the fact that each already had a resident dog in their home, it is understandable that each one of them worried about how to introduce the new dog into their home. They also worried about how the new dog would make their current dog feel and whether they would get along.
I remember how nervous I was in bringing each one of my dogs into my home. (I think you would have to be a fool not to be a little nervous and anxious!) Every dog is different and every situation must be managed to ensure success.
When Cupcake first came into my home as a foster, it was a tough go. Not because she wasn’t an awesome and very sweet dog, but because she felt like she had to establish her place as top dog right away. She claimed the couch and snarked at Daisy and Jasper whenever they came close to her. Jasper and Daisy were intimidated by her behavior. Daisy started staying in her kennel to avoid her.I think it was at this point I seriously considered giving her back to the rescue.
But then, I remembered to use the skills and knowledge I had gained from so many other trainers. I took away Cupcake’s couch privileges to eliminate any snarking. Then, I started enticing Daisy back to the couch with treats and rewarding Cupcake with treats as well to show her that staying on the floor was a beneficial spot to be. Soon, the snarking had stopped and Daisy was feeling less stressed. We worked on other things too: waiting for dinner, not stealing other dogs’ food, sharing toys, etc.
Introducing a new dog into your home when you have another dog can be difficult. I’ve been offering my own advice and suggestions when asked (think baby gates, crates and slow introductions), but then I remembered that I had attended a webinar earlier this year put on by the ASPCA. The guest speaker was well-known author and animal behaviorist, Patricia McConnell (PhD, CAAB, Author). The topic? Multi-Dog Households: From First Date to After the Honeymoon (You can find more materials and information here as well).
It was a great seminar and discussion and one that I suspect would be beneficial to many an adoptive parent and/or rescue or shelter. I’ll definitely be sharing it with my friends. You can check out her presentation deck here.
So how have you handled introducing a new dog into your home? What worked? What didn’t work?
This week’s video needs no explanation.
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!
This poor dog you see in this picture is waiting for an owner who abandoned him. Does anyone have room for a foster?
From Friends of Shelby County Ohio Animals:
Okay everyone, we have a special situation here in Dayton, OH! This poor dog was abandoned last weekend right where he sits today. He’s sat here for over a week through pouring rain just waiting for the person who dumped him.
We got a call from the business he’s sitting in front of. Some of the workers have been feeding him and trying to gain his trust, but so far he’s run away from every attempt. He leaves for a short while, then comes back to continue his vigil for his companion who dumped him.
We’re going to do our very best to catch this sweet boy, but we will need a foster to place him in afterward. Looks to be a Lab mix, big boy with a seemingly sweet temperament. Seems to do well with other dogs as he’s run off a few times with a black lab. (who also has something wrong, a leg or back injury)
This is humanity at it’s worst, but canine loyalty at it’s best. Can we help this poor boy? Email email@example.com if you can help!
What is it about dogs that makes them so loyal? What is it in the make up of a dog that he doesn’t even question that loyalty? Even after this dog’s owner left him there to fend for himself, he waits in the same spot, faithfully, for him to return. He doesn’t even consider that perhaps he is on his own and it’s time to move on.
Seeing this picture, and reading the story behind it, reminded me of my days walking dogs at Minnesota Valley Humane Society. One of the toughest parts of volunteering at the shelter was walking the dogs who had been recently surrendered. Inevitably, at some point along that walk they would start looking for their owner. Some pulled me in a particular direction and I would wonder, “Is that where home is?” or “Is this where they last saw their owner?” Others would search the parking lot for that familiar car, the one they used to take rides in with their family member(s). It always made me so sad to see them searching. Always looking. Hoping. They just couldn’t understand. They couldn’t comprehend that they had been left behind and mom or dad weren’t coming back for them. Ever.
I hope and pray that this dog is rescued. I hope that he finds someone kind enough to take him in and foster him until he can find a new home. And, when he does get that new home, I hope and pray his new owner is as loyal to him as he has been to the owner who abandoned him. At the very least he deserves that. Don’t you think?
– All the volunteers with Minnesota Sheltie Rescue who have given up time in their day, and in their lives, to help search for Lady, hand out fliers, post signs, and manage the behind the scenes coordinating it takes to pull off a search this large.
– All my friends and family members who have offered support and encouragement when I was feeling at my lowest.
– All the “strangers”, who I now prefer to think of as friends, who have offered to help in any way they could to help find Lady – driving around where she was last seen, handing out fliers, sharing her story with friends on Facebook or Twitter, watching out for her as they drive through town, etc.
– All the people who took action and called us to let us know they had seen her and where she was headed and what she did. Every call is a clue to a much bigger puzzle and with every puzzle piece placed, we get closer to finding Lady.
– Warm weather. I might be totally wrong, after all I am not a meteorologist, but I don’t remember many Thanksgivings being this warm. It means I can breathe a little easier knowing Lady is not freezing cold or out there in the middle of a snowstorm.
– My puppy dogs. Last Friday was a freak accident, but I fully recognize that in all that chaos I could have lost all three dogs to a car or something just as bad. That none of them were hit is a miracle in itself. Lady may still be missing, but she is alive and people are watching out for her and praying for her. And when I am feeling down, Daisy and Jasper are there to comfort me. For all of that I am truly grateful.
Reading all your comments and heartfelt hopes and prayers has been very comforting to me. I know now that I don’t have control over what happens to Lady, or how long it will take to bring her home, but I do know that all of this good energy is not being put to waste. It’s making me, and I suspect you, feel grateful for what we do have and how blessed we truly are on this special day. Hug your dogs. Hug your family, and know that today is a day we can all be grateful for.
Latest update: No sightings of Lady today. Volunteers were out searching, checking traps and making new fliers with a side view of Lady. I, and it appears at least one other volunteer, staked out the Marriott tonight in hopes of seeing Lady. I sat on the ground for a while in the area nearest to where she had crossed Pilot Knob Road, but never saw her. After a while got too cold to stay and so I left behind some food and one of her favorite toys.
Not one to leave things be, I stopped off at Walgreens to buy some more dog food, Kibbles and Bits, to entice her out. I filled the food dish and then sat in my car at a distance to see if she would come out. No luck. But, I did get a sense of when traffic quiets down in that area and I think I’ll have a better idea of when to come next time.
I am really hoping the food will keep her on that side of Pilot Knob Road until we can move a trap closer to that area and add another live trap further down. I am hoping beyond hope that she will go into a trap on Thanksgiving Day and give us all something to celebrate.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Come home Lady.
You can read more about the search for Lady and how she was found in the posts listed below.
Post #3: Little Lady Lost – The Latest
Post #4 (This Post): Thanksgiving Gratitude Despite Little Lady Still Being Lost
Post #5: Little Lady Lost – Chasing the Wrong Things
Post #9: Little Lady Lost – A sense of peace
Post #10: Little Lady Lost – HOME AT LAST!
I had planned to do a post on less adoptable pets earlier this week, but I didn’t think I could do Lady justice in the short time I had available each weekday evening. An unadoptable pet that just happens to be your foster dog deserves more time and attention than just a quick blurb on your blog, don’t you think?
I began fostering Lady, a Shetland Sheepdog (i.e., Sheltie), a few weeks ago. I wasn’t sure what to expect when she and her former foster mom first arrived. Would she be afraid? Would she hide? Or, would she quickly adjust? I didn’t have a clue. What I did know was that she was very attached to her former foster mom. This became very evident when she left and Lady paced beside the back gate looking for an escape route. She couldn’t understand why she wasn’t going with her. It nearly broke my heart. She had already been through so much.
You see, Lady’s past is littered with puppies, lack of human contact, and little to no exposure to the things that most dogs experience they are puppies. People were scary things to her and not to be trusted. New places? Forget it. Too overwhelming.
But, that was a few years ago. Lady is a much different dog now. She LOVES attention (and when I say love, I do mean love!). She is extremely affectionate with “her person”. She loves belly rubs, a good scratch behind the ears or just dozing on the couch beside you, or on the floor at your feet. She also loves car rides, stuffed toys that squeak, Kongs stuffed with frozen peanut butter, belly rubs just before bed and a little sniff-n-stop on her walks, whether they be in the woods (as long as it’s fenced in like our dog park) or on a leash in the neighborhood. She’s a joy to have around.
So you say, what makes her less adoptable?
Well, I guess that’s in the eye of the beholder. If you prefer an exuberant, active and puppy-like dog, then Lady is not the dog for you. Oh don’t get me wrong! At 6 years of age, she still gets the zoomies sometimes, they just aren’t as frequent as the ones my dog Jasper gets. Lady prefers to run around the yard for a bit and then hang out on the grass or patio and watch the world go by. She’s actually a pretty mellow little girl.
If you are looking for a dog that doesn’t take medicine every day, then Lady isn’t your dog. Lady’s past left her with some internal scars, so she takes Clomipramine (a very inexpensive anti-anxiety drug) to help her to be less fearful. It has allowed her to be able to learn more about her world and people. As her foster mom, I have to admit it seems to have done wonders for her. She also is on Proin for spay incontinence. The Proin obviously works, because we have had no issues in this area at all.
Lady is also a shy girl. She needs someone who can be patient and give her a little space when she first arrives home. It only took her about a week to get acclimated in my home, but my dogs are pretty mellow and affectionate and I didn’t try to force my affections on her but waited for her to approach me on her own terms and when she felt comfortable in doing so. I’m also a pretty laid back and calm person when it comes to my dogs and my home. No chaos. No extreme moods or crazy schedules. Lady seems to thrive here. So, I believe she would do well in a calm home that doesn’t have a lot of chaos or crazy schedules. She loves consistency.
Minnesota Sheltie Rescue has several wonderful dogs also available for adoption (like Lady). Interested? Go here.
Welcome to the Saturday Pet Blogger Blog Hop. I encourage you to check out some of the other awesome bloggers out there. Much thanks to our most generous and interesting hosts, Life With Dogs, Two Little Cavaliers, and Confessions of the Plume!
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It seems ironic (or at the very least a sad coincidence) that today on National Adopt a Mutt Day there would be such sad news to report on the adoptable mutts in my very own community.
I had been hearing rumors for days now that the shelter I have volunteered at for the past 8 years was in trouble and would be closing, but I had been hoping and praying it would not true. It was not to be, today the Minnesota Valley Humane Society (MVHS) announced it would be closing it’s doors on December 31, 2010.
To say this is a sad event is an understatement. This one small humane society has been operating on its own since 1981. Despite many people’s mistaken belief, MVHS has never been affiliated with the larger Animal Humane Society (AHS) in Golden Valley, Woodbury, St. Paul, etc. It did not receive money from the the Humane Society of the United States (by the way, MOST Humane Societies DON’T receive money from HSUS). It operated on a tight budget, with a small staff, and had to raise all of it’s money on its own – and it had a high adoption rate (perhaps that’s because it didn’t put a timeline on an animal’s life like other humane societies do or maybe it’s because of the awesome staff and volunteers who promoted the animals and tried to help animals find homes).
It is the only animal shelter servicing the South Metro area and soon it will be gone.
So what is the impact when a shelter closes?
– Other shelters and rescue groups end up taking up the slack. Most small shelters and rescue groups operate on a shoestring budget already, so when a shelter closes they not only take on additional animals they had not planned for, they also take on the extra costs associated with it. It can make or break a shelter or rescue group, financially.
– Staff and Volunteers feel set adrift. Many volunteers work at animal shelters because they deeply care for the animals, but in many cases, there is also a sense of commaraderie that develops between the staff and volunteers. Friendships are formed. There is a feeling that you are all united in a common cause – saving animals
– The animals that remain suffer undue additional stress. Animals that have not been adopted out feel the additional stress from the staff and volunteers, who are stressed out themselves, but their daily routine and lives change too. Suddenly, they are shipped off to some other location, maybe to a place where conditions are worse than where they came from (or more stressful) or they may have a limit on the number of days they can remain before they are euthanized.
– The community suffers. Shelters provide a lot of services that the community often does not often recognize – educational programs, veterinary services, dog training, personal support after adoption, spaying and neutering, pet supplies for your newly adopted pet and informational resources. MVHS even offered people a list of apartments and townhomes that allowed pets.
What can you do?
– Give money to your local animal shelters and rescue groups. Now. Call your local animal shelter and ask them if they are affiliated with a larger organization or if they operate on their own small budget, and then give. Contact a rescue organization and ask what you can do to help. Most of them need money, but many of them also need foster homes for the animals they already have.
- Adopt. Normally I would be encouraging people to not to adopt during the holiday season, but this year I am asking people to adopt the remaining dogs, cats, birds, etc. that remain at MVHS. If you have the space, the time and want to make a difference, please adopt. And, if you are not local and living in MN, please adopt from your own shelter or rescue organizations. So many of the dogs, cats and other animals that end up at a shelter are not there because they were bad or did something to deserve it. In fact, some of the most common reasons animals are surrendered are because: someone lost a job, someone died, a family situation has changed (e.g., divorce) or the family had to move to a smaller location, like an apartment that doesn’t take pets. People that want a purebreed dog or cat often don’t realize that a lot of purebreed dogs and cats end up in shelters every single day (I should know I have two of my own – a Lab and a Sheltie). Many rescues and shelters have purebred dogs and cats, and often rescues are geared towards a particular breed. If that’s what you are looking for, please check with a shelter or rescue group first. Please.
– Volunteer. I have had so many people tell me that they could never volunteer at a shelter because it would break their heart. I’m not going to lie, some days your heart does break, but most of the time you feel good knowing you have given a dog or cat a little extra attention and love that day. Every single interaction of love and kindness matters to them. It is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have. And did I mention the friendships you develop? Trust me. It is SO worth it.
It’s never easy when an animal shelter closes, but sometimes it can bring change. I hope you will be a part of that change.
Please Note: If you are coming here to read this because HumaneWatch.org sent you here, please note that this shelter DID NOT close because of anything HSUS did or did not do and I completely disavow their misrepresentation of this fact in order to push their agenda to smear HSUS or any other group that supports caring for animals in a humane way.
I’ll just be honest. I’m a bit of a worrier sometimes.
I worry about my business – “Can I grow it as big as I want it to be someday?”.
I worry about my dogs – “Are they getting enough attention? Am I feeding them the right food?”.
I worry about my mom – “What if something happens and I am not there to help?”
But lately, I’ve been worrying about Daisy.
No. No. She’s fine. But, she is almost 7 years old. And now. I worry about her getting old and not being with me some day. It makes me sad to think about it, but I do.
Either way, it causes me to worry. How will I deal with her not being there anymore?
So I am wondering… Do you have a special dog or cat in your life? And if you do, do you ever worry about what your life will be like with out them?