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Dog Files Viewpoint: Introducing Dogs To Each Other

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Introducing Dogs To Each Other

By Lon L. Flewelling For The Dog Files

I always enjoy the challenge and pleasure of success in introducing new dogs to each other in such a way that they understand there is no threat to territory or self. Toni wanted to do just that to ensure a happy, healthy pack.

Toni asked:

I want to have a pack. My dog Kid, my step-son’s year old female Bella, also a pit, and his latest rescue, roscoe, 11 month old pit. Lots of pits. Anyway, how do I go about making them a pack? Kid has met both dogs, not together. Loves Bella. Met Roscoe thru my fence, didn’t like. Fence is a problem I think.

Lon answered;

My best success has been to introduce on neutral ground so there are no territorial issues going on. The fence between dogs represents a solid territory line so in a park or open space that none of them ‘own’ works best.

Have them on leads and walk them past each other a number of times getting slightly closer with each pass. Reward and denial work here as with many things. The reward is to be able to be near and interact, denial comes into play if any of them growl, or start showing body language that is aggressive, stiffening body and tail, puffing up, staring…correct them immediately with a stern ‘leave it’ and if it persists, ‘denial’ would be to turn them away from the forward motion and walk away from the confrontation.

Give it a few minutes and try it again.

ONLY after both or all dogs are calm and in submissive mode, this may take a few passes, are they to be allowed the ‘reward’ of getting closer and closer until they can all sit near each other without any dominance or aggression.

If possible, when getting home take them for a walk together around the block in your neighborhood, side by side and never in front of you or your son…YOU are the pack leaders.

I would recommend plenty of water bowls side by side in and outside the home so there is no possessive/territorial actions there either.

Bring them into your yard or at least outside and repeat the walking and sitting near each other, making certain they are all calm and subdued. The house is your territory as pack leaders, not theirs, as subordinate pack members. If there is any body posturing or language from any of them, leash the perpetrator(s) and ‘deny’ them access to the others until they settle. Reward and denial…repetition of commands like ‘leave it’, ‘settle’ and consistency of commands will be your allies throughout.

Donna asked:

On the walk with my dogs – my romper kicks the dirt in the same spot every time. She will not do poddy anywhere but in her yard so it is not that she is covering up and there are no other dogs around that she is standing her ground. Is there another reason for this? I’m just curious.

Lon replied:

It is likely a spot that has some sort of odor or pee from another dog. Dogs have scent glands in their paws between their toes and the kicking is another form of marking to leave their scent on top of the last ‘contribution’.

Wolves in the wild will do the same thing on the spot of a kill and or over another’s urination.

Donna wrote back:

Wow, it is indeed a spot where many dogs pass by on their walks so many do relieve themselves nearby. I had no idea that dogs had scent glands in their pads, that explains a lot about when and where he has kicked before, thank you!

Lon L. Flewelling was born the middle and most charming of three boys in rural Minnesota where he spent many formative hours on family farms directly interacting with animals nearly from day one. Since his youth he enjoyed the gift and magic of close communication abilities particularly with dogs. Lon followed his gift into the world of wolf studies to further develop my passion and abilities to understand canines and their communications with each other and humans. He is a perpetual student of canines and sees no end to the absorption of canine knowledge.

“Lon L. Flewelling is the human owner’s manual on how to operate your dog in Denver!”
-Shasta Michaels-

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