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Helping an older dog cope with a new puppy

Alright Collective, I need some help. Or reassurance.

I have 7 yr old Ridgeback, Buma. She is my shadow, attached to my hip, would rather be with people than dogs, dog. I got her as a 2 yr old and I know that she had a litter of pups on her first heat cycle. Her previous owner told me.

When we brought her into our family at the age of 2 we had an older Boxer/Pittie/Blackmouth Cur that loved everyone and was 8 at the time. He crossed the rainbow bridge this past summer. They got along great and she seemed to be missing him after his passing. She wouldn’t play but I am sure is was nice to have another dog to be with.

In an effort to fill the void (my broken heart and a companion for Buma). I got a pup a few weeks ago. Silly Lilly. She is a Lab / Border Collie cross and is 16 weeks old currently. And smart as a whip. I was expecting her to turn on the mothering switch and not be freaked out by the pup but…

Here is the issue. Buma is experiencing major anxiety. And it is mostly caused by the toys.

She freaks out when Lilly plays with her stuffy toys that have squeakers in them. Or when she is playing with a rubber toy and she drops it, it freaks Buma out. When pup needs quiet time and I put her in her crate; Buma freaks out if Lilly stretches and hits the crate making a noise.

Buma shakes, gets wided-eyed, wants to hid under my legs, pants, just generally freaks out.

Buma tolerates the pup playing with her, sharing the bed, engages with her outside in play and let’s Lilly chase her and then returns the favor to chase Lilly.

Buma also hates: gun shots, fireworks, banging, dropping a heavy item, loud sharp sounds, etc. These I can handle as they are not a daily or hourly thing like the puppy playing.

When I took her to the vet to discuss some sort of med to help take the edge off, I was dismissed and given some “calming chews” that do nothing or very little. Composure Pro I am giving her 2 in the Am and then a second dose of 2 around lunch time 1-2pm.

Besides finding a new vet, which I am in the process of doing. How can I help Buma with her squeaker freak outs? I want puppy to play and be engaging, and she is so good about being redirected from chewing on a ‘no’ item and taking a good item like a stuffy or a rubber kong; and I feel bad when I have to put her in a time out because Buma is freaking out. I have pulled all of the squeaker toys off the floor, and now Lilly is super bored and bordom leads to naughty puppy behaviour.

Perhaps I need to give her more. She is 105lbs. ??

PS. I would seperate Buma, but she flips out when I am in the house and she is not in the same room with me. I know… its an issue.

And to make matters harder…I work from home.

What can I do?

Is there a chance of getting squeekerless toys? Or specific puppy toy time? Maybe some CBD for Buma? It seems like it’s a solvable problem and time is going to be the answer.

Can you walk them together? Engage in other fun time activities?

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So, for clarity – it’s not the puppy so much, as it is the noise?

I think that’s a point to be clear about. If there were no puppy noise, a puppy but with quiet, everything would be fine? Or is that not the case?

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I have some more toys coming that should be not offensive to Buma and I am looking into CBD. Do you have a brand you like?

We do everything together; play, work, potty.

They both each get one on one time with me and my DH. But the animals are my wheelhouse, he doesn’t “get” them and can’t read body language.

I figured time will be the biggest factor. Lilly has only been here for 2 weeks.

I just want to make sure I am not missing anything to help comfort Buma, while not inadvertently punishing Lilly for being a puppy.

I think it’s the noise mostly.

Buma let’s her climb all over her, she engages with puppy,

Do they make dog ear pom poms?

ETA spelling

She thinks the puppy is killing puppies, she’s been a mama dog. Or she just hates the sound, it’s kind of anxiety driving. I hate squeaker toys and my dogs don’t get them b/c I have small pets that would squeak if they were chomped. Pull the squeakers and make sure they have walks together and time apart in the house, is my 2 cents, which it sounds like you are already doing.

I brought a new pup into a house full of older dogs in August and I have feathered in the newby while protecting the olders’ patience and lower energy level, it takes time but packs are packs, they do like to have another dog usually. You’re just in the beginning but sounds like sans squeakers everything is going well and you’re doing a good job! I’m glad you got a pup; I tried not to get one after my beloved dog died this summer but we had a small dog vacancy that I missed way too much.

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Sounds like noise is the problem. I have an Aussie who was very skittish about noises as a puppy, but got better as she matured. Buma may adjust to a more noisy house, but I suggest getting rid of squeaky toys and switching out the metal crate for a plastic one if you can. If she is food motivated, you can try giving her training treats when loud noises are happening. Start with a sound that she reacts to only slightly. When she stops reacting to that sound when she’s focused on treats, move to a slightly louder sound, etc. Good luck!

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I have a former street puppy, Mika, that has random odd noise phobias that come and go. She can get very stressed and anxious over really weird things too.

I use an Adaptil calming collar, supposed to last 30 days but I don’t think it’s effective for the full length of time. She was on Anxitane daily chews but the price skyrocketed so I stopped using them. I switched to Solid Gold calming chews recently instead. She gets Rescue Remedy and Mimulus drops daily.

Lastly, I just put her on CBD oil from Charlotte’s Web a month ago. I had their cbd chews for a previous dog but the dosing didn’t seem to work for Mika- she’d conk out and go to sleep. The oil has made a drastic difference- much braver with scary objects, and much less reactive to scary noises. She’s still full of energy, just less anxious. She’s normally afraid of walking in the dark but on the cbd oil she’s happily going out for miles at night.

No idea how much any of these are working individually or whether it’s everything together that’s helping. I do notice a difference when the collar is getting to the end of the 30 days so that definitely does seem to help her stay relaxed when encountering other dogs.

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I would call your vet back and thank them for the chews and then explain that the chews are not working so you need something else to help your older dog deal with the noise.
There are anti-anxiety meds that work for some dogs.

It can not be fun for her to be that stressed all the time either. It is worth trying to find something that can help her better deal with the noises of daily life.

On a non-drug front, did you try something as simple as a ThunderShirt?

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This is what I was thinking, but I’d up the reward to something SUPER high value (think: steak or chicken) and jackpot it.

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This is a tough one. I had a sound sensitive dog, sounds much like yours. We had to disable the chime on the pendulum clock. It made a polite little ding on the hour and it would take the poor dog ten minutes to calm down! All the appliances had to be silenced. Definitely try some non squeaky toys. Mine love to shred egg cartons (free!). Antlers (expensive!) are great puppy chews. You wouldn’t want to drug her perpetually, but it might be good to have something stronger on hand for once in a while. Guests or a business meeting. Many people like Trazadone. I find ace reliable. Speak to your vet about options. I don’t know that it would be practical for house use but they do make mutt muffs for taking your dog flying. It’s hard to see our friends so unhappy. Best of luck!

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Thank you so much everyone. It sounds like I am on the right track.

I have:
squeakerless toys coming
looking into CBDs (thank you for the link @Cammie ! )
Appt with the vet will be made
I was also thinking Thunder Shirt. Was not sure if any other sound sensitive dogs out there with experience using them.

We have a ton of elk antlers. Lilly loves them thank goodness!

Buma is very focused when it comes to food, she can take it too far and be hyper focused and I need to work. So I will try to do food motivational calming down while puppy plays after work hours to see if that helps associate good things with bad to her sounds.

Here is the puppy tax!

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OP, I have CBD drops that I’d be happy to send to you! I tried them with my new adopted dog back in June, at the recommendation of my friend, who is an ACO and has had a lot of success with this product with anxious shelter dogs.

I didn’t really notice if they helped my girl or not. One word of caution - CBD can cause stomach upset. I think it didn’t agree with my girl, gastrointestinally, so I discontinued use. Anyway, you are welcome to have them - I can pop it in the mail. I hate to waste a perfectly good product!

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That would be amazing @floppyammy! I will PM you my address and let me know what the shipping is and I will venmo it to you.

One of our dogs got terribly sick from an antler, so I don’t recommend them. Honestly, carrots make awesome chews, lol. All of our dogs are jealous of horses getting carrots, so it works. Only one per day if they swallow the pieces. More if they just chew it up.

The antlers are years old. At least 7+ for some. So far she’s been ok with them. And they are always store bought, not found in the wild.

Carrots are a great option too. I will offer her some today.

Doesn’t sound like Buma is struggling with the puppy. To me, it sounds like Buma is struggling with noise phobia.

I would seek more serious anti-anxiety meds. Her phobia may be worsening. There was research that dogs’ hearing changes around the age of 7 due to changes in the hairs of the inner ear.

I hate to see them so terrified and feel so helpless to soothe them. I tried all of the non-rx options shared here, then finally got over my stigma against meds. Medication has helped my noise phobic dog, with all of its sounds beyond our control and his comprehension, and has improved his quality of life. I hope you can find something to help Buma, too.

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Thank you so much for sharing Bicoastal.

I was not aware that dogs hearing changed around 7 and that would make sense given Buma’s age.

I am going to press for anti anxiety meds.

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Super cute photos! The Thunder shirt was completely useless for my beagle who had significant anxiety when he joined our family at 2 years old. Treats, exposure and exercise were the most effective tools for us. We learned that if he had been well exercised, his reactions to noise were much less dramatic. I bought the Walky dog plus to safely exercise him along my bike. This allowed him to run much faster than I could take him on foot. Every working breed puppy should come with one!

I love this… and Buma would hate me forever. She more of the lounging around Ridgie, than a work for my food type. BUT I am going to get one of these for Lilly when she is grown to use with my bike.

Thanks for the link! May be Santa Paws will bring one for Lilly.