Sunday, March 9, 2014

Adding to the Pack - Introductions

Who should you bring with you to meet a potential new family member? In a word, everyone!

It’s very important to bring any dogs you have with you to meet a new dog. That way everyone can meet on neutral territory. And you will get a good idea if things are going to work out or not.
I don’t expect dogs to be best friends the minute they meet, but I would like to see some potential there. That being said I think it’s a good idea to be prepared to walk away if things just don’t work out. Like us not all dogs get along and they shouldn’t be forced to. In the end you have to trust your instincts.
The very first time the dogs meet, it’s a good idea to just start walking them in the same direction instead of having them meet face to face. Doing this provides them with the feeling of belonging to a pack. You can allow them to sniff each other and walk at the same time. 
If the shelter permits, let the dogs off leash. Often we hold the leashes with tension and that can influence the dog’s behavior toward each other. You want to encourage the first meeting to go well and the way you feel about it can help or hurt.
To recap:

  • Bring all your dogs to meet your new potential adoptee
  • Walk in the same direction first to create a pack mentality
  • Encourage the dogs by using a light happy tone
  • Allow the dogs to interact off-leash
  • Observe the dogs body language
  • Use your knowledge and trust your instincts
  • Have a separate area in your car for the new dog

Effie Meets Judique and Bear
When we brought our two dogs to meet our new potential dog, we did all of the above. As we walked together, Effie sniffed Bear gently and growled at Judique. Not the start I was hoping for. We continued walking for awhile and then let the dogs sniff each other more. Effie’s butt was presented to each of my dogs and then we walked back towards the outdoor dog run. We had to let them interact off leash. We took our dogs off leash first and then Effie. It was very different for her and Judique off leash. They started playing almost instantly running around at top speeds. Bear interacted a little but sniffed around by himself and the girls let him be and played. That was exactly what we were looking for. We stayed outside for quite awhile watching them. I was very surprised that all the other dogs outside in their runs were not distracting them.  Both feeling good about the meeting, we decided to adopt Effie. We took our dogs back to our car to proceed to the adoption process. We made sure to have a separate area for Effie to sit. We had put a crate in the back of car for her to sit and the other two dogs were in the open space. Judique was not happy to have Effie in the car at first but eventually they all calmed down for the ride home.
And so our adventure began.

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