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So the love of my life and I have been dating for almost one year. Prior to that we were both very single. He has a Schnauzer and I have a Yorkie Chon. Both girls. Catalina the Schnauzer is 9 years old and about 16 lbs. Lexie is 11 years old and MAYBE 6 lbs. Catalina goes outside to potty. Lexie goes in a litterbox.

We attempted to introduce them. Well, that didn't turn out well. We did it wrong. Catalina came to my house in Lexie's territory and Catalina really didn't care too much after 5 mins. Lexie? Yapped at the top of her lungs.
Second time they met, it was because his AC went out and they had to come to my house. We put a gate between them. Again, not a good idea. Lexie was a constant ball of nerves. Catalina watched TV. But at one point Lexie was on my lap and she turned her body away from us too. She was not happy.

Well, we are thinking about moving in together. But we have to get this little sister thing situated prior to any of this happening. Catalina adores me and Lexie adores him. Catalina howls with glee when I come to his house. Lexie cries like a goat when he leaves my house.

But what do we do to get them to love each other????
 

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How I prefer to introduce dogs to each other to ensure future success

Hi! Cute lil pups! Thank you for coming here to find help to ensure the two doggies like each other and be less stressed!

Here is how I introduce dogs to each other. Even if they have met before! Even if they have hung out together several times, I still like to do this, just to "proof it" or make sure we start out on the right path to ensure success down the road.....

Anyway, when I introduce my Puma pup (now a year, and 54 lbs strong) who likes most dogs, I purposely go slow and careful. She is strong and I am always teaching her to be very gentle with all dogs, esp small dogs.

Plus as you have seen, ya never know how the two dogs will react, esp in the beginning.

Sometimes the first few meetings can really set the stage for future relationship success, so going slow and making the meetup fun and rewarding for both dogs is what I prefer.

So I generally introduce Puma pup at a bit of a distance to a new dog she is meeting. I have yummy treats and I like for the other owner and dog to sit casually at a distance from me and Puma and we each give our dogs some treats as we chat happily and casually.

I prefer to sit on the ground outside if possible to show our dogs that we are relaxed about the meeting. Also hanging outside first is more of a neutral territory than inside one dog's home. That can come later as things progress, which could be 10 minutes, 1 hour, or several sessions depending on many variables, but generally up to the dogs comfort levels!

Then I like to ask our dogs to do tricks for us and then reward that heavily.

Doing tricks together in front of each other is kind of a bonding thing in my mind.

Plus it takes the focus off the other dog or nervousness/anxiety if any. Think "blind date with humans" pretty uncomfortable if just staring at each other right? Doing an activity together is much easier and comfortable.

Then I like to see if I can have the other owner ask my dog to do a trick and then reward it. And I will ask to do the same for the other dog. If both dogs can perform and focus on us humans, then I feel this is a great gauge of comfort for both dogs!!

Then if all goes well, we go for our parallel walk outside. Adjust distance from each dog as needed!

If that goes well, I invite the other dog into our shop (Puma's "territory") and we do more tricks and treats together.

Rinse and repeat!!!

How often for Catalina and Lexie? Let the dogs tell you! If they are comfortable/happy with eachother, take advantage of that while you can and practice this often to get experience! If either of the dogs look stressed, call it for the day or change it up.

Watch for Lexie's and Catalina's stress signals, esp yawning, lip licking, whale eye, freezing/stiffening of body, head turning away, body turning away, whining, growling, barking, etc. See if the dogs are wanting to interact--- or are they turning away and sniffing grass or trying to "look busy" during the meetup?

Also: I prefer to keep both dogs on a leash (held loosely, very relaxed) so that I can relax. If they are both leashed and something goes wrong in a quick minute (and it can!) then both owners have instant control to take the dogs and separate them as needed. Plus the leash is valuable bc if one dog is reacting, the owner can gently guide the reactive dog away to allow distance and space to relax. Other folks will disagree with this, but it works well for me. But then again, my dogs are trained to love being on leash with me and actually feel more comfortable and safe when on leash with me.

Remember: Most times, reactive or stressed dogs calm down and relax when
appropriate distance is placed between the dogs. Your dog will be able to tell you when you are far enough away from the other dog. Listen to your dog and RESPECT your dog when they are telling you that they are stressed or anxious or fearful!!
 

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Go for a walk together with the dogs, or go to a dog park where they can be in neutral territory. For some dogs, it's actually worse if they are separated by a gate or leashed.


Most dogs will get over it though... My sister was in the same situation with two males, there was a bit of growling and snapping but they are fine now.
 
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