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  1. #1
    Young Dawg (Member) Aspen's Mom's Avatar

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    Default Considering second dog...looking for advice

    My name is Laura. This is my first time posting on the forum. Although, I found the site several months ago and have read through the discussions. I laugh every time I read because this breed is so quirky, and I experience everything with my dog that others post about. My boyfriend and I have a 3 year old Great Pyrenees mix. She has a ton of personality and is such a sweet girl. As a puppy she LOVED playing with other dogs and, in typical Pyrenees style, would stubbornly sit on walks if we saw another dog until she was either able to say hi or the dog was out of sight. When Aspen turned 2 years old she became a bit more selective about her playmates. She also developed a bit of anxiety, reactivity and dog aggression (nipping at new dogs if they sniffed her hind quarters, never aggressive with dogs she knew previously). We've worked very hard with a behavior specialist to work on this. It seems that some of the behavior was related to a fear period. I also noticed that after being treated for what turned out to be a very persistent UTI the aggression resolved. Some reactivity remains in the context of spotting another dog on a walk and getting overly excited. Unfortunately, I'm not brave enough to take her back to the dog park or other places to interact with other dogs out of fear that it will be overwhelming or she's not really over the aggression. So short of setting up 1:1 play dates she doesn't get much dog-dog interaction anymore. My boyfriend and I have been considering getting a second dog. There are several reasons for this, but one would be to provide Aspen a playmate. We are considering a 6 year old male Australian Shepherd. We will meet him this weekend. If we feel positively about the meeting then we'll introduce the two dogs. I'm just wondering what others experience when adding a second dog. Do Great Pyrenees typically like companions? Does anyone have tips for going from a one to two dog home? Aspen is very much an only child and used to being the center of attention. At the same time, I do think she gets a bit bored - particularly since the onset of the above issues which have prevented us from frequenting the dog park and hiking trails recently. I'm also worried about small things like how to walk two dogs at the same time when one weighs almost as much as I do.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) nick's spirit's Avatar

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    Welcome Aspen's Mom & Aspen!

    I have always had Pyr's & Aussies together....they seem to know that they were meant to work together, and have been a good fit for us.

    Aspen's reaction to other dogs doesn't surprise me, as Pyr's mature the need for interaction with other dogs minimizes (at least with mine it has) but with dogs they have known & liked, they seem accepting.

    If you can introduce Aspen & the Aussie boy on neutral territory that would be ideal....do you know anything about this boy? Is he mellow, submissive, good with other dogs?

    I like the fact that they are opposite genders....usually a better fit that way..

    Please let us know what you & Aspen decide!!

    Nancy, Rudy & Angel the AussieClick image for larger version. 

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  3. #3
    Young Dawg (Member) Aspen's Mom's Avatar

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    Hi Nancy, Rudy, and Angel. Thanks for the response! I'm glad to hear you've had success with Pyrs and Aussies. Aspen has always been drawn to Aussies so I think you're right about working well together. Aspen also may be part Australian Shepherd and maybe that's why...

    I'm told by the foster family that Russ (the dog we may adopt) is very mellow and well behaved. There are 4 other dogs in the foster home with him currently and he gets along with them all. It sounds like his energy will be a good fit for Aspen. He's active when you need him to be but also knows how to relax. We'll find out more on Saturday when we meet him. Then if all goes well, Aspen will meet him. That meeting will be make or break. I'll recommend a neutral location to the foster mom if we get that far.

  4. #4
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) Jewel's Avatar

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    Your description of Aspen as she matured is similar to my old boy Bro who passed away last July. Bro was 1/2 pyr 1/2 retriever/aussie (he's the one on the right in my avatar pic). We adopted him when he was 8 weeks old and was a pretty typical puppy. He was a dog park regular starting at 6 months. But before he turned 2 we had to stop taking him to the dog park because he would pick fights. Bro could make friends, he just needed a controlled environment when meeting a new friend. Once he's made a friend, he never reacted in appropriately to a friend.

    I hope Russ works out for you guys.

  5. #5
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) Shaggys Mom's Avatar

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    Our Pyr, Sir Moose, was adopted by a couple who had a female golden retriever At the time she was ab out 7 and he was about 3. Four years later they decided to move back up north to run a Bed and Breakfast and didn't think Sir Moose would work well--they love to bark, they shed, they are big. According to adoption rules, if you need or want to give up one of the TGPR dogs, you turn it back in to them. Well, the couple asked if they could "foster" Sir Moose until they moved or he was adopted They hoped to me the adopting folks. And it worked out that we did get to meet them. They asked if I would let them know how he did on the 100 mile trip home and how he adapted to the change. I sent e-mails with pictures and stories of his trips to the beach, to the stores that allow dogs, etc. Then just before they were to move she asked if we would take the golden retriever, now 11 and I said yes (We had had 5 goldens over the previous 20 years)

    At that point Sophie was 11 and Sir Moose was 7 and neither really played. He did "talk" with the neighboring dos, but she rearely barked. They would share their food bowls, got along just fine.
    Jerry and Moose

  6. #6
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) Tessy's Avatar

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    We got our female Great Pyr as a puppy and she was with us, as an only dog, for two years before we got our second dog. Our second dog is a male Great Pyrenees/Anatolian Shepherd mix. They love to play together and they don't like to be separated. We did keep them pretty separate but eventually they got along fine.

  7. #7
    Young Dawg (Member) Aspen's Mom's Avatar

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    Thanks for all the responses! I’m glad to know so many people have good success bringing in a second dog with their Pyr. Aspen and Russ met this evening. It went very well and I’m pleasantly surprised. Russ actually ignored Aspen for like the first 10 minutes – but she persisted and made a friend out of him! We met at a neutral location. I met the foster and Russ at the parking lot and walked into the park to meet my boyfriend and Aspen. I think this helped Aspen accept Russ without any suspicion. She didn’t react (lunge, or bark) at all which hasn’t happened with a new dog in 1 year unless the dog catches her by surprise. After the initial sniffs went well, we transferred locations to our backyard since Russ wouldn’t pay her any attention. They eventually ended up playing as well as sharing a water bowl and toys without any problems. There’s another family interested in adopting Russ, but I’m told we’re the preferred applicants. Per the adoption center’s rules the other family must meet Russ before they can choose a home for him. We should know by the end of the week if he’s ours or not!

  8. #8
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) Jewel's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aspen's Mom View Post
    Russ actually ignored Aspen for like the first 10 minutes
    Sounds like Russ has very good communication skills. He did exactly what was needed to keep Aspen under threshold. I really hope you guys get to take this boy home!

    I spent many years working with my old boy, taking him to places but always protected him from other dogs invading his personal space. He mellowed out as the years went on. When he came down with bone cancer in 2015 at age 10 and was receiving radiation treatment, they actually didn't have to put a leash on him at all when he went in for his sessions. They would give him a bed or a pile of blankets and let him know that was his space and he would stay on it even though there were other dogs (also receiving treatments) milling around him. So I think if you would continue to work with Aspen, she can learn to be civil and happy in public even with other dogs around her. She may not ever go back to the dog park (that was the case with our boy), but she can learn to behave perfectly with her family, and hopefully with Russ at her side.

  9. #9
    Young Dawg (Member) Aspen's Mom's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jewel View Post
    Sounds like Russ has very good communication skills. He did exactly what was needed to keep Aspen under threshold.
    That is so interesting! I'm sure that's right.

    I have every confidence that Aspen will continue to learn how to be civil with other dogs. I've come to terms with the fact that she will never be going back to the dog park and that's OK. I used to think that socializing with other dogs via dog parks etc. was necessary to make her life, or any dog's life, fulfilling. With the help of our behaviorist, I've learned that her needs are different and Aspen can be quite happy playing in the backyard and taking long walks in the neighborhood or nearby parks. Like you did for Bro, I do my best to protect her personal space and I think she's come to trust that I will do this for her which minimizes her need to react to other dogs.

    Still waiting to hear about Russ

  10. #10
    Young Dawg (Member) Aspen's Mom's Avatar

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    We got to bring Russ home today! Things are going fairly well so far with the two. I've noticed a few potential problem areas. One is feeding. Aspen gave a little warning growl when he got too close to her bowl. Also, Russ was playing a bit rough for Aspen. She gave two little yelps but he didn't back off. She was running a bit with her tail down. I had to tell Russ to back off to give her a bit of a break.

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