A couple people have told me they’re concerned I’m getting a puppy.
They’re worried about my 10-year-old dog Ace, that I’ll hurt his feelings, break his heart or that our puppy will be too much for him.
But I know my dog very well, and Ace will be just fine.
Ace has had a good life.
He is a very easygoing guy who goes with the flow. He is accepting of people and dogs and as long as he continues to get plenty of love and attention (which he will), he will adapt.
Remember, we’ve had over 60 dogs come and stay with us over the last 9 years. Ace and my cats are very good with accepting other dogs; they’re used to it.
Most likely what will happen is Ace will engage very little with the puppy, mostly ignoring him. They might play on occasion, and I’m certain Ace will snarl as needed but for the most part he’ll ignore.
This won’t be because of a broken heart or from spite or jealousy.
It will be because Ace is fine with his life as it is. He sleeps most of the day now; he’ll do so in April too.
This doesn’t mean all older dogs would be fine with a puppy. Some might be very traumatized by it. I’m just saying I know my own dog well as each of you know yours.
I have zero expectations for Ace and my cats. They are free to react to the puppy however they do, and that’s fine.
I have no expectations for any of them to play or cuddle. Most likely they will all ignore the new guy. It will be my job to entertain the puppy.
A puppy will demand a lot of my time and yes I will be stressed and tired and wondering what the hell I’ve done.
As long as I remember to RELAX, have fun and not get too upset with the puppy, Ace will be OK too.
We’ve had about 12 foster dogs and over 50 of my clients’ dogs stay with us over the years.
Ace is used to sharing his space with dogs of all ages and energy levels.
Perhaps he’ll wonder when the pup is leaving, but I don’t think dogs sit and ponder those types of questions.
The puppy is more about me than Ace. Maybe it’s selfish to get a puppy as my current dog is now 10, but I rarely do anything for myself and I want a young dog in my life again.
I don’t have a running buddy, hiking buddy or a dog I can take to agility or obedience classes. (Here’s a cute video of Ace and I during agility years ago!)
Ace is retired from these things and has been for more than a year now.
That’s OK, and he and I have other things we do like short “strolls” or sitting in the grass at the park.
But I miss a young dog.
Some have suggested Ace will see me with the puppy and feel he’s being replaced.
I can’t imagine my dog could comprehend that level of complexity. Those are human issues and emotions, not a dog’s.
Will my dog be sad if I get a puppy?
I doubt it.
Ace knows he is loved. He knows he’s safe and has the things he needs.
He is simply not capable of creating stories of drama and conflict.
Ace is a good boy.
Ace is loved.
That’s all there is to it.
Do any of you have “multiple generations” of dogs in your family?
Let me know in the comments!
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Wednesday 16th of March 2016
Last fall, I brought a 12-week-old puppy home to my 5-6 year old male and my 9-11 year old female. There was no time to prepare because a friend rescued him and he needed a place to crash. I knew my senior girly didn't particularly enjoy other dogs, but I'd seen her patiently interact and "mother" a neighbor's puppy. Puppy was pushy at first and he still has no off button at almost 9 months, but between redirects from me and corrections from the girly, he's learned to respect her HUGE personal space bubble. He loves his crate, so to ensure his safety and her comfort, he is crated to eat and anytime I can't immediately supervise them, because let's face it: he's still a puppy with annoying puppy energy who sometimes forgets his manners when his ball rolls near her. He'll bark at the ball and as others have said, the "screaming" ticks her off. On the other hand, my older male and the puppy get along great for the most part and spend their days wrestling, playing tag, and playing tug. We actually named the puppy Shadow because he followed his new brother around so much in the first 2 weeks when he didn't have a name. Shadow has taken the pressure off senior girly to play with the other dog all the time and she seems to be enjoying her "retirement". She still plays occasionally, but she gets tired faster and get snappy faster if middle boy doesn't listen to her when she wants to stop. Redirecting him to the puppy and taking girly out of the equation has been great for everyone. The boys will play and wrestle while girly and I will spend some quiet time together watching (she gets belly rubs or brushing). I wasn't ready for a puppy, but thankfully, it's turned out to be a great decision for our house. My older male is more active, the puppy is learning manners, and my girl is enjoying her twilight years.
Thursday 10th of March 2016
I think, that like many things, it depends. I remember when we took in Bruin (he was not a pup), the first night, Jasmine standing on our bed, staring at him, back at us, back at him, saying, "Ugh, guys, this THING is still here. Can't you see it?"
I think accepting any changes boils down to whether it's a good thing or a bad thing. Will the older dog's life improve or get worse? E.g. will he lose some attention and love he used to be getting? Will he lose privileges? Will he be bothered by the puppy, unable to get a moment of peace? OR will he gain something?
Wednesday 9th of March 2016
I've had dogs of all ages living together in past years. Just one now, but we have frequent dog guests. Everyone adjusts, people and animals. Enjoy your new puppy and Ace, as i know you will.
Wednesday 9th of March 2016
Thank you so much.
Thursday 3rd of March 2016
I've thought about this exact issue with Haley because we're so bonded but Ace is already used to other dogs, like you mentioned and as long as he gets his special time with you, I bet he'll be totally fine with the new puppy. Who knows, he might really enjoy having that youthful energy in the house sometimes too. You know your dog best! :) I absolutely LOVED watching the video of you and Ace doing agility!!
Thursday 3rd of March 2016
Haha! Glad you watched our video! :)
Wednesday 2nd of March 2016
I'll think Ace and your family will be just fine. My only advice is to take lots of photos. The puppy will grow up so fast you will hardly believe it! I wish I had taken more photos with my two. I've got mobility issues now so puppies I have to enjoy vicariously through others. My favorite photo is of my two little ones after their first outing which included their first puppy vet check. Once home they zonked out, and I have the best photo of them. It seems like yesterday and it was nine years ago.