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Old 02-20-2008, 08:10 PM   #99
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War and Peace

Thanks everyone for the good karma thoughts, encouragement, and good advice. These days have been more trying than I ever imagined. I'm exhausted.

Armed with help from k9 savvy friends, we itty-bitty-baby-stepped, even crawled on all fours. Hope for a pleasant ride together was near disaster. Lulu regards the truck as her property just as much as the house. Attempts to socialize in a secure neutral area were unsuccessful and downright terrifying. We tried multiple methods and scenarios with these dogs, kept calm, never forced or pushed, even tried taking me out of the picture altogether, but to no avail.

Wondering if this would ever work, I brought in a specialist. She came to the house. After an hour of questions, observation, and work with the dogs she began her assessment with, "No, this will never do." Possibly Lulu isn’t over Maggie’s death and may never accept ANY dog. Regardless, what stood out to her the most was breed characteristics and pack dynamics. It seems Dugan, true to Australian Cattle Dog breed standard, is the quintessential velcro dog and has already bonded to me strongly. I remembered that during pre-adoption visits the rescue had remarked how unusual it was that he latched onto me so quickly. He had driven away other prospects. Cattle Dogs are notorious for their aloofness and “picking” only people they like. Lulu is even more strongly bonded and has just come into top dog position since Maggie's death. Even though they both know I’m alpha and I treat Dugan as the low rank pack member, Lulu perceives his instinctive behaviors a threat to her position. To suppress or ignore a Cattle Dog's bonding instinct is like punishment to him. But his increasing possessiveness of me will continue to exacerbate the problem. It's a vicious cycle and no one is a winner. She felt that even if an initial introduction had appeared successful a serious altercation would eventually occur and end badly. If resolution were possible, it would take many months to years of work and would stress the dogs tremendously in the process. Some dogs just will not get along. So it's better to find this out now.

Ooof ~ It all sorta reads like some dark doggie soap opera.

The rescue agrees with this assessment. This evening Dugan went back to the rescue farm. I’m disappointed, I miss him. He’s such a cool dog but is much safer there. Everyone I’ve worked with on this has been so supportive and tells me I’m not to blame. It is simply a matter of fact that these two particular dogs won't be able to live together. I need to accept it and let it go. Tonight Lulu is her happy-go-lucky self again and that means more than anything else right now.

Sorry for the long post. It helps to get this out of my system.
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Old 02-20-2008, 08:20 PM   #100
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So sorry to hear Dugan had to go back, but I'm glad Lulu is happy again. I think you did everything you could to make it work, and it's just good sense not to force something when the odds are so against you. I know I felt a lot of guilt over the two dogs I have had to send back to rescue, but I know it was the best thing for all involved. Hopefully Dugan will find another family where he will fit in perfectly.
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Old 02-20-2008, 08:32 PM   #101
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Not that I'm superstitious or anything, but I am beginning to think this thread is jinxed, and any additional dog subject mentioned here may be doomed before it starts...
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Old 02-20-2008, 09:21 PM   #102
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overlander63
Not that I'm superstitious or anything, but I am beginning to think this thread is jinxed, and any additional dog subject mentioned here may be doomed before it starts...
Terry, you have a point there . . . it makes one wonder.
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Old 02-20-2008, 09:52 PM   #103
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I'm sorry it didn't work out. The assessment made sounds right and I hadn't considered breed trait. I'm sure they'll find a great home for Dugan.

I think you need to get a Labrador, they love everybody! I might be a little biased to that breed, though.
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Old 02-20-2008, 10:13 PM   #104
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funny yet true, terry.

bummer 'foot...

but it all reads right. dog dynamics in action.

might be time to just enjoy ONE dog for awhile longer.

sometimes folks go for a replacement too soon

or to lessen the anticipated issues before the next one goes.

i think many older dogs are stressed by new additions to 'their' home...

whether or not they show it.

here's to hoping the cattle dog finds another good human to herd.

cheers
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Old 02-20-2008, 10:57 PM   #105
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Thanks Stef for commiserating with me. Even though the circumstances were a bit different we know how each other feels.

Cameron, you have every right to be biased about Labradors. Look at what an awesome pair you have there! Maybe one day for me . . .

2air, I think you hit the nail on the head. Lesson learned. I need to enjoy Lulu while I'm so fortunate to still have her.
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Old 02-20-2008, 11:41 PM   #106
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When one of our cats died at 11 and we had a 12 year old one who was very close to him, bringing in another cat was very stressful for her. She never did take to the newcomer even after 8+ years. We thought that at some point she'd at least tolerate him but she just never seemed to get over the passing of her first pal. It was "their" territory and this new interloper was a pain in the patoot to boot. He wanted to play with her toys, play chase you up and down the stairs, used "her" litterbox which she suddenly wouldn't use and the ultimate sin - would eat out of her dishes.

We eventually moved her food to another spot, she got her own litter box location, and she ruled the upstairs and the family room fireplace and my lap and he got the rest of the house and Donna's attention.

It worked, not perfect though and caused both of them a lot of stress and I wouldn't do it again. Now with her gone and he now 12 we have just left it with just him and he has really come out of his shell. He's extremely affectionate, far more than before, and is getting all the attention he feels he deserves.

Some dogs and cats are quite willing to accept a new addition if circumstances are just right as friends of ours have had. As the older dog passes on they bring in another younger one so they pretty much always have two dogs and whether its the breeds or what it has worked pretty well for them.

Sad to see you had to take the other dog back but in the end he'll get a better fit for his needs and your dog will be able to relax in the knowledge that you are now under control.

Barry
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