Insights Please, Thinking About Another Puppy But...

Discussion in 'Puppies' started by CarmenR, May 3, 2013.

  1. CarmenR Well-Known Member

    Hi, I am not sure if this is the right place to post this question, but here I go anyway. In the next 18 months I want to get a border collie puppy. I love training dogs, and even teach obedience classes at my local club. I also would want to do agility with this puppy. I also love the intenseness of border collies so basically I really do want this breed but!

    I currently have a 16 month old Kelpie cross border collie called Luna she is the most amazing dog and I would say she was perfect (everything I would want in my next puppy- eager to please, intelligent and never ending energy but will settle when told), except she is a naturally timid, anxious and fearful dog. I have put a lot of work into building her confidence but the vet behaviorist said that because as a puppy she was terrified of everything, this is her underlying personality and it will always be there.

    I mention this because the vet behaviorist said that it is likely a puppy will take on her anxiousness and fearfulness and if I get a puppy it has to be 'bombproof' like a Labrador. He also said not to get a rescue or an adult dog, mainly because Luna will accept a male puppy much more readily and it is less likely any issues will arise. So basically an adult dog which is less influential is out of the question.

    So my question to people with multi-dog households who have added a puppy (<16 weeks of age), did you notice the puppy picking up temperament or personality traits of the older dog?

    Also is it possible for me to pick a relatively 'bombproof' border collie if I went through a good breeder who bred for excellent temperaments and I explained what sort of pup I was looking for and my situation.

    Additionally, Luna gets distressed in some environments (tail down ears flat) when taken on walks however is less distressed when off lead. She also has recently started snapping at some dogs when she is on lead (plays fine with them off lead) however we are working on desensitizing her to this currently. This behavior only started 2 months ago. She also will 'jump' or startle sometimes when unexpected things happen in certain places. Although these behaviors only happen certain places whilst other places in present of the same stimulus she is relaxed or happy.

    Thanks in advance to anyone who takes the time to read and reply :)
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  2. CarmenR Well-Known Member

    Also I forgot to add I plan on keeping both of them separate most of the time, and would control the amount of time spent together, particularly spent alone. I would do all training separately including socializing, my partner and I will take it in turns walking and training and playing with each dog so that Luna will not get any less attention (we currently usually exercise Luna together. So the puppy would have a good chance of bonding strongly with us and less likely to learn Luna's loony ways
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  3. Amateur Experienced Member

    Hank was over one when we got the "terror" zoe ( 8 weeks)
    she couldnt have cared less if Hank was a shy or a bully or a 2 tonne grizzly bear
    She was who she was going to be.
    I think the more influential times would be in the coming months - I forget but I think there is a "fearful" stage at 8 months ????
    By then it sounds like you would be socialising the pup and exposing her to a lot ... so it may not be such a problem -
    unless of course she is very timid to start with.
    Is she is like my bold little BC she may even help the bigger one.
    ex. Zoe just jumps in the car - hank not so much
    but after seeing zoe in there he is less likely to stall as much
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  4. Linda A Experienced Member

    I have two dogs, about 8 months apart in age. Neither has picked up the other dog's habits or attitude. Spice is a barker and destroyer and is fearful. Royal is quiet, never destroys anything and is outgoing. I think a dog is going to be what it is going to be. LOL!
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  5. Mr-Remington Experienced Member

    My roommate has a 4 year old jack russell terrier (Chance), when I brought home Remi at 8 weeks. He was the opposite of Chance. They are a lot simliar now. Remi picked up on barking at other dogs and people from behind our fence. And he picked up on Chances weird obsession with water splashing. My roommate recently rescued another aussie puppy. Nash has picked up on the barking but nothing else from them. Thought aren't personality traits thought, thats just annoying stuff.

    I think your puppy might pick up on annoying habits but thats it. Each dog has their own personality. I know for me personally, walking Chance and Remi together has caused Remi to go nuts when he sees other dogs. Chance has always been like this, and now Remi has picked up on. I'm still trying to fix it. I've only taken Nash and Remi for one walk together and as soon as Remi acted a certain way Nash copied him. But not all dogs are going to be that way. Im just telling you what happened for me.

    As long as you walk and train them separately like you're planning you should be fine.
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  6. CarmenR Well-Known Member

    Thanks for help. I did think it was unlikely for a puppy to take on fearfulness but I really wanted to make sure. it sounds like they pick up on bad habits but I already knew that, which is why I want to give myself another 18 months. Luna is one that cannot hold her excitement in the presence of known people and does not have calm greetings yet...As we still need the house leash to restrain and settle her, I know I can't get a puppy (with Luna still acting like this) and expect it not be overexcited by people.

    Also I have spoken to other people (mostly other obedience instructors) and they can't see why a border collie would be that much different to a Lab, with many people saying there is no such thing as a 'bombproof' dog.
    Although if anyone strongly disagrees and thinks that a puppy would easily take on fearfulness please speak up, I really do want to hear it.

    Mr Remington - do you think that Remi picked up on barking or do you think she would have done it anyway regardless of Chance. I sort of thought that barking at other people behind the fence was a territorial instinct that the puppy would mature into? Just wondering because when I go on walks I rarely see a dog behind a fence that doesn't bark at me haha.
  7. Mr-Remington Experienced Member

    Remi was really quiet the first few months that after I got him...before he really got to know Chance. He didn't care for people passing by, or dogs. He was content watching. He was fine greeting dogs, he never pulled to greet them. When I let him and Chance be together more, like normal dogs, if Chance saw someone walking or dogs he does this weird high pitched whine, and than starts barking. On a walk he will just do the whine and pull, only a few times has he barked on leash. Remi didn't do anything close to that until we started walking them together, and letting them outside together. He also learned to bark at the fence, non stop, because of my moms chihuahuas.

    I think regardless the barking at the fence would have started at some point, just not the the extent that it does now since having Chance around him. I don't think he would be barking and pulling at dogs on walks had I not walked them together.

    I thought about this thread last night, I've noticed with Nash as well, she's picked up on the personality traits of Remi. (Yes this sounds crazy I know.) They are attached at the hip. Since being around Remi, she has gone from shy, quiet, and hating people. I thought she was just a shy dog, one that would never be comfortable with loud noises and people. I figured let her see how comfortable Remi is, and she'd learn that things are harmless. It worked. The puppy I brought home, and the puppy I have no are two different dogs. Yes, she could have come out of her shell without Remi. But they are the exact same in personality. I think having her stay with Remi has caused her to take on his personality. Not everything is the same. She's harder to train :p, and she loves food more than him, and is less toy motivated. She still isn't completely comfortable with strangers, and strange dogs. But I don't walk them together so I think that has to do with that.

    I think with almost all dogs they will pick up bad behavior. But I think when you have two (or more) dogs in one house it's hard not for them to pick up on personality traits.

    If you moved in with someone that is the complete opposite of you, you're bound to pick up some of their personality traits (social traits.) You will mimic someone else's way of walking, talking, or the way they cross their legs. You don't do it on purpose but you do mimic certain things. I think that's how it is for dogs. They mimic each other and eventually that becomes their own trait.

    This is all my own opinion. From first hand experience, I dont claim to know dogs all that well. I know a lot of people on this forum are more knowledgeable than me. :)
  8. CarmenR Well-Known Member

    Thanks for that. All very helpful information. My real worry is the puppy taking on Luna's fearfulness (mainly because that is quite hard to train out) so I will definitely hold what you told me quite highly when discussing with others as well as opinions of breeders. I know you say you don't know much about dogs but seeing as you live in a multi dog household but everything you have said makes a lot of sense I do think it is quite possible for the puppy to start mimicking Luna's fearful reactions. Thank you so much for your insights! :)
  9. Mr-Remington Experienced Member

    You're welcome! I've been raised with multiply dogs all my life. So I know the genreal education of dogs, but just this passed year I've gotten into the cognitive studies of dogs. I just know there are many more educated people than me. :)

    I think you're going about it just right, so that the puppy won't take on the fearfulness that Luna has. It's great of you! Like I said before just do her socialization without Luna around and the pup will make her own decisions.

    Please do keep us updated on what other people/ breeders say. I'm curious to know others opinion. :)
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  10. CarmenR Well-Known Member

    I will! At the moment I won't be asking breeders yet, as I don't think Luna or myself are ready to start looking for any pups, but I will ask around at obedience :) Cognitive studies of dogs, what does that entail? It sounds interesting.
  11. Dlilly Honored Member

    I keep my Kelpie separated from my other 2 dogs, and let me tell you it is awful….

    You should bring another dog into your house once your current dog is stable around other dogs. Work with Luna while you have the time, once you have a puppy the puppy will be getting most of the attention.

    It seems like you are already waiting to get another dog, which is good.
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  12. Mr-Remington Experienced Member

    It's the way dogs think about things. Why they do what they do, and how they see the world. If you're interested in reading about it. I recommend 'Inside Of A Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know' by Alexandra Horowitz. It's the first book I read. It really changed the way I saw my dogs, and with how I react to different behaviors.. And read 'Bones Would Rain from the Sky' by Suzanne Clothier. Both books are really good reads if you wanna know more about the way Luna thinks about certain things. Who knows they may help you with your training before you get that new puppy. :)
  13. CarmenR Well-Known Member

    Dlilly- the issue is with Luna's fearfulness, the vet said it is genetic. So while i can desensitize her to stimulus she is still contantly scanning her environment (the vet called it risk assessments) and then if something startles her she will jump or snap at the air once it has gone past. These are things that she isn't afraid of but is because of its sudden appearance such as a bicycle tearing past is when it came around the corner. These things scare me too but it is her reaction that worries me as well as her body language.I don't want the puppy to mimic. In the home she doesn't startle that easily and is relatively relaxed but sometimes the bushes rustling can cause a mild startle. I don't want the puppy to look at her body language and think oh no she is scared I should be too. I am trying to stabilize this now but the behaviorist said it will always be there. I know of a successful breeder who also is a well known trainer who separates any puppy she keeps from the adult dogs so that the puppy can develop its own personality. Yes they are allowed to mingle with each other but they are controlled and only for parts of the day. Her dogs perform as a team for audiences doing tricks and all have lovely temperaments but she still separates the puppy so they have their own personality and also so they bond better to her. I understand it would be horrible to separate them, but I would only do it until I felt the new pup had developed his own personality.

    Mr Remington - that's for those references I will try to get a hold of them, how dogs think really does fascinate me! Actually those books do sound like they will help me understand Lunaa's reactions which sometimes seem contradictory. Thanks for that hopefully they have them on amazon
  14. 648117 Honored Member

    When we got Holly we already had a 9 year old Cavalier (Paris) who had health issue. Paris did a few things that we really didn't want Holly to pick up on. Eg, Paris had been a picky eater her whole life which sometimes caused issues and with her failing health we basically had to beg her to eat anything, we didn't want Holly to become a picky eater. Paris also went nuts at other dogs if she was on leash and would cry in the car.
    Holly doesn't have any of these issue.
    Holly is such a little piggy that I don't think anything could have caused her to become a picky eater.
    She was never walked with Paris because at first I was teaching Holly loose leash walking so I walked her alone (Paris always pulled) and by the time Holly was good at walking Paris wasn't well enough for walks anymore.
    Holly has never made a sound in the car. She doesn't like the car but her response is to just lie down and sleep, she did that the very first time she was in the car when we brought her home (without Paris) and even after experiencing Paris' car behaviour Holly never changed.

    I don't think any dog could have really affected Holly's personality. She wasn't really a typical puppy when we got her. We brought her home in the afternoon and by the next day she was showing off her full personality and her personality is still exactly the same as it was then. She wasn't quite or shy for the first week like most puppies and she didn't follow anyone around (not Paris or any member of our family - she would get up if I did to see what I was up to but she didn't follow and she was happy to go and explore on her own). She has always been her own dog.

    I do wonder if this was partly because she was a slightly older puppy when we got her. She was about 11 weeks old when we brought her home. Maybe if she was 8 weeks old or something when we got her she might have been more easily influenced, I'll never know. But it could be worth considering leaving the pup with the breeder for an extra couple of weeks (especially if the breeder is keeping a pup themself and you trust them to start socialising etc) so that the puppy isn't as much of a baby when you bring it home and it will (hopefully) be around stable/confident dogs for those weeks.

    Also we got Lewis in December (3 year old Pomeranian), he hasn't changed Holly's personality even though the only time they are seperated is when in their crate (usually only at night), when Holly has class, and for half of their walks (Lewis sometimes joins me and Holly on walks but not always). Although they choose not to cuddle or share a seat to sleep, but they do play.
    Holly still has the same training focus as always.
    The only thing that Lewis seems to have effected is he has made Holly more barky at home (she will join in when he barks).
    And I think Holly makes Lewis more confident. He is a bit insecure but if he comes on Holly's walk he is much more confident and will meet other dogs. And he is generally getting more confident as he watches Holly.

    So I think it will really depend on the personality of the puppy you get. If it has a strong personality (like Holly) and is naturally very confident then it probably wont be effected by Luna too much, but if the puppy is not so confident and is more easily influenced (like Lewis - and he's an adult) then there could be problems.
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  15. CarmenR Well-Known Member

    Thanks for your input 648117. Yes I was thinking about asking the breeder to keep the puppy and extra two weeks, I have read it is better to get a puppy at 10 weeks. Although I would have to be sure that the breeder would still socialize it.

    So it appears that confident personality types are not easily influenced, which is what I am guessing the behaviorist suggested in getting a' bombproof' dog like a Labrador. Although the assumption that a Labradors are much more confident as a breed confuses me. I always thought that personality type varied even between litters.

    So here is another question: owners of Labradors - would you say that they are confident outgoing dogs?

    Owners of Border Collies - Would you say you can get confident outgoing Border collies?

    I personally do not think you could make any decision on personality of a dog based on breed, but I am very against breed specific legislation and I guess do not have that much dog experience so my ears are open. I may have to start a new discussion regarding my above questions.. hmmm

    Regardless, if I got a confident pup I still would separate them at least for a few months, because I do want the pup to develop its own personality
  16. Amateur Experienced Member

    I had/have a confident, domineering, pushy, self centred, pig headed, crazy, energetic border collie pup who doesnt trust our bedroom overhead light one bit ... go figure :rolleyes:
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  17. CarmenR Well-Known Member

    Haha dogs have such strange and funny quirks! On a side not would you say your dog was more of a challenge to train because of his personality type ie. confident and domineering?
  18. Amateur Experienced Member

    SHe has turned out to be a great dog. She is a BC so easily trained and eager to please.. I cant remmeber my real point but I think most dogs are gonna be who then are gonna be ( not considering tramatic experiences). I told my husband that I seem to have more tolerance for a shy submissive dog problem than a overconfident domaneering one. But thats just me - despite our beginnings she has turned out to be a calmer snuggle dog than I expected that is very bonded - just a little psycho. I think confident dogs have more of a positive influence on the shy ones than the other way around.
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  19. CarmenR Well-Known Member

    Yes it does seem that the confident ones are not as easily influenced from what others have said. Thank you all so much for the input, I'm fairly confident now that if I waited and spoke to breeders explaining my need for a confident little pup all should be fine with getting a border collie. I think i will still separate them at the start to help the pup develop his own personaility (I don't think this is a too strange thing to do as I know a breeder who has won a crazy amount of agility trials and also always has her dogs on television ads that separate pups she keeps so they bond more closely to her). Just got to get Luna more stable :)

    Thank you all for your inputs :)
  20. Evie Experienced Member

    I can't really comment on the multi-dog house hold as I only have Evie but, just keep in mind when you do choose a breeder that you are VERY sure that they have the happy confident type of dog that you're looking for.

    I bought Evie as a pup (she's a border collie), I met both of her parents, both were the 'in your face' friendly types of dogs. Evie was a confident little puppy who happily came bouncing over to us to greet us when we arrived and she was well socialised as a puppy yet she still HATES strange people. Genetically shy - must have come from a grandparent....... because as I said both the parents were very confident dogs. Now in saying that, Evie is a confident dog, just very people shy, and sometimes a little dog shy depending on the dog.

    Basically all I'm saying is to just keep in mind that just because the puppies parents are type of confident dog that you're looking for doesn't necessarily mean that your puppy will be like that too.

    good luck!
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