There is so much stuff in this question that it's going to take a bit to answer.
1) You say your 8-yr-old dog's been to the vet only twice, once because of a traumatic injury with a fish tank. He should've gone to the vet every year, for a checkup and vaccinations. Hopefully, your parents took him for his yearlies, and you just weren't aware...?
2) You don't need a "Guard Dog" regardless of where you live. Our 11-year-old Brittany, who's a sweetie-pie to everyone we let in our house, puts up a vicious-sounding, violent-looking, barking at someone who's on our property...Just last week, I had a guy here to check our A/C unit, and had put our sweet old Britt in the backyard. When she trotted around to the side of the house where she could see the guy monkeying with our A/C unit, she started a nasty, vicious barking that almost scared ME.
3) NEVER EVER EVER EVER feed a dog (or allow someone else to feed it) chocolate!!! It's TOXIC, and in big enough quantities (smaller than you might think), it could KILL your dog!
4) Chances are good that your dog and the pup could get along ok, if you're careful with the introduction, but please have some compassion for your older dog -- He will get very weary of the pup's desire to constantly play. You'd need to make sure that the pup gets enough exercise and training so that it's not trying to bother your older dog for attention and play.
5) Never disregard your older dog in favor of the pup. If you're petting the older dog, and the pup barges in for attention, ignore the pup as you continue petting your older dog.
6) On the other hand, don't let your older dog rule how you interact with the pup. If you're training or petting the pup, and the older dog barges in, don't give in to the older dog's advances, and just continue focusing on the pup.
There's a lot more to know than anyone can impart in this forum, so I'd suggest some reading: "The Other End of the Leash" or "How To Be The Leader Of the Pack", both by Dr. Patricia McConnell.
Good luck & best wishes.
20+ years dog owner/trainer
· 1 decade ago