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Canine Behavior/Dog and puppy

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Question
We just got a new puppy. He is the same breed as the older one. My older dog won't even get off the couch. I have to pick him up to take him outside. He won't get down to eat or drink. He will be thirteen in July and he has been starting to loose his eyesight. I feel like he is depressed in some way. He wants nothing to do with the puppy. Please help.

Answer
Hi Leah -

Sorry to hear that you're having trouble with your pups. Your older dog might be depressed. I would definitely consult his veterinarian to get a health check and rule out any other medical possibilities for his behavior.  When introducing a puppy to a resident dog it is important that nothing about the resident's dog life changes. Beds, food dishes, meal times, walk routines etc.  Often when families add a second dog, especially a puppy, the puppy gets all the attention.  I had a client that moved her resident 13 year old dog's crate out of her bedroom and put the puppy's crate in its place. That is a serious no no.  Make sure the puppy is tired (good long walk or fetch) before allowing him to interact with your resident dog. Their energy levels are at opposite ends of the spectrum. Your older dog will tire faster and not be as playful as the puppy.  Supervise all interactions in case things get too rough so the dogs don't hurt each other (in play or otherwise) Most importantly, make sure your older dog feels special and that he is a valued member of the family. Walking the dogs side by side will help them to bond, but take your older dog for solo walks a few times a week, give lots of one on one petting and attention, maybe buy him a few new toys or items to chew (pigs ear, bully stick maybe) that he can enjoy.  Please keep me posted on this situation, and contact your veterinarian to rule out whether this behavior is due to a medical condition or if this is just your dog's way of coping with your new addition and will correct itself in time.

PS - for dogs losing their sight, their nose is super important. There are a ton of websites out there to support people with visually impaired and blind dogs.  Things like scenting tennis balls, scenting between rooms (so dog knows one room from another) putting a bell on other pets so the dog hears them etc, can all help your older dog cope better with his failing eyesight. If he's depressed it could also be due to changes in his vision and not so much with the puppy.  Just love him and help him through this transition as well as you can.

Canine Behavior

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Jennifer Ganser, LMT, ABCDT

Expertise

For canines I can answer questions related to behavior, obedience training, health and massage therapy (anatomy, health benefits) For equines I can answer questions related to behavior, barn management, health and massage therapy (anatomy, health benefits) I am not a veterinarian and it is not within my scope of practice as a licensed massage therapist or certified dog trainer to diagnose health conditions. Please contact your pet's veterinarian for illness related questions and emergencies.

Experience

I am a licensed massage therapist for people, horses, and dogs and a certified dog trainer. I teach group obedience classes as well as private lessons. I also work with horses and help barns establish good management practices.

Organizations
Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) National Certification Board of Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB)

Education/Credentials
2009 - graduate of Connecticut Center for Massage Therapy 2010 - certified in canine/feline first aid + CPR by Red Cross 2012 - graduate of Post University equine program 2012 - graduate of Animal Behavior College Obedience program

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