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Old 12-10-2012, 11:53 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Introducing a new dog

Hi!

My friend recently adopted a 9yo male Doberman (neutered). We'd like to introduce him to my 1.5yo male GSD (intact).

Neither dog has demonstrated SSA or any kind of aggression. They're pretty friendly guys. We're hoping to be able to take them jogging together on leash, and perhaps play off leash in our large yard. It would be convenient for us humans if the two dogs got along, because we do dog-sit for each other occasionally, etc. If it doesn't work, we won't try to force it.

The Dobe is blind in one eye and not as rambunctious as he once was. In the interest of safety and dog behaviour, is there a good or best way to introduce 2 large dogs for the first time(s)? What body language should I be looking for, what are red flags? Is growling normal or worrisome? I'm still living in the land of the small dogs, where we never paid attention to the dogs' body language and just picked them up if there was a problem...

Now with my big guy I'm motivated to learn better and do better by him. Thanks in advance
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Old 12-10-2012, 12:03 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Introduce on neutral ground. Leash both dogs and take them for a low stress walk. Keep them moving and let them get used to each other on neutral ground like the park. Repeat for several occasions. Give them casual introductions.

Signals to watch out for: body stiffness, lips curling up, low deep snarl or growl, ears going back, dog getting lower on the ground like stalking, tail stiff and held straight out, hackles and hair standing, eyes glassing over (they will appear to have a sheen), dog looking sideways and holding the head stiff...those are all signs that indicate trouble in the right context.

Based on the initial introductions, continue to take it further. Introduce off leash on neutral ground as well. Always keep them contained and be able to manage the situation. Don't give toys or food when two strange dogs are around. Watch out for guarding or defensive behaviors.

My biggest question is why do you want to introduce them? The dobie is 9 and you do not know his background or what he has experienced. Now is not a good time for a newly adopted dog to be exposed to multiple new scenarios. Also - I do not think GSDs need to be friends with dogs outside their home. I am not a big fan of doggie play dates, dog parks or these type of situations. More trouble than they are worth.
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Old 12-10-2012, 01:23 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Since I live in a world full of dogs and want to take my dog out in that world... I would also want to try to see how my dog did with other dog. Hate to have to always leave them at home and isolated if I didn't have to.

Meet in a neutral place with dogs on leash. Hopefully you KNOW your dog won't be the issue from past training and socialization.

Best to walk in the same direction with dogs on the outside and people on the inside.

Have you purchased and viewed this DVD
Amazon.com: Calming Signals: What Your Dog Tells You: Turid Rugaas: Movies & TV Amazon.com: Calming Signals: What Your Dog Tells You: Turid Rugaas: Movies & TV

Great help for dogs meeting

:-)
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