Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Adventures from Puppyland...Adding a Second Dog to the House

Michelle will be a guest writer from time to time on our page.  A valuable MSIR volunteer, Michelle will be sharing her experience of integrating their new puppy into their household. 

So, now you have a second dog in the house...

Last month our 12 year old matriarch female Kita passed away relatively suddenly. She was our first Shiba, but certainly not our last. The whole house misses her including our 10 year old Shiba Taiko. So after some time, the question of, “Now what?” weighed on our minds. With a family of four, the answer was not easy, but an opportunity came up to get a new puppy. It was an opportunity that was difficult to say no to, so we didn’t.

Now understand, Kita was a puppy when we got her, but Taiko was 18 months when we got him, so we had not had a puppy in the house for over 12 years other than some fosters. Dealing with fosters is not quite the same as dealing with a dog that will stay around forever. Also understand Taiko has a history of really disliking puppies. Once they hit a certain age, he is fine with them, but that magic age is around 18 months and not much before that. So, we knew making this decision would be tough on him. In fact, his opinion on this subject almost made us not take in this new puppy.
So, with a few reservations and a lot of faith that ultimately we can get this to work out, we drove 3 hours to meet our new puppy- a female black and tan Shiba that we named Katsu. The initial meeting with Katsu and Taiko was done in a grassy area by a gas station (very neutral territory) and Taiko was not forced to approach her and we did not let Katsu approach him directly either. We let them walk next to each other as best we could since she was not leash trained and the area was smaller than desired. Meeting number one went ok. He did not snark at her and remained ambivalent to her presence. That was about the best we could hope for there.
Once we were home with the new puppy, things got a bit more difficult to manage. Taiko resource guards me from other animals. He would not do it with Kita because she’d take him out, but he will even with our cat every so often. Every time he resource guards me I have to get up and walk away. I have tried sending him away when he does it, but that negative attention did not correct the problem and sometimes made it worse. The only clear way to show him he cannot covet me is to take me out of the equation. It is not easy for me to do this 100% of the time, but it is the right way to do it and it will take time for him to fully get the message.
Taiko has been walking around like Eeore for the past few days. I have been making sure he gets treats when he is around Katsu and he gets to go on his long walks that he loves without her- at least until she is leash trained. We have not gotten through this transition stage successfully yet. There will be set backs and mistakes made while we go through it. We are starting a new journey with a new pet. Change is never easy. It will get better though with some training and time.

Michelle H.

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