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I adopted my current dog, Kaylee, from a rescue in July of 2011. She is an Aussie mix and my absolute heart dog. My husband calls her my Siamese twin and it's true...she is a total velcro dog. She has excellent manners after MUCH training together with me...it took me several months to housebreak her, leash train her and command train her. She is pretty much the perfect dog at this point, and I must say I have totally fallen in love with Aussies during this time. The one thing that Kaylee has not been able to get past is her timid nature around strangers. I take her everywhere with me and she has gotten slightly better but she still walks around with her tail down and hides behind me when approached by a stranger. She is not aggressive at all, she has never even growled let alone bitten someone, but she is just very timid. This has been a disappointment for me because I always dreamed of training a dog to be a therapy dog and work with me at our local children's hospital. I don't think that's possible with Kaylee because she is so timid due to prior abuse and neglect. If only she could be the way she is with me with EVERYONE...but I don't know if we will ever get to that point.

Thus, I have considered adding a second dog to our family. I am not totally sold on the idea yet, however. First of all, my main concern is that Kaylee gets 100% of my attention right now and I am worried that she would become depressed & might regress with another dog around. However, she does well with other dogs and shows exuberance and playfulness when she sees dogs on our daily walks. Who knows, they could become best friends...but it is still a concern for me that she would become jealous! I know that might sound ridiculous, but she means the world to me and I feel guilty about the possibility of disrupting our happy home!

I am also worried about how often a puppy would need to go outside to do its business. Currently I have Kaylee on a schedule...she goes out at 6am, 12pm, 3pm, 6pm and 9pm. 6am, 3pm and 6pm are all half-hour walks and the other times she is let out in the back yard with supervision. I have heard of puppies needing to go out every half hour in some cases...it's been awhile since I had a puppy and my last puppy basically house-trained himself because he followed what my older dog did. Maybe that could happen again? Of course, I know I can't count on it. I have considered adopting another adult dog but I am worried that the dog won't be as trainable (as Kaylee had that problem) and I am also worried that Kaylee wouldn't be nearly as accepting of an older dog. I guess I want a dog from a puppy to "mold" it with training but I know that every dog has its own personality and perhaps I could find an older dog who would fit what I am looking for...

I'm not really sure what advice I am looking for. Maybe just prior experiences from other members in regards to adding a second dog to the family. As I said I am not at all "sold" on this idea and I need to really give it a lot of consideration. Finances and time are not a concern at all for me...just logistics of the happy balance I have created in my home. I have signed Kaylee & I up for another obedience class and I am still hoping she can come out of her shell, but I don't know if that will ever happen to the extent it will be necessary for in regards to becoming a therapy or service dog.

Thanks in advance for any responses!
 

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Talk to some rescues about dogs they have in foster and maybe consider a foster-to-adopt placement?

I actually think an adult dog might be easier on both your and Kaylee than a puppy. For one, puppies are annoying. If she's a shy, quiet dog then a puppy might drive her nuts. A puppy would also take a lot more time away from Kaylee. If you got a semi-trained or even fully trained young adult dog, you could jump right into walking them together and doing other activities with both dogs. Assuring a good match would be the key- doing several meetings, a trial weekend or even a longer foster period could let you assess how the dogs do together. With a puppy, their personalities can change as they grow up and you don't know how Kaylee would treat another dog after he looses his "puppy license"

A similar sized, male dog with at least basic training and a good personality is what I would be asking rescues about. Young adult, 2-3 years old. Obviously say you're looking to do therapy dog work. Might see if any rescues have dogs that already have their CGC.

I understand what you mean about the divided attention and feeling guilty. I still can't decide if Chester actually enjoys having a foster friend around or if he just puts up with it. He seems to really like to have someone to play with and go on walks with but then he seems a little down about not being the center of attention.
 

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Shell beat me too it, agree with all she said. For finding out how your dog will adjust to having a second dog around fostering is great. And if your dog doesn't do well or like it at all it's not permanent, depending on how bad it is you can do anything from sticking it out until they are adopted, another foster can be found, or returning to the shelter/rescue. If they do well together but the foster might not be good as a therapy dog then you'll know a second dog can work out, just not this one and once they get adopted try again with another dog. Always with the option in the back of your mind to adopt the one that fits all you want.
 

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I third an adult dog. Adults are usually easier to train once you get past the initial settling in period because adults have longer attention spans and more experience with humans. My rescue will make a fabulous therapy dog once we master leave it, and many, many therapy dogs are adult rescues.

I strongly cautio you against a puppy since you're getting the dog specifically to be a therapy dog. You can't "mold" a dog past it's genetically set temperament, so you could well discover, 2 years from now, that the new dog is unfit for therapy work as well.

Just tell the rescue what you want the dog for. A good rescue should be able to find you a dog suited for therapy work.
 

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All the above ... I was also thinking adult rescue. Maybe in time with the proper introductions to a new dog ... and with time ... Kaylee may come out of her shell some. That would be great. The new dog could possibly help her IMHO. I have seen my rescues become close to my current dogs and even learn some things from watching them. :)
 

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So, I go against the crowd, suggesting why rock the boat when you have a great thing going.

Although therapy dog training has to do with personality, it also includes socialization, so I think it might be useful to work on socialization exercises with Kaylee. It's a little harder with an adult than a pup, but it is possible. Look up positive exercises for fearful and aggressive dogs, and tone them down if appropriate.

For example:
1. Have a friend come over with a lot of treats.
2. Have the friend sit away from Kaylee and toss a treat over her head. Repeat three or four times.
3. Then toss the treat in front of Kaylee. Repeat three or four times.
4. Then, hold a treat in your hand, and ignore Kaylee... to see if she'll approach. Repeat for two or three days.
5. After two or three days, ask the friend to come over, and sit in the chair and wait. Kaylee may come over to nuzzle... and to get a treat.

If this works, repeat with many other people, so that she learns that when she interacts with people, good things happen...
 

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Talk to some rescues about dogs they have in foster and maybe consider a foster-to-adopt placement?

I actually think an adult dog might be easier on both your and Kaylee than a puppy. For one, puppies are annoying. If she's a shy, quiet dog then a puppy might drive her nuts. A puppy would also take a lot more time away from Kaylee. If you got a semi-trained or even fully trained young adult dog, you could jump right into walking them together and doing other activities with both dogs. Assuring a good match would be the key- doing several meetings, a trial weekend or even a longer foster period could let you assess how the dogs do together. With a puppy, their personalities can change as they grow up and you don't know how Kaylee would treat another dog after he looses his "puppy license"

A similar sized, male dog with at least basic training and a good personality is what I would be asking rescues about. Young adult, 2-3 years old. Obviously say you're looking to do therapy dog work. Might see if any rescues have dogs that already have their CGC.

I understand what you mean about the divided attention and feeling guilty. I still can't decide if Chester actually enjoys having a foster friend around or if he just puts up with it. He seems to really like to have someone to play with and go on walks with but then he seems a little down about not being the center of attention.
I agree with this. Ive only had puppies and I know IF we ever get another dog, it will be an adult dog. No more puppies here :)

So, I go against the crowd, suggesting why rock the boat when you have a great thing going.

Although therapy dog training has to do with personality, it also includes socialization, so I think it might be useful to work on socialization exercises with Kaylee. It's a little harder with an adult than a pup, but it is possible. Look up positive exercises for fearful and aggressive dogs, and tone them down if appropriate.

For example:
1. Have a friend come over with a lot of treats.
2. Have the friend sit away from Kaylee and toss a treat over her head. Repeat three or four times.
3. Then toss the treat in front of Kaylee. Repeat three or four times.
4. Then, hold a treat in your hand, and ignore Kaylee... to see if she'll approach. Repeat for two or three days.
5. After two or three days, ask the friend to come over, and sit in the chair and wait. Kaylee may come over to nuzzle... and to get a treat.

If this works, repeat with many other people, so that she learns that when she interacts with people, good things happen...
Good Idea!
 

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Thank you so much for the responses! I have decided to wait on a second dog. I am so happy with Kaylee...she is really a dream dog for me. Yesterday my mom & brother came over and she gave my brother a kiss! I was shocked. She was much more receptive to people coming into her space. I'm not giving up on her becoming a therapy dog quite yet.
 

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Some places have training for therapy dogs that starts with the Canine Good Citizen (CGC)... even if you decide not to do therapy for some reason, the training is useful.
 

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Thank you so much for the responses! I have decided to wait on a second dog. I am so happy with Kaylee...she is really a dream dog for me. Yesterday my mom & brother came over and she gave my brother a kiss! I was shocked. She was much more receptive to people coming into her space. I'm not giving up on her becoming a therapy dog quite yet.
Yay! I was kinda hoping for an agility dog this time around, but that's just not Kabota. He's still a great dog, though.
 

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There is a CGC class coming up but I'm worried she wouldn't be ready for that...is it a pass/fail class?
Yes and no. The CGC class is a basic obedience class that will build up solid "life skills" behaviors and give you a training setting around other dogs and people. At the end of the class is a test of about 10 basic "good citizen" behaviors- sit on command, stay on command at 20 feet, come when called, walk nicely past another dog and person, walk around/by people in a crowd like as if you were out in a public park, let you greet another person without acting up and let a stranger pet her without jumping on them or nipping (licking and wiggling are ok).

If you don't pass the test by one item, I believe you can typically re-try that one thing again at the end of the test. If you have trouble with more items, then you don't get your passing grade for a certificate but you've probably learned a lot, made good progress and know what you need to work on.

The actual class is the real benefit for training- being around other people, being around other dogs and teaching her the focus she needs to not be overwhelmed by all that.
 
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