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Discussion Starter #1
In the past, my wife and I have visited our friends' house with our Golden Retriever (GR), a 5 years old neutered male. At the time, our friends did not have a dog but loved on our GR like he was their own. The GR, of course, left his scent in their house.


So our friends adopt a shelter German Sheppard (GS) a 2-3 year old spayed female. On walks, the GS has been around other dogs without an aggression problem but has never met a dog at her new home. So, after the GS has had time to adjust to her new home, the two families think it is time to introduce the two dogs.



The female German Sheppard goes aggressively after the male Golden Retriever immediately after doing a normal dog greeting. The new owners of GS jaws dropped since not once have they seen the GS be aggressive with other dogs.



After thinking about it, we think that the GR's scent is still in the house and the GS thinks the other dog is back to reclaim her new owners and house.



We now think we made a mistake in introducing them at our friends' house. We are next going to try a neutral location.



Any suggestions? Are we being rational about the scent issue? Any help that can be offered would be great. Both families visualized going visiting, camping and vacations with family, friends and with happy dogs.
 

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That's pretty severe, I'd probably ask a trainer is if you desperately want them to get on, otherwise I'd accept that this is just a dog she dislikes or that she can't handle dogs in her territory.

If you were definitely going to try to get them to meet I would start them on a side by side walk with distance in between, but it's a long process to get them from there to friends and sometimes the best you can get is neutrality.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for your reply. After our initial encounter, my friend Mike and I took them for a walk. I was in front with the Golden Retriever and Mike was in back with the German Shepherd. She was consistently growling and digging to get at the Golden Retriever. We reversed the order and the Shepherd did much better (out of sight out of mind) with no growling but she would check over her shoulder every 40-50 feet.



Side by side at a distance makes a lot of sense. We two families have already messed this up so I want to take some good advice. In that light, how far apart would the minimum distance be that you would suggest?



You must understand, the two families do almost every recreation activity together (this year, on the drawing board is a 4 week RV vacation) so neutral is good but having them as play buddies is the desire. You suggested a trainer. How does one find such a qualified individual? I know you cannot be specific but are we looking at hundreds of dollar or thousands?



Thanks for taking the time to help us.
 

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No worries, the distance is decided by the dog. Any negative reaction* is too close, what you want is for this dog to expect good things to come from being near the GR. So every time they are near each other the GS gets a steady flow of treats.

Trainer costs vary, I'd say a few hundred? I'd be looking for one that promises compassionate training. I'd expect punishment to cause more issues than it fixed in situations like this.

* dogs are a bit subtle with these, I'd be looking for the dog to be happily interacting with the owners without paying attention to the GR
 

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Really good information. Already, I am very happy about joining this forum. Thank you again for your input. I am reading some of the "Similar Threads" and finding good information in them. I have a feeling, with a little good information, we will be able to resolve this temporary problem.
 

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Side by side at a distance makes a lot of sense. We two families have already messed this up so I want to take some good advice. In that light, how far apart would the minimum distance be that you would suggest?
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I don't think you guys messed this up. Don't be so hard on yourself. Every dog is different and each situation is so different--and can be so unpredictable which makes things hard, esp at first, right?

I also suggest hiring a behaviorist or qualified positive reinforcement based trainer. Call around. Ask for local suggestions. Maybe just a few sessions will help you to figure out if the trainer thinks these 2 dogs are a match.

In the meantime, if it was me, I would start counterconditioning the two dogs to each other in a very safe, controlled way. So what would that look like?


Have two handlers (owners) each have their dog on a leash. Sit relaxed outside your house or theirs (eventually over many sessions, inside) with a treat pouch attached to each of you! Fill treat pouch with tons of small pea sized (or a bit bigger) bites of yummy food like chicken, cheese, meat, hot dogs, dog beef jerky etc. Don't be stingy!!! Fill a ziploc, put it in your treat pouch. Short their next meal if you feed them too much during the session.


Start with both dogs sitting at a large distance from each other. How far apart?? Where neither dog is throwing off any stress signals or negative body language.
And far apart so that neither owner is nervous!!!!


You can work towards bringing them closer over time, but for now start at large distance, even if it across a small street. I've done this countless times with strange dogs and my shy fearful reactive Gracie dog ---and it has worked wonders.

Don't know about dog stress signals? Look it up asap!!

I personally like to sit down with my dog sitting as well, to show her I am not worried. Standing seems to not be as relaxed.

So when you guys are situated and comfortably sitting or dog laying down or whatever, start doing super easy tricks in front of each other and give lots of food and happy praise. Make it fun!!!! No negative stuff here. Ask for behaviors your dog can do easily!! Set both dogs up for success.

If they cannot do easy lessons or tricks (Touch! is a great easy one) then simply chat happily and relaxed, and pay (feed the treats) the entire time the dogs are "working" together in the area. When your treat bag is empty or one dog looks anxious/antsy/done, STOP the session and separate the dogs until the next fun training/bonding CC session!

Or "work" together like this for a bit, then do a short parallel walk with both dogs, then go back and resume your treat bonding CC session.

Rinse and repeat. Don't rush it. Keep safe and comfortable distances.

WATCH THEIR BODY LANGUAGE!!!!

This fun, no pressure bonding time should really help to get both dogs to relax--- and look forward to seeing each other if you do it right
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Discussion Starter #9
AthenaLove - Thank you for your information. It is very good. Thank you for "treating" the owners with some loving kindness about not forever messing the our dogs meet and greet up. I will do some research on dog stress signals (good recommendation). I just talked to Mike, the owner of the German Shepherd, and he admitted he had stressed about the two dogs meeting before they actually came together. So, it appears, we both need to do a part of human training and a little dog training. I was unaware that Mike had put so much importance on this first meeting. Thank you again. We live about 60 miles from each other so it will take a little bit time to work it out. However, we plan to start next week with a get together.
 

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Oh, you are very welcome! Thanks for the nice feedback! Knowing I am a help owners and their dogs is what keeps me writing here!

To be honest, I, too, get nervous at times when introducing my dogs to other dogs. Ya just never know. Sometimes it can look like the initial greeting is a-ok, only to find one dog turn aggressive very quickly.

I try to only let my dog meet other dogs if I am ready AND feeling ultra confident at that moment myself. I have actually passed on greetings even though I kinda wanted to do it, but I felt like I just wasn't mentally ready at that time.

Plus I watch both dogs body language before the greeting and during. If the other dog looks too rambunctious or is not at all listening to the owner, I pass generally.

The other day a lady saw me and my Puma pup training in our parking lot at work. She asked if her dog could meet my Puma. I hesitated, then told her no thanks, I was actually working on counter conditioning Puma to seeing dogs at a distance.

But-- I asked if we could get closer (no sniffing or meeting) and share treats. She said heck yes! So I tossed treats to both dogs for about 15 minutes while I chatted with the other dog owner who was super nice. Very good impromptu training session. I was happy I asked her if we could do the counter conditioning with her dog nearby. This kept me relaxed since I didn't have to worry about them actually meeting. Esp since Puma pup likes to play with other dogs and then they can get tangled on the leashes. Eek. No thanks.

I suggest you practice like this with other dogs that you meet on walks or at the park if they other owner is up for it. Great practice for when your dog meets up again with your friend's dog!

Thx again for the nice feedback!
 
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