What would you do?

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Postby pitsnok » September 8th, 2010, 3:23 am

So as you guys know we have two 'fosters'... not sure what will happen with them yet, but I'm honestly not too worried about it at this point.

They have been here since Friday, and we have kept them separated from Degan and Harlow the whole time, with the exception of walking all four of them on opposite sides of the street yesterday, and walking Ollie and Harlow together today.
Yesterday we never got close to each other until the end of our walk. I had the two new boys because they are lazy, and don't pull on a leash. Tanner walked with Degan and Harlow. Ollie is hilarious and absolutely shrieked at Degan and Harlow out of excitement, but never stiffened his ears, tail, or fluffed his hair. I think he just gets waaaaay excited about dogs. At the end of our walk, we managed to be almost right next to each other, and none of them really seemed to notice, or care about the others. We felt good about that, and decided to continue with the walks so they have a common goal, and job to work towards.

Today's walk also went well. Harlow is the HBIC here... ("head bitch in charge" for those of you that don't know) and although she wasn't exactly ladylike to Ollie, things went relatively well. Our walk was only about 8 blocks or so--nothing too exciting, but the two of them didn't even have a spat the whole time. They would sort of lick each other, and neither was competing to be in the front. So we sat in the driveway for about 30 minutes once we got back to the house. Ollie whined and whined dying to play with Harlow--he bowed a few times, and sort of nipped on her neck, but not in an aggressive way at all. He nips us in the same way when playing--really it's more like he sort of bumps with his muzzle in a playful way? (that is hard to explain...) He seems to just have very little experience with playing. Harlow, being the HBIC, was being a little bit rude. Not too bad though. She seemed interested in him, but like she just wasn't quite sure she was ready to let her guard down yet.

The problems arose because Ollie was being completely OBSESSED with Harlows...um...'girl place'... I'm not sure if it's because he is young, because he is in tact, because he doesn't know other girl dogs, or what--maybe a combination. he would NOT leave her girl place alone, and he wasn't just smelling, he was licking it! and Harlow was not having it. At first she was tolerant, but eventually she was over it.

We seem to only have problems with Harlow and Degan when they are together. Harlow gets pretty possessive over Degan and he seems to feed off of that excited energy she portrays. But sans Degan, Harlow is quite accepting of other dogs.

So I think tomorrow we are going to introduce Ollie and Degan, and then Harlow and Boss, and finally Degan and Boss. Then maybe try all four again?

My questions for you guys are:
Should we have all four dogs crated in the same room to get them used to just being around each other?
Do you think we should wait til the new boys are neutered to really have any more face to face interaction with our two?
do you think we are taking the right steps with very slow introductions?
And lastly, does anyone have any advice for us? This is a first time thing for us and we are just REALLY trying to make it all go smoothly.
~Brittany, Degan and Harlow's mom


"It is true that Pit Bulls grab and hold on. But what they most often grab and refuse to let go of is your heart, not your arm."
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Postby LMM » September 8th, 2010, 9:29 am

You can never go wrong with very slow introductions! I would have them crated near each other but not right on top of each other. This way it will give them a chance to see and smell each other without having their "space" invaded.

I think it depends on your dynamic. I have a friend who cannot introduce intact males to her one male. Once they are neutered, he is fine but anything before that could spell disaster. My only other advice, even with slow intros give everything to them in short bursts. So if you are going to do some intros today, keep them short and sweet.
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Postby maberi » September 8th, 2010, 9:44 am

What Jenn said :wink:

I'm also a big proponent of taking the dogs that need to be introduced on walks together for a few days to a few weeks. I still keep them about 10 feet from one another (with another handler) but it allows them to be around each other in a positive environment (most dogs love walks) with a lot of other distractions so they don't focus on each other. I will gradually reduce the distance from one another over those days based on how they react at the 10 foot distance.
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Postby amazincc » September 8th, 2010, 12:03 pm

Thirded on the slow intros... :)

In my experience it's way easier to introduce a new puppy, since most dogs are fairly tolerant of young dogs... adults are a different story.
When I brought Luka home (adult AND intact) I was very careful w/intros... he was crated in the living room at first and he sort of became "part of the furniture" after a few days. I then moved his crate in the spare room w/the others and everybody interacted while I crated/rotated... when Luka was out of the crate the others weren't, and vice versa.
I introduced everyone seperately on my porch (w/Luka on-leash) since I wasn't able to walk them together on neutral territory (no friend to help :| ), and the only one who took offense was Bee... she absolutely goes into hysterics around Luka, so I still keep them apart now.
I was very careful about toys, treats, and "personal space" (for lack of a better word)... I did not allow Luka to take over anyones individual favorite pillow/blanket, toy, or favorite spot on the couch.
Luka didn't know ANY commands when he first got here, but he quickly learned by watching me interact w/the others - no treats unless you sit quietly, no barreling out of an open door, etc.
I bought new toys for playing in the yard, so there wouldn't be any issues about the "new guy taking over" favorite balls or Wubbas... I only give high-value treats like bully sticks and bones while everyone is in a seperate space or crated. The same goes for feeding time.
I make sure to spend time w/each dog individually as well... because I was thinking that, if MY mother suddenly brought home another kid and moved him/her into my room, I might be a little put out and/or jealous if she expected me to share all my stuff... :rolleyes2: lol

So far, so good - we have established a great daily routine, and it's working well.
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Postby amazincc » September 8th, 2010, 12:31 pm

Grrrrr... it wouldn't let me edit my post... :crazy2:

Just wanted to add that you want to be prepared for future issues as well. Your new fosters are obviously not used to the "good life", and everything is new and different for them right now. Once they get comfortable you *might* see some undesirable behaviors which need to be addressed right away.
ALL the dogs in the household should be held to the same standards, and obey basic household rules, to avoid confusion and "jealousy" when it comes to the resident dogs... I quickly learned to be on top of things at ALL times and not to let one dog get away w/behaviors the other dogs aren't allowed to exhibit. :rolleyes2: lol
Yes, Luka was in a bad place before he came to live here, and he does have health issues and physical limitations, but - in the "here and now" I treat him no different when it comes to obedience and rules.
I learned the hard way (w/Mick) that, no matter what a dog was subjected to in the past, I can't dwell on that and let pity and sorrow take over, or make excuses for any behavioral issues a dog may have - you HAVE to work through those, for the sake of the dog.

I do know how much work a multiple-dog household is, so... good luck, and bless you and your boyfriend for taking this on. :wink: :hug3:
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Postby pitsnok » September 8th, 2010, 5:41 pm

We have them all crated in the living room with blankets over their crates for now. We are going to continue this way for a while, and probably won't be taking them out on walks for another week or so. I have been told about a 'two week shut down' period that is very helpful to new dogs in a situation and we are going to continue to stick to that. Our next step will probably be to let Degan and Harlow be out of their crates while Boss and Ollie stay in theirs.
~Brittany, Degan and Harlow's mom


"It is true that Pit Bulls grab and hold on. But what they most often grab and refuse to let go of is your heart, not your arm."
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Postby amazincc » September 8th, 2010, 6:25 pm

pitsnok wrote: I have been told about a 'two week shut down' period that is very helpful to new dogs in a situation and we are going to continue to stick to that.


Yeah... I have never done that, because I feel bad about isolating a new dog in a crate for two weeks. :oops: :oops: :oops:
I pretty much play it by ear, and I've been very lucky because mine are so damned agreeable to just about anything I ask of them. :D :D :D
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Postby pitsnok » September 8th, 2010, 7:15 pm

I wish mine were! No but we aren't being as strict on the shut down as the 'rules' call for. They aren't leashed in the house or when they go potty. And we have obviously been going on walks. It's amazing to me how well they are all doing while crated in the living room. If I knew my dogs wouldn't mind we would have started that a loooonng time ago!
~Brittany, Degan and Harlow's mom


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Postby amazincc » September 8th, 2010, 7:21 pm

Well... it's always good to err on the side of caution, just in case. (I really SHOULD take my own advise... :rolleyes2: lol).

I'm glad things are going well so far... those boys are lucky to have ended up w/you, for sure. :)
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Postby LMM » September 8th, 2010, 7:33 pm

We try very hard to live by the 2 week shut down. I do it with ALL adults without fail. You usually have a little more wiggle room with younger pups.
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Postby amazincc » September 8th, 2010, 7:53 pm

LMM wrote:We try very hard to live by the 2 week shut down. I do it with ALL adults without fail. You usually have a little more wiggle room with younger pups.



Oooh, I just read up on that again - viewtopic.php?f=19&t=29970 - and I didn't do as badly as I thought I did... for some reason I was under the impression that the "two week shut-down" meant to completely ignore a new dog and keep him/her crated/isolated at all times, w/out any interactions, except for feeding time and very short potty breaks. :shock: :doh:

As it turns out - I did almost everything that was suggested in that thread, except the "no training" thing. :D
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Postby pitsnok » September 8th, 2010, 9:56 pm

I guess maybe we should put them back into the office? We were a little concerned they might begin to think the office is 'their' room, and get a little protective over it?

Do you guys think we should separate them? One in the office and one in my studio?

Tanner is the one I'm going to have to train... he always thinks they need to be out...and has been letting them sleep with him in the office bed. :|
~Brittany, Degan and Harlow's mom


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Postby amazincc » September 8th, 2010, 10:05 pm

pitsnok wrote:I guess maybe we should put them back into the office? We were a little concerned they might begin to think the office is 'their' room, and get a little protective over it?


What makes you think that?
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Postby pitsnok » September 8th, 2010, 11:03 pm

Oh nothing...haha! They haven't done anything to make me think that, it's just a fear I have I guess. You know how you're always supposed to introduce on neutral ground to prevent any territorial behavior. I'm just worried they will get territorial over that room specifically because that's where they always are.
~Brittany, Degan and Harlow's mom


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Postby Marinepits » September 8th, 2010, 11:12 pm

pitsnok wrote:I'm just worried they will get territorial over that room specifically because that's where they always are.


If you have a dog with territorial tendencies, it can definitely happen -- my extremely territorial mastiff mix Mac does not allow ANY other dog in "his" room, and especially not near "his" budgies that now share "his" room. (I do crate & rotate with rooms, rather than crates. Suppose I should call it room & rotate, LOL.....)
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Postby iluvk9 » September 9th, 2010, 8:20 am

Marinepits wrote: (I do crate & rotate with rooms, rather than crates. Suppose I should call it room & rotate, LOL.....)

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Postby HappyChick » September 9th, 2010, 10:21 am

I agree with everyone else, although I'm still a novice, that slow introductions are the way to go. I also do the two week shut down and I think it works well. I did it with Reno with zero problems. I cheated with Leni and only did one week, but she was 3 1/2 months old and it was all good. With my foster, Dozia, I could keep her on a two YEAR shut down and I don't think it would help. Lil biotch needs to be spayed...better yet, she needs her own home. None of my dogs like her.at.all.
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Postby furever_pit » September 15th, 2010, 9:36 pm

I agree that slow introductions are the way to go.

If you are worried about territoriality over the office why not try switching the dogs into and out of different crates? I mean, who says they have to stay in the same one all the time? That way they could also be crated in rooms with different dogs and it may help them get more comfortable with one another.

And just a thought on Ollie's "separation anxiety" when he is away from Boss...who is the most stable dog in your house? The one who doesn't get nervous when people leave the house and isn't bothered by loud noises or anything? Dogs can influence one another when they are near each other just with their energy. Dylan is my most stable dog and I use crating near him as a way to calm and even teach dogs who are prone to a little more anxiety. He has been a great influence on the other dogs I have brought into the house.
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Postby pitsnok » September 15th, 2010, 10:17 pm

I currently have all four dogs crated in our bedroom, I am laying on the bed... and everyone is (knock on wood) QUIET!
I was hoping Ollie's anxiety would calm down once he gets comfortable with Degan and Harlow.

Tomorrow is their surgery so wish us luck! hopefully all goes well.
~Brittany, Degan and Harlow's mom


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