Older Dogs Who Didn’t Like Our New Puppy — Part 2
This story is a continuation of “Older Dogs, New Puppy — A Tale of Jealousy, Depression and Labrador Retrievers”. When we left off, our older dogs were tolerating Lucy, but seemed pretty unhappy that she had joined our ‘family’.
Older Dogs, New Puppy — A Tale of Jealousy, Depression and Labrador Retrievers
“What made you decide to get a puppy?” several people asked me, “Two dogs not enough?’
Lucy, on the other hand, adored the big labs. She bounced after them and on them, wanting to wrestle. She seemed oblivious to their disdain for her and only backed off when one of them growled or snapped at her.
My husband definitely felt we had made a mistake and I was certainly having my doubts.
My first glimmer of hope came one night as I was walking all three of them. Sam lay down in the grass and wriggled on his back. At first I thought he was just scratching, but then I realized, no. Sam was daring Lucy to jump him, which she did and he promptly tossed her off — playfully! It only lasted a moment and then Sam returned to ignoring Lucy, but it felt like a turning point to me.
Sam and Josie seemed to have moved past being repulsed by Lucy and avoiding her to ignoring her and were creeping towards accepting her into their pack. The article I referenced before had said that 3 weeks was frequently how long it took for dogs to adjust to the idea of a new puppy and that pretty closely matched our experience.
We next entered a phase where it seemed that Sam and Josie were okay that Lucy arrived. They didn’t move away from her, resumed normal dog behavior and adjusted. They even let her hang out with them. Often Lucy hanging out with Sam looked like this:
Still there were other moments when Sam initiated some interaction, mostly stealing those toys Lucy loved so much and trotting around with them wagging his tail.
Overall I felt that Lucy’s arrival had increased our two older dogs level of activity. John was still not convinced of the positive effect, commenting that just because Sam had adjusted, didn’t mean he was happy.
Again, Lucy continued to work her way into the pack. Often it looked like she waited until they were sleeping to make her move. Here all 3 dogs are on a Coolaroo designed for one Labrador. I’m pretty sure the order they climbed on were Josie and Sam and then Lucy. Had they accepted her being there or were they just sleeping so soundly they didn’t notice?
Photos and images perhaps show the shift of the relationship best. Here again my guess is that Josie (our grand old girl) lay down first. Then Sam came over to be by Josie (his mother) and finally Lucy joined in.
However the photos that most clearly show where they are at now I never seem to be able to capture. We’ve seen both Josie and Sam choose to rest their chin on Lucy’s back. They’ve moved beyond acceptance and into love.
Lucy is the bounciest, barkiest Labrador we’ve ever owned however and as Sam and Josie became more fond of her, she lost some of my husband’s affection for her. So, I can say that our older dogs learned first to get along with the new puppy, and secondly to love her and we are still working on the ‘happily ever after’ portion. Our current challenges can be a story for another day.
Thanks for reading. Good luck with your pups and if you enjoyed reading this article, you might also like:
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