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Benson Two month update

Discussion in 'Sheltie Chat' started by Margi, May 26, 2019.

  1. Margi

    Margi Forums Enthusiast

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    It’s been two months since Benson came to live with us. This is my first go round with adding a third dog to the house.

    You know the ol’ joke about ASSUME? I’m surprised how often I did this without realizing it. I subconsciously compared him to my other dogs, and I know better than that. I should have asked the breeder more detailed questions about Benson’s behavior in the house and how much freedom he was given, then done my best to duplicate it in my home to start. I finally drug out a crate from the garage about three days in, in an attempt to help him settle. I think I heard a huge sigh of relief when he voluntarily went in. My guys hate crates, but Benson sleeps in it every night of his own choosing.

    I assumed he would mark a bit in the house since he’s intact. What I didn’t expect was the Great Pee Wars of ’19. I found at least 4 huge puddles, total bladder voiding, which started week 2-3. I never saw him doing it and I wasn’t sure it was him. One night there was the 4th big one right in the hallway where Koko always lays, I yelled at Benson, but then it occurred to me it was fresh and I checked their bellies, Koko was wet and Benson was dry. Those two were having a pissing match over Koko’s spot. The war is over and I guess Benson won because Koko lets him lay there and there are no more puddles.

    I am still working on his reactive issues. The joke is “what is the nut du jour?” You just never know what will trigger him into barking and running away. Partial list—hubby putting on a hat, hubby changing clothes, reflections in mirrors and doors, cracking eggs in skillet, garbage disposal, garage door opening, taking a shower, opening the bedroom curtains. Thankfully none of these behaviors has been unstoppable. I finally took my friend’s advice and got a squirt bottle with a long stream to it. I got him on the side of the face from about 15 feet when he was going nuts over my poor husband having the temerity to change clothes. That stopped him cold. He never did it again. Not only that, but that squirt bottle now has magical powers. If he sees it, he settles. I set the bottle on the floor next to the mirror that set him off—no more barking at the mirror. It’s like those lighthouse things you get with a Roomba to keep it from going in a room! LOL.

    I hope the social dynamic improves with the three of them. Fil and Benson play rough house sometimes. But by and large, it’s Fillion and Koko laying together on the sitting wall like they always do, with Benson up on the patio alone looking down at them. They aren’t mean to him, they pretty much just ignore him. I know I shouldn’t put human emotions to dogs but it kinda breaks my heart to see that. It’s like when I was teaching, and watching the awkward child walking around the playground alone at recess cuz no one would play with him.

    Ending on a positive note, this little boy has such a sweet joyful disposition. I nicknamed him Mr. Exuberance. He gets so excited if you pet him, his whole body wriggles and his tail beats you to death. He covers you in kisses. I have the cleanest ears west of the Mississippi! He launches himself into my lap for cuddles. Fillion and Koko have never done that. So like the Rolling Stone song line says—You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometime you find you get what you need!
     
  2. Cindy

    Cindy Premium Member

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    I would try a dog cam and see how they behave when you aren't there. As owners, givers of food,and givers of attention our presence changes the dynamic. I was amazed at how Gavin snuggled with the cat when I wasn't around (or the other way around).
     
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  3. ghggp

    ghggp Moderator

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    Funny, Liam does the same thing! Launches into my lap and proceeds to lavish kisses and then goes after my ears! I call him my little nibbler!
    It took almost a year before Baron my oldest at 5 would play with Liam. It takes time and definitely the dynamic changes over time.
    Love your ending... so true!
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2019
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  4. Sharon7

    Sharon7 Premium Member

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    Ah yes, the dynamics of three. It changes everything and not always the way you anticipate, as you related. I have done this 3 times now, introduced a third dog to two existing dogs. Thankfully, after adjustment, it has all worked out fine. This last time, it did my heart good to see how supportive Eli was with Brooke in her illness.

    It just changes everything, adding that third. I guess we are prone to think it will be the same, but just with a third body and more love, but not so. Sometimes it's sad because a routine or behavior is lost, but I have found on the whole it has been a change for the good. Sounds like Benson is very affectionate with you which is nice. I feel for you with the Pee Wars though. My girls have thankfully never done that bit of acting out, and neither did Eli. He doesn't mark at all.

    Hopefully things will still evolve to the good. Is there some game that they can all enjoy together? will they chase a ball or stick? Do you walk all three together?
     
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  5. Margi

    Margi Forums Enthusiast

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    I started group walks from day one. Koko cannot/will not walk long distances due to his arthritic shoulder, so sometimes we take what I call "wheelchair walks" with all three going at the pace of snail for Koko's sake. Gotta learn to respect the elders LOL. Fillion re-injured his shoulder rough housing with Benson so he was on house arrest for quite some time, but I take the two of them as often as I can. Benson is so full of energy I have to take just him on power walks to try and drain some!
    We try to play "soccer" or hockey in the yard or living room. Three dogs all playing a different game with the same ball is kinda interesting :) Koko plays Keep Mama away from the ball, Fillion tried to play his hockey game he invented, and Benson just tries to dribble the ball as fast as he can around the room! I don't know if it is creating any bonding or not. (Frankly Fillion wasn't speaking to me for a long time. He just now starting to demand his after dinner game again. Some of that had to do with his hurt shoulder, I'm sure.)
    One thing they all participate in is guarding the yard--Benson began barking and running the fence-line with them a few weeks ago, warding off evil intruders!
     
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  6. Sharon7

    Sharon7 Premium Member

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    The most interesting thing to me was how adding the third brought out characteristics of the other two that weren't apparent before. Brooke never played or even attempted to play with Asta and Ally. But when Asta was gone and Faith came, she became a different dog. Actually, she allowed that side of herself to come out, she may have been very playful at the breeder's house. It was an amazing transformation, she and Faith chasing, wrestling, bouncing around together. And Ally stood by and cheered them on. Makes me smile to think of it.
     
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  7. Margi

    Margi Forums Enthusiast

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    This is exactly what I was hoping would happen for Fillion. I was so disappointed when I brought Koko home and he never played with his kid. He made up for it by being a wonderful example for Fillion as he grew up and being more of the love bug I had hoped my puppy would be. (Nothing like Benson is, btw) Maybe I'm expecting too much too fast, or maybe I waited too long and Fil is too old at 6 to change his ways.
     
  8. Sharon7

    Sharon7 Premium Member

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    We always have visions of what we think will happen and are flummoxed when it turns out to be a different thing entirely. I would say, give it some time still Margi. Things have a way of evolving, and hopefully to the good. Glad Benson is such a snuggler and affectionate, it's really nice to have at least one who is, eh?
     
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  9. Piper's mom

    Piper's mom Forums Enthusiast

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    Wow it's been two months already Margi! It's funny the similarities we have in our household as well, except in my case it's Riley that's the odd man out because Piper and Finnie are so close.
    I'm sure that over time Benson will be one of the pack with the other two, he sounds like he's come so far.
    I just love your idea of a spray bottle...Piper and Finnie both bark when I raise the blinds in the kitchen (I've had to kill a few flies there), and in the car...OMG Piper is BADDDD! Started just this year, when someone (myself included) walks by he turns into the crazy possessed Sheltie barking and jumping at the glass!
    Just last week I took them with me when I went out for a coffee in the evening and then I stopped at McDonald's for my mom. I parked in front of the doors and placed my unopened coffee on the dash (because I know how bad he can be lol). When I came out he started barking at me and all I saw was his paw catch my coffee cup and saw it fall off the dash (full of steaming hot coffee). I quickly opened the door expecting hot coffee on my seat or Piper to find it on the floor, unopened...amazing but boy did he get heck! I'm going to get that bottle ready!
     
  10. Ann

    Ann Moderator

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    Trust me, six is not too old. In fact, it's the perfect age to introduce another dog or puppy. Fillion is just being stubborn, but in my experience after a while, they can't resisit and decide the interloper is staying so they might as well play. They do adjust...the time line is just different for all of them. Years ago, when I brought home Ivy to our two Shelties then, Scruffy and Bandit, Ivy wanted desperately to play with Scruffy who would have nothing to do with her. Finally after six months, Scruffy, who was also six at the time and definitely the queen, couldn't stand it and gave in. They became buddies after that.

    With six, our dynamic is different but we have some of the same issues. No one was happy when Flurry came home at 5 months old. More than a year later in some ways, she's still the outsider but she is relentless and chases all of them in the yard to play.

    It's wonderful that Benson has bonded with you. Sometimes, you're better off having the dog connect with you first, and then the dogs. Otherwise you never get that bond. Hang in there...things will improve!
     
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