Are your dogs best friends?
My dogs are getting along much better lately, but they are not “friends.” I doubt they ever will be.
I have a 10-year-old Lab mix named Ace and an 11-month-old Weimaraner named Remy.
For the first few months, my older dog was aggressive to our puppy, even striking him in the head and drawing blood.
Of course, it’s normal for a senior dog to correct a rude, rambunctious puppy, and it’s up to the OWNER to manage interactions and keep everyone safe.
At first, I thought my senior dog was out of line with his aggression. Our puppy was so tiny! But now that Remy is bigger and stronger and able to throw some weight around I’m realizing Ace knew what he was doing all along.
Remy often ignores my corrections. He does not ignore Ace.
Ace is not an aggressive dog. He’s very well balanced and easy going. He’s been recruited a dozen times to help socialize anxious or aggressive dogs that would otherwise have no dog friends. So I probably should’ve given him more credit.
Today, Remy is respectful of Ace’s growling and posturing. I see that it was good for Ace to make an impression while Remy was so small. I still supervise them, but I no longer worry about Ace being too aggressive. Remy knows Ace doesn’t want to play and to leave him alone, respect his space.
But are my dogs friends?
Ha! Not a chance.
A common comment I get from readers goes like, “Oh, they’ll be friends in no time.” Or, “My dogs are inseparable. Yours will be too!”
I am almost positive this will never happen with my dogs.
(But I do appreciate the positive opinions!)
My two cats are best friends. I find Beamer and Scout curled up in the same bed or the same basket, grooming each other or playing like kittens even though they’re both getting old. It’s cute to have animals that love each other like those two seem to.
I doubt Ace will ever allow Remy to curl up beside him. And Remy knows better than to try!
We’ve fostered about 15 dogs over the years, and Ace was never “best buds” with any of them, at least not until after they were adopted and we saw them in other environments, like walks.
Some dogs don’t need other dogs as playmates.
Some dogs do not particularly care to interact or engage with other dogs, at least not in an enthusiastic way.
For some dogs, simply lying calmly in the same room is their version of “affection.”
Ace has a few dog friends he gets excited to spend time with (some of you know who I’m talking about!), but those dogs are rare and those dogs are extra special. They are the dogs Ace associates with hikes, walks and probably their owners! And these are dogs that respect Ace’s space, asking for nothing more than to go for a walk.
Ace doesn’t cuddle up to any of his dog friends. Ace doesn’t even cuddle up to ME!
There’s little chance that Remy will ever win Ace over in that way. At best, I can hopefully get them to run and play together outside. (This hasn’t happened yet.)
But I did not get a puppy to be Ace’s playmate. Ace has never needed a playmate.
I got a puppy to be my running, hiking and agility dog. Remy is already doing a great job. (If you’re thinking of getting a second dog, make sure it’s really for YOU and not your other dog.)
And … if you have two dogs, they may or may not be best friends. Don’t push it or count on it.
People will probably tell you your dogs will be “best friends” in no time, but that’s not always the case.
Hopefully, they’ll at least get along. That’s all I ask of my two, and even that’s a stretch for some dogs.
Dogs are individuals, and the main thing is we each understand our own dogs and keep our expectations realistic.
How about you?