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Socializing adopted dog/ introducing adopted dog to current dog

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Leo

Only thing- better than- friends is food.
 
 
Barked: Thu Jun 28, '12 11:50pm PST 
I'm in the process of adopting a small dog, but I'm told he's shy around new dog until he gets to know them. He can act agressive towards them. Leo, my Golden Retreiver, is just over two and stil as playful as ever. Whenever he meets a new dog all he wants to do is play. (Unless he's nervous too.) He can be quite annoying to other dogs somtimes.
The dog I might be adopting is also male, but he's not neutered like Leo is. (He will be though, if/when I get him, I'll be doing that right away.) He's about 1 1/2 years old, and hasn't been socialized properly to other dogs. He was bought as a present and then ignored ever since.
So the house training, and other training, I've done plenty of, but I've never socialized a dog who wasn't a puppy before.
So, does anyone have any advice on how to introduce the two when they first meet, or on how to socialize the new dog so he's not nervous/aggressive to dogs he meets?
I've been researching this online, but I'd really love to hear some opinions on my specific situation. Thanks everyone. smile

Edited by author Fri Jun 29, '12 9:48am PST

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Kagra

Lover girl
 
 
Barked: Fri Jun 29, '12 12:57am PST 
I have found the best way to introduce two dogs (especially if one is nervous and can be aggressive) is to take a walk in a neutral area. Have someone from the rescue walk the new dog and you walk Leo, the people should be in between the dogs (new dog, rescue person, you, Leo), don't let the dogs run up to each other, walk them and let them relax. When you think Leo has calmed down and the new dog is more comfortable, I like to switch dogs..I walk the new dog and the rescue person walks my dog, then we let them meet with me handling the new dog...I have found the if I have the leash of my own dog and the rescue acts nervous or aggressive, my dog will try and protect me instead of ignoring the new dog like they do when I don't have the leash.
Make sure that no one is tense and while walking them together, pay attention to the dogs body language...this will give you a baseline of knowing what the new dog looks like when calm so hopefully you can catch any changes in body language before any issues that could happen (fight or something) get serious.
I have introduced many rescues to my own dogs (either keepers or fosters) and its not always easy...Kagra was not very happy being in a pack at first but as long as they dont immediately try to kill each other, most issues can be corrected. If they are okay on neutral territory, then I repeat the same process in my neighborhood (walk around the block then introduce in the house).
Letting them run up to each other and get in each others face is the biggest mistake most people make, it can be very intimidating to some dogs and based on what you have told us about the little rescue, it will be scared if Leo runs up to its face and will probably snap or act aggressively.

This is my process but I know everybody has a different way to introduce two dogs, it will be interesting to see other peoples approaches.
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Kodiak

The cheese ninja
 
 
Barked: Fri Jun 29, '12 8:21am PST 
I agree that a walk is a good start, and that a proper introduction can go a long way toward a good relationship. I want to throw in a word of caution, though. Are you able to slow down this process? Dog reactivity can run the gamut. He may realize that your dog is non-aggressive, find that he loves having a big guy watching out for him, and settle in perfectly to his new life after a little while. Or, you may find that his reactivity is on a level that requires thousands of dollars in behaviorist sessions, can be managed but never really goes away, makes it impossible to ever leave the dogs alone together, even just in another room, and severely limits what activities you are able to do. I think it's worthwhile to think about what you're willing to live with, before you get attached to the dog. I'd want to have them interact several times before you consider bringing the other dog home, especially considering he's an intact male. If there seems to be an instant and intense dislike in spite of a slow introduction, I'd think twice.

I've definitely seen dopey puppy behavior that can seem aggressive, or borderline aggressive. Kodiak charges forward nose to nose oftentimes. It's usually followed by kisses, playbowing, or rolling over, which give the dog a clue that he's friendly, but sometimes he jumps on them before doing any of that stuff, which is threatening to a nervous or reactive dog. Some dogs take is as play, but many don't. So, I would recommend trying to have them get used to each other's presence without heavy interaction. Take them to a neutral fenced area and do obedience sessions on opposite ends. If neither resource guards or owner guards, you can get progressively closer, and finally have them get petted together, chase a ball together, etc. But you want to distract them with a command, food, the ball, etc, if they begin to focus on each other. The slower you can take it, the better. If the dog is being fostered nearby, maybe you can have them stop by for a brief visit in the yard, then a brief visit where they enter the house, etc.
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Leo

Only thing- better than- friends is food.
 
 
Barked: Fri Jun 29, '12 9:50am PST 
The dog lives fairly far away, and his owner is moving soon. (Not sure how soon yet.) So while I'd love to introduce them slowly and have a bunch of play dates with them, it won't work out like that. I might be able to go see him once of twice before bringing him home, if I decide to, so that Leo and and the new dog can see each other at least two or three times before having them live together. I'm also not adopting the dog from a rescue, he's still with the people who didn't give him any attention.

I'll definitely be taking them for a walk before letting them meet face to face. You guys have some really good advice, thank-you.

I also frgot to mention that he currently lives with a cocker spaniel, who he loves He plays with the spaniel all the time, so I'm thinking once he and Leo get used to each other, they'll have lots of fun too. Hopefully.

Edited by author Fri Jun 29, '12 9:59am PST

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Toby

137592
 
 
Barked: Fri Jun 29, '12 11:08am PST 
Walking them on neutral territory has always been my method, whether fosters or new adoptees. I would add to that to make sure the Leo is tired out before you do the intro. Whatever your methods of exercising are I would make sure that Leo is well worn out and not amped up with energy when he meets the new dog.

Now of course seeing anew dog will amp him up anyway but exercise might help ensure that it is not over the top. Leo's enthusiasm to a little dog who is under socialized will most likely appear scary, especially if you say that he tends to pester dogs. Does he continue to pester other dogs when they give him signs to stop?
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Leo

Only thing- better than- friends is food.
 
 
Barked: Fri Jun 29, '12 5:59pm PST 
If a dog growls or snaps at him, Leo will back away, but only for a moment or two. If a dog ignores him for a while he`ll get really frustrated and then start pouncing (not on the dog, but very close) and barking.
Also, if another dog act submissive to Leo he`ll pretend to be dominent/aggresive, although if any dog actually challenges him he'll just do his puppy thing and not try for dominence at all.
So, all in all, he's a very annoying dog. I love him, and he's usually a bit calmer with people, but with dogs, even friendly playful guys can/will get annoyed by him.

Edited by author Fri Jun 29, '12 6:00pm PST

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Toby

137592
 
 
Barked: Fri Jun 29, '12 7:17pm PST 
Well, you're right, Leo sounds like a real pest. laugh out loud

Can I ask what are you hoping for out of the meet and greet? I mean, it sounds like the only way it will work is if this under socialized small dog wants to play with Leo, right? If the small dogs tries to ignore Leo, Leo won't let that happen. If the small tries to be submissive then Leo will be dominant. So what exactly would be the ideal situation for you?

Has Leo played with small dogs before? And I guess I would also ask what his play style is?

In any case, I recommend being very careful during this introduction because Leo is a lot bigger and could hurt a small dog very easily, even if he isn't doing it intentionally.
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Leo

Only thing- better than- friends is food.
 
 
Barked: Fri Jun 29, '12 8:48pm PST 
The dream would be that the dog sees Leo, automatically loves, and they're best friends for life. Being a tad more realistic, I'm just hoping they can tolerate each other. Occasionally Leo can have excellant manners, usually with smaller dogs. Sometimes (he always does this to a 5-pound neighbour's dog) he'll get right down to the ground, whine and wiggle, and be very sweet. So he is capable of less annoying greetings.

I'm hoping that the other dog, after the walk and while still in neutral territory, will let Leo say hello without being anxious, and with no biting/snarling. I am prepared to work with the dogs while they get used to each other and become friends, but for that to work, they'd have to both accept one another. For Leo, that means he'd have to be less crazy than normal. For the little dog, he'd have to not be aggressive.

i don't know if that's too much to ask. I know both dogs are capable of it, and have done it before, but the chances that they'll both be on their best behaviour with each other seems kind of slim.

Leo loves playing with small dogs. He's usually quite gentle with them. He's had some nice plays with little dogs. He doesn't try to wrestle with them, just chase and hang out together.

With big dogs, Leo will play fight, chase, and generally goes crazy if they don't want to play with him. With really big dogs, any dog taller than him, he always wants to play but if the dog ever faces him, Leo freaks out. I suppose he wants to chase the big dog, but not have the big dog chase him, or wrestle. So he always has the best manners with small dogs.

I'll take care with them. They're both staying on leash the entire time, and if Leo start to get crazy or if the other dog starts to get anxious or aggressive, we'll give them a break from each other.

In a way, I feel like this has to work. If I don't adopt this dog, and no one else does in the next few weeks, than the owners going to get rid of him. He's moving, and decided he doesn't want this "problem" with him any more. So if the dog doesn't find a home with us, he's either in the kill-shelter, the SPCA, or on the streets. I worry that if I do take him, it might not be because he fits with us, but because I'll feel awful if I don't adopt him. Any of you brilliant people have advice for that, either?
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Kagra

Lover girl
 
 
Barked: Fri Jun 29, '12 10:23pm PST 
I know how you feel, Maggie came to us because the shelter she was at said that she was "too aggressive to ever find a home and she wasn't worth bothering a rescue with" (and yes these are the exact words from her paperwork). I volunteered and fostered at the shelter and they knew that I had doxies so they told me they would let me have her if I wanted the "stupid dog". She was so scared, a year old, and only 6 lbs (her healthy weight is 8 lbs). I felt obligated to take her because I couldn't let her die....I remember when trying to get her out of the cage she was in and she immediately ran to the back (shaking) and when the leash kept coming towards her she tried to bite it and peed...I thought to myself what am I getting into!! Looking back I do not regret a thing! She is such a sweet girl now that she realizes that people are not always mean. It took a lot of time and training but I love her....however if I knew that I could not commit to the extensive training that she needed I don't think that I would have made her happier or improved her life in any way.

I think that you need to evaluate what you can deal with and how much energy and time you are willing to put into correcting behavior issues the dog may come with. Taking the dog and knowing that you are not comfortable and that neither dog is comfortable is not really helping the dog. Yes you will be saving it from a shelter and putting it in a better environment, but a dog that is constantly on edge is not a happy dog no matter how good its surroundings are. Maybe you could see what rescues are around and if you think the dog is a little too much due to aggressiveness toward your dog or another issue you could contact the rescues and foster the dog until a space opens up where a no kill rescue can take it or they find the right person. That way you help the dog but are not left without any options if the dog is not the right fit for your home.
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Kodiak

The cheese ninja
 
 
Barked: Sun Jul 1, '12 3:58pm PST 
I'd call nearby rescues with foster programs and ask them to enroll the dog with the understanding that you'll foster it. If you can, even offer to donate. That way you won't have the emotional fallout if it doesn't work.
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