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Dog behaviour following death of our other dog(6 Posts)
We had our 12yo terrier pts last week after he became very ill with secondary lung cancer. He was a rescue (1 year approx when we got him) and was always very reactive around some other dogs (males mainly that hadn’t been done), and was barky etc- real handful and a typical terrier! We got our other dog from farm as a rescue too at the age of 10 weeks. She’s now 7yo. They hit it off and were good friends until the last few weeks when he was ill. She withdrew from him and kept out of his way, not playing with him etc as she could obviously sense he was ill. Prior to this she had started to pick on him a bit and seemed to assume the head dog position in the house.
She spent the first night without him sniffing around and has been subdued in the house. We are keeping all the routines exactly the same, walks feeding times etc.
She’s always been a bit snappy with puppies and some overly familiar dogs but responds well to dogs with good manners or that are calmer than her.
In time, we would like to get another dog- possibly around 2 years old rather than a puppy, but am now wondering when the best time to do this would be, if at all.
It would have to be well-vetted and we would probably go to the Dogs Trust or similar as they offer good support.
Has anyone any advice? Any similar experiences?
Sorry for your loss. Did she get to see him/sniff him as he passed away? I understand this isn't always possible for many reasons, but some dogs can be confused when their friend just disappears one day and never comes back. Though it sounds like your girl sensed that something was wrong - it's horrible but dogs will avoid and isolate dogs that are unwell from their little pack, and she may have accepted that he was dying. All totally natural and she would understandably be a bit subdued following this. As long as she's eating and drinking I'm sure she'll be totally fine
As for rescuing another dog, I would probably play it by ear and she how she responds to being the only dog in the house over the next few weeks. Some dogs really relish being an only dog and getting all the attention, whereas others would really benefit from having another friend. If you do decide to get another, I'd suggest one that has been properly temperament tested and is more on the passive/submissive side, and maybe a male. Terriers by nature like to be the top dogs and aren't afraid of a challenge, and sounds like your girl will not put up with another dog bossing her around, especially as she's taken over from your old boy's position as head dog.
It also comes down to you as a family - do you feel you've had enough time to grieve over your boy? Grief varies from person to person - I've known people who have been so heartbroken over the loss of their dog that they never got another one, others who got another dog just a couple of weeks after their old one had passed. There is no right or wrong time, ultimately it's down to what you think is best for your dog and yourselves!
Thank you so much for replying TeacupRex.
My dog was pts at the vets so she didn't see the body. She's definitely eating and drinking ok, and is ok when she's out (apart from being a little bit more snappy and grumpy than usual). She seems a little bit more 'on edge' in the house- probably as she was so used to him getting in there first if there was a knock at the door/cat in the garden etc! She's barked a few times in the night too which is unusual for her - a protective/warning bark.
We are definitely playing it by ear with regards to getting another dog, and in no rush. I'm just mindful that she might 'forget' how to live with another dog. As you say, another male who has been temperament tested - she doesn't suffer fools!! She's a terrier cross herself (possibly with a border collie), so it'll have to be bullet proof and chilled!!!
When our yorkie was 2 we got a jrt puppy. The yorkie died (put down at vets) at 14, and I let the jrt see her body, but he was not the slightest bit interested. I got the feeling he really wasn't bothered, as, although they got on, there was a lot of jealousy. He was thrilled to have all the attention and affection lavished on him alone. There was no way we could get another puppy because he was a brute with strange dogs and I honestly think he might have killed it, so he was a singleton for the remaining 2 years of his life. The one thing I hadn't thought about was us going out. He had never suffered from separation anxiety - he had gone from litter mates to a Yorkie mate and had always been fine.I was therefore mortified to hear him howling one day when I got back from shopping. I had never ever heard him howl. But the poor dog had never been alone. Why it didn't occur to me, I don't know. He was such a bullish tough dog. Anyway, we did what we could. Fortunately we are retired, so we just made sure he was never left alone after that, as far as was practicable. I felt like a real heel for ages.
We now have an almost 3 year old poodle (jrt died in 2016) and I think in terms of attention she gets and training she is (hopefully) just as happy on her own. Personally, I find life much easier with just one dog. However, we had an elderly shih-tzu when we got our yorkie and they were firm friends from the off, she was devastated when he died, which was why we got a jrt puppy. You can never tell how dogs are going to gel, and it's quite upsetting when things don't go as planned.
Yes we would think about things very carefully and won't be rushing into things.