We brought home our new puppy about 4 days ago. His name is Watson. He's a total sweetheart, house training is going very well, he rarely cries at night, and he's had great experiences with every person he's met. My husband and I are absolutely smitten.
However, we're having some trouble with him and our adult dog, Molly. When we first introduced them, she was afraid of him and it took her a minute to even want to go near him. She gradually got more used to him, she'll go up and sniff him and sometimes wag her tail but if he moves toward her she usually jumps back. She also tends to act like she's grossed out by any objects that he's touched, like she won't take a ball after it's been in his mouth, and she treads very carefully around any area in the yard where he's peed or pooped.
There have been 3 occasions where Molly made contact with him. The first time was the 2nd day we had him, and it seemed to me that her prey drive had kicked in and she lunged toward him like she lunges at my parents cats, with a sort of growl-bark that's not overly aggressive, more overexcited sounding. We quickly removed him from the area. The second time was yesterday, as I was playing with her while my husband was holding Watson in his lap, and she suddenly got the zoomies and ran to them, trying to kind of body slam him like she does when she plays with other dogs. It was definitely playful, but rough enough that it could have hurt him if my husband hadn't been holding him. The third time was today, while I was home alone with them. I was sitting on the floor with Watson on one side, playing with a tug toy, and Molly on the other side, rolling a ball back and forth with her. He started nipping too hard at me so I stood up to get him to stop, and he ran around me and bumped into Molly. She flopped over and half-pinned him under her shoulder, startling him but not hurting him. I immediately separated them but I have no idea whether she was being playful or aggressive. She didn't growl or anything.
We've been very careful with their interactions, and now I'm even afraid to have both out of their crates at the same time, but I feel really bad about having to constantly have one of them restrained/contained. I feel like I'm not being fair to either of them.
Here is a video from a few months ago of Molly playing. She's the biggest one, the bulldog mix. She has a rough-and-tumble play style and looks pretty tense even when she's obviously playing, which is why I can't quite figure out what her intentions are when she interacts with Watson.
Does anyone have any suggestions for how to best proceed with helping these two to become good companions? I really don't want to have to keep one crated at all times any longer than absolutely necessary. When my husband is home it's not as hard because each of us can have a hand on one dog at all times if we want to have them both out. How will I know when Molly is ready to interact with him without possibly hurting or scaring Watson? Any idea how long it could take?
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