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Will getting a 2nd dog help the situation with my first dog?

(10 Posts)
MaryPoppinsPenguins Sat 19-Dec-15 16:25:30

I have a cocker spaniel, he's amazing with our children (even through a very spiteful phase with the youngest one!), and he's very affectionate and sweet, and we've had him for 9 years.

The issue is, he has real anxiety about being alone. He's been very spoilt, in that for the first five years of his life, my DH worked from home and so he was never left, and even if we went out in the evening we would drop him to my mums so he could have company... Then once my husbands job changed, I became a stay at home mum and have been for the last almost 5 years so again, he hasn't had to be alone.

I'm looking ahead about 18 months, when I'm hoping to go back to work, and I'm worried about him. If he's left alone he barks like crazy. We've tried everything... We've had different trainers give us different advice, we tried a crate, we made the laundry room 'his room', we left the radio on, we tried toys, a kong... Nothing has ever worked.

My friend stays with my sporadically and has a pug, and when he's here, and we go outside, my dog doesn't bark.

Do you think our problem can be solved by getting a second dog? (Well in advance of the time I have to go back to work obviously.)

honeyroar Sat 19-Dec-15 17:15:57

It may well. My father lives next door to me and he says that he can hear my dogs playing tug of war through the wall in a certain room if I'm out. It might be worth contacting a rescue and asking if you could foster a dog to see how it went.

knobblyknee Sat 19-Dec-15 18:40:10

Your dog has separation anxiety, it might be you he misses, and you may and up with two dogs with separation anxiety! Try to borrow a dog or friendly cat and try that. Google for a treatment plan, and see your vet about getting some supporting meds.

villainousbroodmare Sat 19-Dec-15 18:42:12

Possibly. Borrow/ foster and see.

IndomitabIe Sat 19-Dec-15 18:45:00

Our neighbours got a dog about 5 years ago. It would destroy the house and howl when they went out (both work full time).

They got a second dog (don't know if the intentions were the same as yours) and now there are two dogs that howl aaaallllll day long.

Be careful, make sure you have a back-up plan (friends have used doggy day-care).

AlpacaLypse Sat 19-Dec-15 18:45:50

yy, take a dog into foster, we're always looking for good foster carers until our rescued dogs can find forever homes, and see what happens.

who knows, the dog you foster may become your second dog anyway... smile - wouldn't be the first time!

AlpacaLypse Sat 19-Dec-15 18:48:34

And if that doesn't work, doggy daycare is available, but worth looking early, my best carers are usually fully booked months in advance.

MaryPoppinsPenguins Sat 19-Dec-15 19:37:03

I did look into doggy day care, visited a few and got him his kennel cough vaccination in preparation, but then they stopped the pick up and drop off service and I just didn't have any way to get him there... I'll look again though.

Dec2015 Sat 19-Dec-15 19:40:13

Our dog walker comes in, collects our dog at 11, drops him back at 3pm. Charges £12.50.

I still would like a 2nd dog though. <helpful>

moosemama Sat 19-Dec-15 21:15:35

My dog developed SA when our old girl died, having been brought up in a household with first two, then one older dog/s. We did a comprehensive behavioural programme with him and discovered it was actually Isolation Distress, rather than true SA, ie he was happy as long as somebody, anybody was with him, rather than being unable to cope without a particular person.

We decided to get a pup to keep him company (I am a SAHM, so he's not left often, but obviously we wanted him to be happy when we do). By this time he had improved considerably as a result of the behavioural programme and could manage an hour alone.

We took on a rescue pup 3 months after we lost our old girl and straight away, despite not being at all impressed at the puppy shaped interloper, our boy was fine being left - BUT - the pup had lots of health problems, couldn't be socialised because he was potentially contagious and couldn't be vaccinated and ended up with much more severe SA than our older dog. hmm He has true SA, in that he cannot stand to be left at home without me, although two years down the line I can now leave him with dh or my Mum for a couple of hours. It took a very long time and lots of work before I could even go upstairs without him screaming the house down.

We have done lots of work with him, but he can still only manage 40 minutes max before he becomes incredibly distressed. We did get him up to an hour, but then I was ill and he's regressed from me being home all the time. I don't drive, so can't go far at all, as we live in a semi and his yelling would disturb our neighbours (who incidentally are lovely and we don't want to upset/bother them). He is currently left for two 15 minute school runs a day, for which I have to prepare various treat dispensing toys/kongs to keep him distracted. If he runs out of food he starts yowling and if I am out for more than 40 minutes he'll be full on screaming.

I can recommend this book for understanding SA and how to treat it and this one for identifying ID versus SA]].

I know we can improve my lad's tolerance with more intensive work, along the lines of the programme in the books I've mentioned, but am not physically capable of doing that at the moment. We will definitely get back onto it as soon as possible.

I would think long and hard about getting another dog and definitely try him out with another dog he knows and various people you can trust to dog-sit, to see how he gets on with them as well.

I adore my younger lad and wouldn't be without him, but in restrospect I'm pretty sure my older dog would have continued to improve without us getting another dog if we'd just carried on his behavioural programme and been more patient.

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