Puppy Introductions

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Puppy Introductions

This is a discussion on Puppy Introductions within the Puppy Help forums, part of the Dog Training and Behavior category; In a couple of weeks, after Merlin's next vaccination on March 5, I'll be bringing him by my parents' house to meet our bichons for ...

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Old 02-26-2014, 10:44 AM
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Puppy Introductions

In a couple of weeks, after Merlin's next vaccination on March 5, I'll be bringing him by my parents' house to meet our bichons for the second time. He met them both on the day I brought him home, but the vet suggested waiting until Merlin's older, since the bichons go to the groomer and are boarded some.
I was very careful with the first meeting. Chrissy (the oldest of the two) sniffed Merlin a few times and then walked away from him to go stay in her bed. Gizmo (the younger one) came over, sniffed him, barked, and then ran off to join Chrissy. While I don't expect them to be able to spend extended periods of time together, I'd love to be able to bring my dog over and have them coexist peacefully in the backyard for an hour or so.
When we brought Gizmo home four years ago, Chrissy struggled with it and put him in his place, but she always was forced to live with the fact that Gizmo wasn't going anywhere. Merlin, however, isn't staying at the house forever.
It doesn't help that Chrissy and Gizmo weren't socialized with other dogs outside of our home.
So, how have you all introduced dogs to each other? Any suggestions and tips would be greatly appreciated.
Should the bichons come to my place first, instead, or will a backyard introduction at my parents' be ok?
This is all kinda new to me, and while Merlin will most likely be really enthusiastic and excited to meet new dogs, I don't know how the bichons will handle it when they realize that Merlin isn't just disappearing from my life.
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Old 02-26-2014, 02:22 PM
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Because I have a reactive dog, all introductions are slow and taken at her pace-but I think that would be beneficial for ANY dog.

Neutral locations to meet are best to start with. If that's a yard or park away from both homes, that's great. As long as the dogs aren't feeling the need to guard their space and there's room to run away you have a great set up. Start at a distance and gauge the reactions of both dogs. If all goes well, take a step closer. Check again. If you notice your dogs getting uncomfortable, reward with distance away from the other dog.

When you get to the point where you can actually meet, say 'say hello' or whatever cue you want. Count to 3 and walk in the other direction, with a cue you've already taught for going in other directions (it's an easy one!). Even if they're both good, you want meetings to go slowly and well to start with. If you see a dog become uncomfortable after they're getting along, interrupt like mad. It can be a 5 second interruption to start, even.

Read up on how BAT works-I love it, and don't feel like it should only be applied to reactive dogs. You'll find a lot of polite introductions in the threads.
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Old 02-26-2014, 04:33 PM
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Yes, supervising and guiding introductions with dogs is the way to go. Make it a positive event (treats delivered properly) and keep everyone under physical control (leashes) until you see that relaxed or playful body language. Be ready to step in and separate dogs if things go south.
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Old 02-26-2014, 08:28 PM
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Thanks everyone! : )
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