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Dog Depression/Old Age? Issues with new dog?

December 27th, 2010, 07:30 AM
Hello everyone!

I've had a beautiful Labrador/Dane mix (named Violet) for a while now and she has always been relatively active and alert and engaged. She was a very light sleeper and would jump up at the lightest sound to go investigate. If we called her name, she would immediately perk up and respond by either barking or running to us.

In August we got another dog, a Lhasa Apso/Mini Poodle mix (named Mozart). He is still very young (6 months) but he already has a very developed personality. He's stubborn and curious and very eager to please. When we first got him, she was very protective of him, trying to grab him by the neck whenever we picked him off the ground and growling at us (never him), but doesn't do so anymore. He gets along pretty well with Violet. He is always following her around and looking for her when she leaves the room. He used to bite her (by grabbing hold of her skin and tugging) when we first got him, but that stopped soon enough.

We have tried very hard to make her feel confident and not threatened by the puppy. Lately though, she is very inactive. She just sleeps until she's hungry, and will come see us for food but is generally not very engaged otherwise. If we call her, she'll look over with her eyes but not make much of an effort to come over. When we do let her out into the backyard, she has no problem running around. The only other time she is really that engaged is if Mozart is in the back barking and she's inside the house. She'll run right out, check and bring him inside if nothing's wrong.

It's just the sudden drop in energy and alertness that has us worried. She never looks happy anymore, just passive and tired. Is she just getting old (she's seven now) or could this have anything to do with the new puppy? I know this is a silly question but how much longer can we expect her to live, considering she's half Great Dane? Is there anything you can suggest to make her happy again?

Thank you for your time, and any recommendations! It's honestly very appreciated :)

Here they are, for good measure!

December 27th, 2010, 10:56 AM
Have you taken her to the vet for a check-up?

December 27th, 2010, 01:01 PM
She was there about a month ago, and the vet was surprised with how healthy she was despite her weight and age :) I'll be sure to make another appointment for the near future though, and bring up my concerns!

Thank you for the input!

December 27th, 2010, 03:47 PM
being half dane, which are not known for living very long it is definitely in best interested to have a more through vet exam, such as blood work done since you w\have noticed a definite change in personality.

Is it possible that now since you have the second dog she has put herself into retirement as the protector of the house? You said the new puppy has a definite personality, do you think that he is more in charge and she is at a age where she is just happy to have him rule the roost?

December 27th, 2010, 06:26 PM
Any time there's such a big change in behavior, especially an increase in lethargy, it's a good idea to have the vet take a look. A lot can happen in a month, especially in an older dog. A geriatric blood panel would be a good place to start--and I'm sure your vet will have other things to suggest.

As for lifespan--it's so hard to predict. We've had labs and springers live to 15 and setters die as early as 3! :( So even being half dane wouldn't necessarily mean she's at the end of her time. The numbers you see for average life span are just that--averages.

I hope your girl has many more years with you! :goodvibes: :D

December 27th, 2010, 06:33 PM
I agree .....any time there is behaviour changes and lethargy bloodwork should definitely be done to check for any health concerns.

Good luck and keep us posted. :fingerscr :goodvibes:

December 27th, 2010, 11:49 PM
Is it possible that now since you have the second dog she has put herself into retirement as the protector of the house? You said the new puppy has a definite personality, do you think that he is more in charge and she is at a age where she is just happy to have him rule the roost?

We see that happen here with our ACDs, Cell. One female was the guard until we had a male mature, then she sat back and was everybodies friend, sometimes almost acting apologetic about his protective attitude. :D When we sadly lost him , she took over again until our next male was ready to guard. When my alpha sheltie had to be sent to the Bridge, her sweet little daughter became a tyrant, not just a guard but keeper of the Rule book for all the other shelties. Mirtilo, I hope there is nothing wrong with Violet and that she has just decided she can take life easy now that Mozart is with you.

December 28th, 2010, 02:06 AM
Appointment with the vet: booked! :)

You guys have no idea how nice it is to hear legitimate cases of this "retirement pattern". I did wonder if she was just relinquishing her title as the "dog in charge", but I figured that might be silly and just me reading too much into things. If this is something that other people have observed with their own pets, I'm very glad to hear it! She definitely does the apologetic behavior, if he's in the front seat of the car and barking at passerby, she'll duck her head and move to the back, haha.

Thanks, cell, hazelrunpack, rainbow and Goldfields! Every comment is highly helpful in a situation like this :)

December 28th, 2010, 11:16 AM
When it happens gradually, I call it "gaining dignity."

However, when it happens fairly suddenly it is reason for concern. I would be looking for signs of a pain response. When a dog suddenly gets a painful condition or injury it will often develop ways of dealing with it that are similar to what is being described. An active dog will become withdrawn and slow down. A totally friendly happy dog may even start threatening his handler when he approaches and move away to be alone.

December 29th, 2010, 05:57 PM
Keep us updated on how the vet visit goes, mirtilo, pls? :goodvibes:

December 31st, 2010, 12:10 AM
Be sure you get a copy of the bloodwork, and also that it includes a thyroid check.

Can you feel her ribs with the palm of your hand?

December 31st, 2010, 05:56 PM
Geezer, she definitely slowed down, but I have seen absolutely no signs of aggression or defensive behavior. I'm hoping it is the "gaining dignity" situation but I'll let you all know when the results come back to me :)

MaxaLisa, I'll definitely make a point of mentioning the thyroid. Also, I can feel her ribs with the palm of my hand! Thanks for the advice everyone :grouphug:

December 31st, 2010, 06:21 PM
Sending lots of good wishes for Violet's vet appt. :goodvibes:

When do you have it booked, mirtilo? :)

December 31st, 2010, 06:39 PM
Thanks, rainbow! The appointment's set for January 3rd :)