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Monday, May 5, 2008

How to Introduce a Visiting Dog to Your Pack

Jan,
We have two dogs living with us at this time. There is Taki (an almost 10 year old Akita) and Zoey (a four and a half year old Akita mix). We have no problems between them and they get along well with the four cats. My concern is with the upcoming situation. My father-in-law is coming to stay with us about 2-3 weeks (starting mid-May) to help us remodel the floor covering in the house we just bought. In order for him to stay that long, he is also bringing a 9 month old female Weimaraner. I need a quick refresher on introducing dogs to each other. I am hoping to prevent any negative behavior towards the visiting dog.
Thank you,
Karen

Hi Karen,
Is it possible for Taki and Zoey to meet the puppy in a neutral area? Even if it's the day your father arrives, it would be best to have them meet somewhere besides the house, maybe a mile or two away. Have everyone on drag leashes, but as unrestricted as you can. The puppy will probably flip over and show her belly when your two girls make advances. Let them sniff and posture, and don't interfere unless you have to. The drag leashes are only on them for emergency.

Then WALK the three dogs home to your house--your two on one side, and the puppy on the other. It should be you walking the three, not your father AND you. Be the leader of the walk. Walk with a purpose. Ignore any on-leash antics and just keep walking. The idea is to form a pack mentality, with everyone walking to the same destination: home. When you get home, make sure all 3 dogs "curb" at each gate or door you encounter. The puppy will learn it in a matter of seconds if she doesn't already know it.

I'd remove any high-value (to the dogs) toys like chewies or other edibles...things that could start jealousy fights. Use "down-stay" a lot around the house, with all 3 of them. That will
help you manage and monitor them for little attitudinal things that might be brewing. I would definitely keep the puppy on a drag leash just about all the time
you can supervise her, even in your yard.

Of course take care at mealtime...might be a good idea to feed the puppy in a separate room.
Good luck!
Jan

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