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Tips for settling in a second (rescue) dog

(33 Posts)
Allfurcoatandnoknickers Fri 14-Feb-20 09:45:40

We are meeting a male 2yo rescue dog this weekend. We already have a slightly bossy 7 yo female who lost her best friend (another rescue aged 12) last year. We decided to take the plunge and get another dog.
I'm told by the foster carer he's with (along with six other dogs), that's he's calm, chilled, gentle and no trouble at all, but I'm expecting him to be nervous and shy to begin with. Providing all ok with the meeting, and everyone happy - does anyone have any tips for settling in a second dog?

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QueenOfOversharing Fri 14-Feb-20 09:55:30

Something we were advised - sounds simplistic, but I swear it helped - when you bring him home, bring your other dog out of the house & give them a walk together (even just round the block - sniffing & at their pace) - then bring into the house together. It's important not to bring the second dog into the house with first dog in there.

Plus, areas for time outs for both dogs. Adaptil plug in. T-shirt that smells of you in bed for new dog. I slept in living room with them both for first few nights.

Allfurcoatandnoknickers Fri 14-Feb-20 10:04:58

Ah yes the foster carer has said we are doing that when we meet on Sunday - walk around the park, then come in the house together. Thanks - I was going to give them a blanket of ours to take home with them and see if we could have one of theirs too so our dog can get used to his smell.

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QueenOfOversharing Fri 14-Feb-20 10:39:24

That's a good idea with the blanket too. Our second rescue was so easy to bring in with our girl. And she did fine. We also kept a houseline on him with a harness to begin with, so we could pull him away if anything happened between them (luckily nothing did) but much better for everyone than trying to grab a collar or just a dog. It also helped with ensuring no jumping up. Luckily, he didn't need it, but it was an extra security. We had tried to take on a couple of dogs before & really needed the houseline - those dogs didn't work out for us.

Allfurcoatandnoknickers Fri 14-Feb-20 10:46:47

Good idea thanks! I'm borrowing one for training next week if we get him as he's not been off lead - that'll be fun!

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QueenOfOversharing Fri 14-Feb-20 13:31:54

Haha! My beagle hadn't been off lead. He'd been tied up outside too. But within a month he was off lead on all our walks & to this day (almost 3 years) never had a squabble between them - and my older girl (staffy cross) will tell him to piss off if she feels like it!

The older girl really helped our boy settle & feel confident. He had been badly treated. He had separation anxiety to begin with too, and without her I think it might have been a nightmare.

Oh - and feed separately! Esp as you won't know how they react around food. We fostered 2 with awful food guarding which was very aggressive. I still feed mine separately but they don't need it. They never had an issue though. The other thing I wouldn't do is give them a bone or anything they eat / chew for a long time as those can become really high value & the worst for food aggression. At least to start with, be careful with food!

Hope everything goes well & he settles quickly!! ❤️

Allfurcoatandnoknickers Fri 14-Feb-20 15:58:04

Thanks Queen! That's really helpful. We had our current dog from being a puppy, albeit a rescue farm puppy that hadn't been socialised. She went from being a pretty happy go lucky friendly pup who was playful with other dogs, to being quite shy.
Her and the older dog used to play and get on really well in the house, but never really bothered out of the house. She's become a bit grumpy since he was ill and then died, but is fine with dogs she knows well. She really doesn't like bouncy younger dogs, and I'm told this one is calm and gentle, so hopefully he has good manners or she'll definitely tell him off! I guess I'm just panicky about it - she's not aggressive, more grumpy and wouldn't go out of her way to pick a fight - it's more reactive to bouncy dogs with bad manners!

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QueenOfOversharing Fri 14-Feb-20 16:58:35

Don't worry - mine is exactly like that. If a dog is too bouncy, or if a little dog snaps at her, she will really turn into a boss bitch!! She is the friendliest dog, but as she's got older, won't tolerate too high energy. And tbh I think other dogs need to be told sometimes. Esp the wee handbag ones that go for her snarling - I've told a few owners to sort their dog's aggression, as they could set other dogs off.

But with our beagle, he never pushes it with her, they play fight, and they kind of co-exist. They don't lie on top of each other, but he licks her face & she tolerates him, like a grumpy old woman! 😂

She also will jump in & tell a dog off if she sees it's scaring the beagle. She's protective towards him, which I think is amazing. She was 9 when I got him, and he was 4.

Keep me posted. What breeds are they?

Allfurcoatandnoknickers Fri 14-Feb-20 17:16:00

That's really reassuring thanks!! Our current dog is a JRT cross (possibly collie - but she's more JRT sized) and the one we are looking at is slightly bigger and a kind of mix (!!) - he's a Romanian rescue dog - not that I was actively looking for one, but there are a lot of Romanian dogs in foster care out there. I am assured that he's calm and gentle and gets on with her own dogs and the other foster dog - I've seen plenty of videos which all suggest this too. My other rescue was a terrier with a capital "T", dog reactive, barked constantly, was constantly 'wired' and basically ten years of very hard work. I am determined not to make the same mistake again - even though we loved him dearly, and miss him, he was a bloody nightmare!

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QueenOfOversharing Fri 14-Feb-20 17:25:56

You are doing such a good thing! A friend brought back 2 Greek street dogs. I'd have all of Battersea if I could.

It's not always easy at first, & I freely admit I couldn't cope with 2 we tried to adopt - aggression to my older girl (took 3 chunks out of her nose & attacked my son & I got caught in the crossfire). The other one went for a little girl.

But this boy just fitted right in. He had his issues (cannot be handled on legs, of picked up) & just got diagnosed with epilepsy - but it's like he's always been here now.

Dreamersandwishers Fri 14-Feb-20 17:50:45

Queen has covered pretty much everything - only thing I would add is to give them some one on one time - walking , training, playing whatever , so the new dog bonds with you as well as his room mate .
Have fun h🐾🐾

Allfurcoatandnoknickers Fri 14-Feb-20 21:52:42

Thanks everyone! I'm sure I'll be asking for more advice soon if we take him on!!

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Allfurcoatandnoknickers Tue 18-Feb-20 14:09:34

Update - we got our new rescue dog yesterday. He travelled well in the car, introductions etc., went ok. He initially looked very anxious and kept out of the way. Gradually, he went in the bed next to the fireplace (one on either side), with both dogs sizing each other up. Not a peep out of either of them all night, but he barked at me when I went in this morning to where they were sleeping - I think I startled him. We are keeping visitors to the bare minimum - he's very nervous of strangers, but seems to be warming up to us. He is happy to go in the garden, and comes straight back to the house, not even attempting to bolt for the gate.
The only slight concern is that I went upstairs earlier, and could hear some scuffling and snarling. Not sure what happened. When I came down, they were both looking guilty but in their own beds. Walks are ok although he seems very skittish on the lead - he really enjoys going out and it's the only time he seems his 2 years! Any more tips for settling in really appreciated!! I know it's very early days (less than 24 hours)- I'm trying to keep calm, but the snarling has worried me - I guess they are just sizing each other up. I'll hopefully look back in a few weeks time and try and remember the time when they weren't playing - fingers and toes crossed....

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Booboostwo Tue 18-Feb-20 14:21:28

I wouldn't leave them alone unsupervised. At night they need to be separated, maybe use a baby gate?

Make absolutely sure they are kept separate when eating.

Allfurcoatandnoknickers Tue 18-Feb-20 14:26:30

Yes I've kept them separate when eating. I will see what the foster carer thinks about keeping them separate at night- she didn't say we should do and they were fine together last night.

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QueenOfOversharing Tue 18-Feb-20 17:12:15

Behaviourist at Battersea said you me (as one fought my dog) if they're noisy, it's much less of a worry. If they fight & there's little to no noise, that's more serious.

I wouldn't worry. I would definitely keep them apart if you're not there. You just don't want to chance anything. It needs to be really smooth for now.

Have you put a T-shirt in the bed? Adaptil plug in?

I would just do as much low energy stuff with them when they're together - like no throwing toys etc, just to keep them calm while they size each other up.

Can we see pics??

Allfurcoatandnoknickers Tue 18-Feb-20 19:39:20

Yes will try the t shirt idea - he just seems very nervous which isn’t helping my other dog as she can be a bossy pants. Spoken with the foster carer who had around 4 dogs he’s been living with for about four months and she said they would have fought by now if they were going to - they’ve had plenty of chances. What I heard today was more of a spat and noise. They’re still wary of each other and I’m trying to keep relaxed as my menopausal anxiety isn’t helping anyone 😂 neither is being under house arrest with two dogs!!

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QueenOfOversharing Tue 18-Feb-20 19:59:09

Haha! My menopausal sweats keep my dogs loving being near me. I swear they love it when I stink! 😂

I'm sure they'll be ok. My girl can be a miserable cow & she didn't get too close with our boy. They're still not cuddly at all. But they are good together.

Allfurcoatandnoknickers Tue 18-Feb-20 20:20:02

Thanks Queen - this is about as relaxed as they’ve been. Tonight he’s still in the same bed and won’t join us in the other room. I’ve left the door open in the hope he might come through but I guess he will when he’s ready

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Booboostwo Tue 18-Feb-20 20:58:09

That’s really good, they are quite close to each other and look relaxed. Let him take his own time, it must be a big change for him. Adaptil plug ins/collars can be helpful as suggested above.

Allfurcoatandnoknickers Tue 18-Feb-20 21:07:07

Yes I’m going to try and get some Adaptil tomorrow - never used it before with my old rescue dog but am prepared to give it a go to give him the best start

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Allfurcoatandnoknickers Thu 20-Feb-20 15:30:08

Update- he’s a little more relaxed in the house now and our other dog has been on and off ok with him.
However, walks have now become very stressful for him. I’m walking the same route, about 20/25 minutes- he’s fairly relaxed until he hears a noise/sees a person/ another dog, then he gets whiny and either freezes, growls or prances on the lead.
It’s hard to avoid dogs as we live near a park and woods and it’s a magnet for dog walkers! I don’t want walks to become stressful for him (or me!). Our other dog loves her walks and is completely ball obsessed so it’s doubly difficult!

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Booboostwo Thu 20-Feb-20 15:54:58

It's going to take a while before he settles and things often get worse before they get better. What are you doing to distract him? If you can use treats to focus his attention on you he may be more likely to ignore stressful things in the surroundings and more likely to take his confidence from you. You may need to walk them separately for a while though, especially if adding treats to the walks is likely to wind your first dog up.

Allfurcoatandnoknickers Thu 20-Feb-20 16:06:26

I’ve been told by the rescue not to correct a growl when he sees another dog as he’s not lunging or barking. I’m taking plenty of treats and have been doing so for both dogs although my other dog just wants to play with her ball! Once he’s a little calmer I’m hoping I’ll be able to distract him a little easier

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Booboostwo Thu 20-Feb-20 16:10:47

I didn't suggest you should correct a growl either!

What do you know about positive reinforcement? Have you used treats for training (ideally with a clicker) before? With positive reinforcement you ignore the behaviours you do not want and you reward the behaviours you want which are then reinforced. So, ideally before he is distracted, click and treat him for walking nicely at your side. Say his name and click and treat him when he looks at you, etc. That way you are redirecting his attention onto you and he is less likely to be concerned with the things that stress him.

If he is already focused on something else, try using the treat as a lure, so treat near nose, move treat towards you, click and treat as his nose turns towards you.

If he is so focused on other things that you cannot lure him, start reversing away from the thing that is scaring him until you are at a distance such that he is ready to pay attention to you again.

But all this is difficult to do with another dog in tow.

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