When getting a new dog to add to the family teaching tolerance is a huge part of the transition going as smooth as possible. This has never been a strong suit for Luna when it comes to other dogs. Wyatt has been an integral part of making our Vizsla girl more tolerant…
I think it’s safe to say tolerating her new brother Wyatt is a lesson well learned. How did we get there???
Believe it or not, in the beginning play sessions like the one above were rare for these two. Luna was hesitant to let her guard down with this mouthy sharp toothed (rather forward) puppy. She has never been asked to share her home with another dog this young. We have cared for several of her friends but they were older, and more respectful of her, so this whole puppy thing was new. For at least the first 6 months we were very adamant about doing one on one play with each of them. When we did let them together to interact it was strictly supervised and only was for about 10 minutes. Wyatt had his separate puppy pen to play in so they both could hang out near each other with no pressure to interact. We did take them on frequent walks together since outdoors Luna was less touchy about him. She would just do her thing, hunting for critters and she was content to let him tag along. I think all of this was important in letting each feel a part of the family, and it allowed for a smooth integration of the two.
Giving appropriate corrections to the puppy was a hard lesson for Luna to learn. If we felt her correction was too strong for whatever misdemeanor Wyatt did we corrected her, and sometimes it had to be pretty serious. But she got the message after a couple times, and began to warn him more and simply snap (not the former snap, pin, freak puppy out) at him and then pause to see if he was going to continue with his antics. We wanted the puppy to feel safe in our home too and with her, so we made sure to integrate him back next to her even after they had just had an incident. And we did not move on until both were calm and relaxed. And because of all the work we did in the beginning with them separate and together we have two dogs that are content by themselves, but who are also responsive to us. I find that if you let dogs interact, hang out, play too much in the early stages of the relationship they can quickly become what we call “dog’s dogs.” Basically this means they much rather blow you off for the pack, and they are not all that into the humans.
And now they have play sessions like this… I hardly ever hear Luna have to correct wyatt, and usually she recognizes it was an accidental grab by him and will do a simple vocalization. We can give a chew/bone to each and they do not fight over them at all. One will wait till the other leaves, and if they want to keep playing the swap game we step in and reassign and they usually mind their own business then. And Luna has become very tolerant of Wyatt stepping, sitting, laying on her (especially in the car, though I have begun to tell him to get off so it does not push her to a limit). They do not seek each other to sleep near, and don’t know if they ever will. But I don’t require that of them either, I am okay having two dogs who are independent enough to not need each other. In fact I probably prefer it. I will occasionally find them laying near each other but I think it’s mostly on accident.
How do you integrate new members into your families?
PS. pardon the video quality of these, some were shot with phones, and old ones at that.
Loved the video of the bite fight, (second video). Thunder and Storm used to do that, but less and less as they got older. The 2 brown dawgs got along almost from the start, but we had to limit their play due to the big difference in size. As for toys and beds, whoever gets there first can claim a toy or a dog bed and the other usually respects that. Once in a great while there may be a little growl if Storm (usually its her), tries to steal a toy that Thunder is playing with. But more often than not he will just let her have it.
That first video is hilarious! Wyatt doesn’t look particularly comfortable but he also doesn’t look all that UNcomfortable. It’s almost like he’s saying “what’s so funny? This is where I always sit”.
You’ve made some excellent points about integration. When we get a second dog eventually, there is going to be a lot to think about and a lot of work to do. A lot of it will come down to picking the right dog but when issues come up, as they will, I know our reaction and solution will be vital for the future peace. I dream of one day Shiva having a friend she enjoys playing tug with, just like Luna and Wyatt. I realize now it may take some work but will definitely be worthwhile. Congratulations to you on all your success!
Thanks! I love that he allowed me to capture that video. His butt is in her face quite a bit in the car as he steals the window, as well as feet on the belly/head/back. The puppy stage was the hardest, but mostly for Luna as she has never had to share. But she has become a much more tolerant dog because of him. But you are right, it’s all about finding the right dog. By already having a dog, you really do have to consider what dog would fit best with THEM not the other way around. Most people don’t do their research and throw their first dog into a very difficult situation. Gets even harder when one significant other comes into the relationship with a personal dog, and the other person has to find a dog that fits with their dog, this can limit things for them which can be hard. We dealt with that. You probably know tons of breeds, but don’t hesitate to ask any questions when you all get closer to wanting to add. I have worked with lots of different types of dogs, and honestly breed matching is sort of a passion of mine.
This is a very interesting post, Anna. I’ve never been in the position of having to integrate a new dog (or child) into the family, so I can’t comment on that. But we’ve often considered adopting a second dog, only to back out of it at the last minute. Having found the perfect balance in our family, we’ve always been afraid that we might spoil it by bringing in another dog. We guessed that it would involve a lot of work and there could be a series of problems that could arise and we’d have to solve, especially if the new dog and George were to dislike each other. In light of this, I find your post very informative, and if we were to decide to bite the bullet, I feel better equipped. Thank you.
Glad you enjoyed the post. I may write more about this after the comments I received on it. Sounds like an area where more depth would be appreciated. It can indeed be a nightmare or a joy, depending on what dog you bring home to your already existing pack. I need to write more informative posts, but it’s hard to think of topics. A Nail trimming post might be in the works though
The videos are great—I enjoyed watching Luna and Wyatt in action because now I feel like I have a whole new perspective on the four-leggers that I’ve come to know through your blogs. I can really see Luna’s and Wyatt’s personalities shine through! Wyatt cracks me up and Luna is admirable as the big sis who has come to tolerate Wyatt’s antics.
The tug of war video is especially fun to watch, and it made me think if Maple would like to have a four-legged playmate. Well, yes, I think she would, but it’s a consideration we’ll be making further down the road… when we have more living space… because our little cozy apartment is already feeling too cozy for comfort!
Seeing Wyatt sit on Luna’s back as if he sits like that on a normal basis is hilarious.
Hi, Anna, it’s me again. I just wanted to let you know that George and I have awarded you the Versatile Blogger Award. You can pick it up at our blog! 🙂
those videos were so freakin cute. thanks for making my day after a hard weekend. we take similar steps to what you are describing with our fosters — introducing very slowly, not allowing play at first, and monitoring very closely to make sure that everybody acts appropriately. so far it has been working great. thanks for letting us in some more on your world of dog-dog socialization!
Glad you enjoyed the videos… I really should try and get them together more often (videos that is). I figured you took some of the same steps, you have alluded to some of them before. Sounds like things have been working out introduction wise. Glad I could brighten your day :-).
Thanks for posting the videos. Really interesting to watch the behavior between the 2 dogs.
you’re welcome, thanks for stopping by. It’s always nice to see dogs live IMO