We thought long and hard before adding a new pup into our household mix.
We do not shy from the fact that Vinny has become a grumpy old man and definitely prefers his own space and peace. Excitable puppies are definitely not what he enjoys these days and we respect that of his personality these days.
Integrating Gree into the household had to be done carefully to ensure that everyone (humans and dogs) had the best possible experience.
We made sure that their first experience was in a neutral area, one where Vinny would not deem as "home ground".
Watch the dogs for happy, waggy body language and interest in one another without hard stares, tense postures, freezing in place, or a lowered or tucked tail.
Look for signs that one dog is trying to get away, which are often missed or misinterpreted. If your dog runs over to you, don’t send them back “into the fire” because this is usually an indication that your dog needs a break from the interaction.
Ice breaking activity!
Take a walk together, that always helps to keep the dogs focused on a task and to keep them moving forward. Think of it like when you first go for a group event and it always helps to get to know each other and get comfortable, when there is a "team activity".
If you are comfortable with the interaction and they seem comfortable with each other - allow the dogs to interact off leash in a secure and open area.
Just co-existing in each other’s space respectfully is a good start. Look for the universal dog invitation to connect: a play bow where dogs put their elbows on the ground and rear end in the air. Watch for the signs of a respectful interaction: a mutual give-and-take with pauses in the action.
Here are some of the basic foundations that we put in place whilst the two dogs are getting to know each other.
Monitor meal times, each dog to be fed separately
Each dog should have a bed. It can be interchangeable, but they should have one bed each
Introduce toys slowly, don’t allow them to snatch from each other
Create playtime breaks – you decide when playtime and rest times are
Separate the dogs when you are away or unable to supervise
It can take weeks or even months before your new dog and resident dog mellow into true comfort with one another.
Give it time and have patience with them as they get used to siblinghood and living together.
Think of it as moving in with a new housemate and figuring out your new housemates habits and needs for space/boundaries.
Remember to acknowledge positive interactions (or even neutral ones) and watch them live together in harmony!