Introducing a new puppy to a reactive dog

29 Dec

If you read about Whiskey, you will see the struggles we had with him since he came to us. He is our “project dog,” but we love him. He was fine living with our Golden Retriever, Ares, who was already here when Whiskey arrived. Ares passed away in April and by Christmas, we thought we would like another dog in the house. But, would it work? Could we get Whiskey to accept another dog when he is so afraid of and reactive to dogs? Well, we went into this knowing the worst case scenario is that we have to rehome to newcomer but we are going to try our best to get over this hurdle, we have gotten over so many others with this dog! Our new puppy, Mochi, a Samoyed, came to us at 4 months of age. She has been with us 3.5 weeks. Our planned introduction is SLOW SLOW SLOW.

1. First week: we didn’t do too much, just let them out at different times in the house and crated the other, they got used to the smells, etc.
2. Second week: we started counterconditioning (did some in week 1 too), click and treat both dogs when they see each other. At first, Whiskey was very weary and would give Mochi the Border Collie eye and look like he wanted to eat her. At one time, when switching dogs, he got close to her and would have nipped, had I not pulled him away.
3. Third week: Had more time so we did BAT training with him, walk near, click and treat, and walk away. We have them on either side of a gate, focused on getting treats from me but could easily see each other.
4. Fourth week: We moved to a couple new things this week, play is very motivating for Whiskey, so we had him chasing a ball in the house with Mochi on leash nearby and both could see each other. We then moved it outside, Mochi was just tied to a tree (with a long line) and Whiskey was on leash, playing ball. We then even went to taking Whiskey off leash, but he had the ball to distract him and he ignored her (even though he was free to charge her if wanted). We had an ecollar on as a backup but never needed it. We followed that with him and her together outside near each other (on leash) and just being relaxed. We will keep trying to get a little closer as we hope to convince him that she is not going to hurt him.

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