Dog Forum banner

1 - 7 of 7 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
So my fiancé and myself got our first dog together (Willow, she's right around 2). We've both had family dogs in the past, but have had this one for 4 days. Obviously new surroundings cause at least some form of anxiety. She's made herself very comfortable in home and that transition was a lot easier than I had expected. However, going on walks is a bit of a nightmare (mainly for her). She came from a "foster home" that was on the outskirts of rural neighborhoods. We are in a more compact area and relatively close to the highway. Meaning we can hear traffic as soon as we step out of our house and that is obviously multiplied for her. There's tons of new sounds/smells including kids yelling and smells from the traffic that doesn't help her much. We have a decent sized back patio that we were thinking of gating off to have her chill/relax out there with us to at least get used to the new sounds and activities. I don't want that to cause more stress by keeping her there, but not sure of other ways of helping her get desensitized and used to her new surroundings. She's also very reactive to other dogs, and I believe had a correcting incident with a young puppy off lead on her first night with us (Willow was the corrector) so I'm sure that threw her off a little as well. We have a good friend who's dog has been over multiple times before we got Willow and were thinking that he could help with the socializing aspect, considering he is a very well trained dog. Any help is very appreciated for desensitizing and also encountering new dogs!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
38 Posts
As a 'rule of thumb' when I adopt a new dog (regardless of age)(have adopted a few over the years) I give them at least a two week period to simply 'decompress' and settle in. Which means - no new people outside of the household members, no visiting dogs, walks are kept at a minimum, and done at the quietest times I can manage. When a dog is rehomed/changes families and households, they are under a lot of stress, their whole world has been turned upside down, and everything is strange and unfamiliar to them - they feel unsafe/vulnerable and they need time to get to know and begin to trust their new people and learn about their new life and world and for their new people to get to know them.

Your back patio does seem like a good place for her to start to get used to all the sounds that she is experiencing - however, I would suggest giving her the option to be out there with you or not. She simply may not be ready for that yet, and should have the option to go back inside where it is quieter if/when it becomes too much for her. Keep in mind that even in the house, she can hear a lot of the sounds that are occurring outside, so if she startling or feeling insecure inside, the desensitizing (pairing the noise with good stuff) can begin in the house.

Something that can be helpful is learning about stress signals in dogs,(we are often unaware of what they are telling us), so that we can understand how they are feeling any situation -comfortable/safe, anxious or fearful and respond appropriately.


She is already stressed/anxious with all the new things happening in her life, so to me, it would make sense that she would be reactive to unknown/new dogs who (in her eyes) could be a threat.

Give her time to settle in, keeping things as calm and 'routine' as you can, for the next while (two to three weeks) can go a long ways to enabling her to being able to better cope with the all the 'new' things that are part of her new life.
Once she is more settled in and relaxed, assuming your friend's dog is good with other dogs, (has a good history with other dogs) ('well trained' is not the same as socially well behaved with other dogs) it may be an ideal candidate for an introduction in a quiet open space outside (away from) your home.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thank you very very much for your response! That all makes so much sense when it’s laid out like that. Definitely going to give her time to do her thing and decompress. We have a little dog park where we are so we go there to get some energy out of her, but only go when no other dogs are there. And with the “well trained” dog of our friend, I should have added that the dog is pretty well socialized and has been to the full-size dog parks (or whatever the proper name would be) so that experience from him will hopefully be amazing. When you mentioned away from the home when meeting the other dog, would the “smaller” park be a bad idea considering it would be more her territory/less neutral? Or would that just be not in the actual home/yard? Again, can’t express how thankful we are for your help!
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
2,799 Posts
By the time Willow meets your friend's dog, she likely will have seen other dogs so you will have an idea already how she might react.

If it was me, I'd probably start with the two dogs walking on leash but some distance apart. That can be either to the side, or with the other dog up ahead, so Willow can see him. And gradually decrease the distance while watching for stress signs. If you see any, widen the gap again.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
318 Posts
Thank you very very much for your response! That all makes so much sense when it’s laid out like that. Definitely going to give her time to do her thing and decompress. We have a little dog park where we are so we go there to get some energy out of her, but only go when no other dogs are there. And with the “well trained” dog of our friend, I should have added that the dog is pretty well socialized and has been to the full-size dog parks (or whatever the proper name would be) so that experience from him will hopefully be amazing. When you mentioned away from the home when meeting the other dog, would the “smaller” park be a bad idea considering it would be more her territory/less neutral? Or would that just be not in the actual home/yard? Again, can’t express how thankful we are for your help!
I wouldn't be so sure. It depends entirely on how savvy your friend is about dog body language. Dog parks are a hot spot for bullying and predatory drifting. If your friend allows their dog to interact with all and sundry, I'd say he might be the worst possible candidate for socialising.

There's more to socialising that simply meeting as many dogs and people as you can.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
38 Posts
Thank you very very much for your response! That all makes so much sense when it’s laid out like that. Definitely going to give her time to do her thing and decompress. We have a little dog park where we are so we go there to get some energy out of her, but only go when no other dogs are there. And with the “well trained” dog of our friend, I should have added that the dog is pretty well socialized and has been to the full-size dog parks (or whatever the proper name would be) so that experience from him will hopefully be amazing. When you mentioned away from the home when meeting the other dog, would the “smaller” park be a bad idea considering it would be more her territory/less neutral? Or would that just be not in the actual home/yard? Again, can’t express how thankful we are for your help!
The parallel walking is a good place to start and to get an idea of how they may get on. If that goes well then allowing them to interact/meet in a place such as the small dog park, where they can choose to create distance or participate in an interaction would be my next step.

May I suggest getting the book 'On Talking Terms with Dogs' by Turid Rugaas?
In it she gives the basics of how dogs 'speak' (through body language) to each other (and us) in an effort to avoid conflict with other dogs. The more we can learn about how dogs communicate (it is fascinating!), the better we can understand what they are trying to tell us, and then better we can communicate with them.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
2,799 Posts
I just thought I'd add, if they don't become friends but can walk together and ignore each other, I'd call that a good result. I walked this morning (socially distanced) with a friend and her dog and they each did their own things. My friend called my dog ”perfectly indifferent” and I was ridiculously pleased.
 
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
Top