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Help! Should we keep this dog?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

We currently have a 20lb pug mix "on loan" from the animal shelter.  They let you take them for a week to see how they work in your home with your animals, kids etc.  If it doesn't work you return the animal with no guilt.  They call it a doggy play date.


We have a sweet, non-aggressive, 80lb  German Shepherd/lab mix and we wanted to see if they would work.


The new pug turns out to have a much higher energy level and a more boisterous personality then our dog. 

Our dog doesn't seem interested in her much.  More like she is tolerating her.  The new dog will come lay down by her and our dog will get up and move away from her.  Our dog doesn't want to share toys with the new dog.  She will take them away from her and give them to me or stack them on the couch where the new dog can't get them.  Twice she has snapped at her over toys.  Last night my dh was working on training both the dogs at once.  Our dog got a treat when she did what my dh asked.  The new dog tried to snatch the treat from our dog and our dog bit her in the head hard enough to cut her and draw blood.


I think it is time to call this quits.  We have her to see if they are compatible and they obviously are not.  I think we are in a potentially dangerous situation.  I don't want the new dog getting really hurt or worse and I don't want our dog to turn aggressive.  I thought this was a no-brainer and we should return the dog.


My dh thinks we should keep the new dog and that we can train them to get along and that in a year or so everything will be fine as the new dog gets older and settles down.


I think if we keep her we are setting ourselves up for a very bad situation.

Please give me some input!  Thanks!







post #2 of 16


 I think it is time to call this quits.  We have her to see if they are compatible and they obviously are not. 


If you truly feel that then yes she should go back.


However a week is really not a lot of time for an "only" dog to get used to another dog. You have introduced a new member to the pack and your dog is showing her who's the boss.


The getting up and moving away, the not sharing/hiding/moving toy thing, even the snapping is fairly typical behavior.  The biting to point of drawing blood is the red flag to me. How did you handle the earlier warning snaps (over the the toys.)? How did both dogs respond? Were there any other early warning that your dog felt that his territory was being invaded?


Does the new dog have its own space? are you crate training? Is the pug a puppy?  What is the dogs history?  Has it been trained at all?


If it is still young and untrained I am with your husband-you need to give it more time.  Do some individual training, give each dog their own space and don't leave them unsupervised until your are comfortable.


We introduced a 7 month pom to a 10 year lab with many of the same behaviors,.  Within 6 months they slept together, played together and got along great.  It was a LONG six months but so worth it because she was an awesome dog and they became great friends.

post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 

The new dog has her own bed in the family room where our dog also has a bed.  When I am not home and at night I gate the new dog in the bathroom with her bed, blanket and toys.  The new dog is a 1 year old pug mix. She was given up by her family for unknown reasons.  She doesn't seem to have had much if any training.  That is why we are working on training her with our dog.  The other 2 times our dog snapped at her I moved her away from the other dog while telling her no in a quiet, firm voice.  The only other sign that I got from her other then the toys is the getting up and leaving whenever he pug comes by her.  She will stay there a few minutes, obviously just tolerating her (body language)  and then she gets up and moves.  If the pug follows her she gets up and moves again.


Our dog is also from a shelter.  She was abandoned by her family and lived in an abandoned house for 9 months and then lived at the animal shelter for 3 months.  She really isn't an only dog.  We also have 2 cats that she gets along with.


The point of biting to drawing blood is also a red flag to me.  That is why I am thinking these dogs are not good together.  I am worried that next time she will do some serious damage.  I just want what is best for both dogs.

Edited by Zach'smom - 12/8/10 at 12:41pm
post #4 of 16

Hmmmm. This truly seems like a case of "only time will tell". However only you can decide if the benefits (companionship, unconditional love, cold wet noses, LOL) out way the risks (one dog getting truly hurt, having to re-home after you are already attached,etc).


Is there a way you could "foster" her for longer than a week?  

post #5 of 16

Could it work?  Probably.  Will it take a fair amount of time and effort?  Yes.  And there are no guarantees, of course.


When we got our second dog, our existing one would run up to him and bark her head off every time he moved.  Every*Single*Time*He*Moved.  But we worked through it and they have been living together in peace for the last 6 years.  They don't play together or anything, mostly they each do their own thing (their personalities are quite different also) but we don't have any issues.  I very clearly remember the first few days though and the "what were we thinking?!?".


Some tips for introducing a new dog to your home, although you're past a lot of it now but it may help in the future.  Always introduce new dogs on neutral territory, best is taking them both for a walk side-by-side (so they're not forced to "meet", they just get used to being around each other).  You'd want two people to do this so one has each dog.  If that goes well you can bring them in the house but always either supervise closely or separate them.  The existing dog needs to have a place to go that is off-limits to the new dog, and I'd encourage them to do that if they start getting agitated.  Crates are always your friend at the beginning.  Make sure you pick up ALL toys, treats, chew bones - anything that may be considered valuable.  For resource guarding dogs you may even remove the beds, but that would be for more serious cases than you're dealing with.  Train separately, especially since the new dog needs a lot of work and clearly doesn't have the impulse control.  I'd also have the new dog drag a leash for a while, which is a good tip for any new addition or pup in need of training.

post #6 of 16

Yes, it could work, but honestly I have lived to regret not listening to that nagging little voice when it comes to animals. The few times it's happened, I've ended up with a lot more work than I bargained for. The dog had a wonderful vacation with you, there is nothing wrong with deciding it's not a good fit.

post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 

When we first introduced the pug we did the long walk with the entire pack before we let anyone inside.  We had all toys put away.  The pug has her own place to sleep.  The reason we got her was because we thought our dog would like a companion.   All of our dogs behavior at this point shows she is not interested in the pug as a companion.  The pug is really looking for a companion.  She jumps all over and tries to get her to play in a very physical way.  :Our dog is a bit more task/job oriented.  Probably the German Shepherd in her.  We were looking for a dog with the same energy level or lower as our dog.  Once we got this little gal home it turns out she has a much higher energy level and is just a more boisterous dog. 


I know that with 2 dogs living together you are going to have issues, but this little dogs head was in the dogs mouth.  She could have been hurt far worse.  My dog is not at all aggresive.  She is a wonderful fit for our family.  I really hate  to see that all ruined.


I am also worried about the new little pug.  She REALLY wants to play and interact with our dog.  Our dog has no interest,  I am worried this is going to lead to major frustration issues for the little one.


Also my office is in our house and my job is customer service on the phone.  I need it quiet.  I will end up losing my job if there is excessive back round noise.


After watching the 2 of them this week that little voice in my head is saying this is a bad idea. We wanted to try it for a week to see if the pug would be a good companion dog for our dog.  I think our dog has made her thoughts very well known.  That this is not the best living situation for these dogs or our family.  I guess my issue now is getting my dh to understand and agree so that this does not turn into a big fight with my dh thinking I am the mean wife that wouldn't let us adopt the nice little doggie.

Edited by Zach'smom - 12/10/10 at 6:55am
post #8 of 16

I would give the dog back.As the caretaker of ALL the pets in our home I know that even though everyone might want the new dog it will be you who deals wih the issues that arise from adding a new pet to the home. If you have the time to deal with it for another week or 2,or your dh wants to take over that is always an option. Chances are the little guy will get adopted quickly if you return him.Nice program they have.Here you adopt and live with the choice-no trials.

post #9 of 16

I saw this from the main mindful home page . . .


I've worked in dog rescue (both from the adoption and training sides) on-and-off for years. It primarily sounds like you are really looking for a companion for your current dog. I would not think that a pug mix would easily fulfill that role for a GSD/lab mix, especially if the dog is more toward the shepherd side  behavior-wise. You're talking about two breeds who are as far apart behavior-wise as is probably possible. You probably could get them living together peacefully with some work. But I think it will end up being more of two dogs living separately in the same household, than two dogs living as companions.


I suspect that dog more up towards your current dog's size (let's say, 50lb+) would be more easily integrated into your household. You may want to look for a dog that also has some GSD in it--I've always found that shepherds and shepherd mixes tend to get along best with other shepherds/mixes. I have also seen shepherds get along pretty well with larger bully dog breeds/mixes. 


post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 

We decided not to adopt the pug when the doggie play date ended.  We are looking for another dog that is going to be a great companion dog to our German Shepherd.  It just wasn't working.  The pug's energy level was too high.  Our dog is a very laid back, mellow dog.  She had no interest in the pug and I was noticing that she was beginning to mimic some of the pug's excitability.  There were too many issues to make this a good fit.  And more were cropping up each day.  It was in both dogs best interests that we didn't adopt the pug. 

After the holidays we are going to regroup and decide if adopting another dig is the way we want to go. 

cschick- We have come to the same conclusion.  We would look for another Shepherd/Lab with a really mellow disposition. She tends to lean toward and play with other large dogs when we are out.  I am just hesitant to have to 75lb plus dogs in our house. :-) 

I just wish that all shelters had some kind of doggie play date program!  It is such a smart idea.

post #11 of 16
Originally Posted by Zach'smom View Post

cschick- We have come to the same conclusion.  We would look for another Shepherd/Lab with a really mellow disposition. She tends to lean toward and play with other large dogs when we are out.  I am just hesitant to have to 75lb plus dogs in our house. :-) 

I just wish that all shelters had some kind of doggie play date program!  It is such a smart idea.

I've actually seen a lot of shepherd mixes that end up in the 45-60lb range, if you think that might be more manageable. A shepherd/lab will definitely be on the larger side, but a shepherd/husky or a shepherd/spaniel may be on the smaller side and may still have the type of personality you're looking for.


Our shepherd/husky mix that we had for a decade topped out at 50lb. And in some ways was the laziest dog I've ever known ;)

post #12 of 16

You also might want to look at a male dog.  Sometimes two female dogs can be, well... bitchy to each other!

post #13 of 16

When we brought home our puppy it took our adult dog a solid week before he even considered the puppy something that would *maybe* be ok to have around.  A couple weeks later the thaw was pretty much done and they were as close as they would get. Ten months later they play every day which the older dog loves (he used to play with the cat out of desperation for play, lol) but they don't cuddle because older dog doesn't want to.  I think it turned out well but it took longer than a week to get there.


The cat really missed that our older dog stopped playing with him so we had to get another cat.

post #14 of 16
Originally Posted by Zach'smom View Post


I just wish that all shelters had some kind of doggie play date program!  It is such a smart idea.

While I like the idea in theory, I do think it has some downfalls.  Mainly the stress on the dog to go back and forth from home environment to shelter, possibly multiple times.  Also though, dogs do not show their true personality for several weeks....and new dogs and old dogs take longer than a week to figure each other out as well

post #15 of 16

Thanks for all the good info on adding another dog to the family. We are looking at a rescue dog this weekend that we hope can be a companion for our dog. We've gone with a similar size, same sex and what we hope is a compatible mixed breed. Good to know that it will take time for them to enjoy each other's company (if they ever do). I don't know the return policy at this rescue group but I know another family is interested in the same dog so I guess there is that backup if it doesn't work out for us.


Sorry it didn't work out for your family OP, but I know the right dog is out there for you somewhere!

post #16 of 16

I know it was mentioned before, but I thought it bears repeating.  Opposite sex pairs are usually your best match.  There are of course always exceptions, but in general best is male and female, followed by male and male, and finally female and female.  (unless the males arent neutered...then possibly male/male would be behind female)

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