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Introducing dogs

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anchovies Wed 08-Jun-11 16:38:31

My parents have an ancient lab/collie cross who on the whole is a lovely dog although recently she has been occasionally grumpy with other dogs. I would like her to be able to come and stay with us and our 18 month old lab while my parents are away.

I have read about meeting on neutral ground, positive re-enforcement etc and they have met and been fine together at the park before. Our dog can be nervous/aggressive on his lead however and despite playing nicely for an hour, snapped at my parents dog when we were walking back.

I am going to have another go tonight and if it goes well dh and I will just walk both dogs home to our house.

Dh is very confident (the complete opposite of me!) which I am sure will help but is there anything else I should know/do at the point that we get home? I can't find anything when I've googled it so wondering if anyone has any advice?

minimu1 Wed 08-Jun-11 18:34:09

Did anything specific happen to make your dog snap - did the other dog come to close, did the dog look at your dog, did the other dog come to close to you often an issue with some dogs?

I would want to know what caused the reaction in your dog so watch very carefully. Is your dog yawning, tail up, scratching, looking directly at or sideways to the other dog.

I would try the following but with caution - be prepared to take this slowly it may take several attempts and maybe an idea to not take your parents dog into your house until they have walked together on several occasions without any incident.

Walk them together on lead with a big distance between them. At first walk so that the owners are nearer to each other than the dogs.

Over a period of time walk a bit closer to each other. If one dog is appearing less confident walk that dog slightly behind the other dog so they can get a good sniff etc. It may take a while even up to an hour but when both dogs are relaxed drop the lead of the younger dog and just carry on walking in the same direction. (If you are unhappy when to do this just take a bit longer you could also use a long line if you prefer). If this is fine then you could drop the lead of both dogs BUT only if you are happy and have a good recall on both dogs.

When they are relaxed out and about together (and this maybe by just ignoring each other) then you can bring them home. I am unsure to give advice here as it depends so much on the individual dogs body language at the time. If there is any stress at all do not bring them into the house - when they are ready to come into the house just be very matter of fact (remove all toys or food to prevent any arguments) keep the dogs on a lead have a coffee and keep the dogs calm by you.

Dont force any interactions between the dogs at all, ignoring them both is best and be very calm lowkey and boring. However do take care and it is better for this to take a long time than to make your dog even more protective.

anchovies Wed 08-Jun-11 19:26:20

Thanks so much minimu, you have made me realise this may not be as simple as I had hoped!

Not certain what made our dog snap, I have a feeling it was just my mum's dog came too close while he was on his lead, that's the usual pattern with him. He is always fine off his lead, he just gives other dogs a wide berth. He occasionally wants to meet other dogs and does this nicely, but likes to know he can leave when he's had enough of them. They both have great recall and I am certain there will be no problems if I just let them both off their leads (my dog will just ignore her and stay away given a choice). My main worry is obviously they will both have to be on leads actually entering the house, potentially stressful when it wouldnt otherwise be if you know what I mean.

We will give another walk a go as you suggest and I will try to spot the subtle signals!

Thanks again

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