German Shepherd Dog > When introductions MUST be made (11 replies)
When introductions MUST be made
by RLHAR on 09 June 2011 - 15:56
|Okay a few bullet points that hopefully people will READ before responding with any glib quips.|
1. I DO NOT encourage my dogs to meet other dogs.
2. Leaving them at a kennel is NOT an option.
3. This situation WILL happen, there is no getting around it.
This summer my little family, dogs included will be making our annual trek down to the beach for a week. I paid for the house, my dogs are coming with me damn it. Invited along are my sister-in-law and her family is bringing their two dogs. Both their dogs are rescues, the older is a cocker/corgie mix who if you look at her sideways she yields ground, I'm not overly worried about her. Their second dog is a year old Akita mix, who I do not ... trust.
I do NOT like to introduce dogs on leashes, in fact I never let my GSDs meet another dog while on a leash. If an introduction must happen (such as when my father's dogs came to stay) I tend to run the GSDs paws off with ball play and then, when they're tired, introduce the new dog(s). Both my GSDs will give a perfunctory "Oh, huh" sort of glance but their focus is on me and the ball and soon everybody is playing and finally too tired to care.
If I have to distract any posturing I can do it with a firm vocal recall command, maybe a light bop on the ass with the chuckit-stick and when the one time there was an intent to seriously squabble I landed on everybody and reminded them of who was the GD alpha in this pack.
Now my sister-in-law and her kids are the touchy feely dog types, they're going to want to do introductions on the leashes and with cookies and 'good puppies'. I'm ... dreading this because I just feel that the leash adds an element of tension to the proceedings and as I said, I don't trust the Akita, I've seen her already taking advantage of this sort of training and treatment and being the 'boss' of any proceedings.
Maybe it's a personal quirk and I need to get over it? My dogs know that on leash means strict obedience to me and neutrality to other animals and people, so an introduction on the leash is not going to be a true indicator of what will happen when everybody is in the same house together.
I just HATE on leash introductions/interactions.
by BlackthornGSD on 09 June 2011 - 16:19
|I would recommend going for a walk together on leash, then, in a neutral place where neither dog is on familiar ground.|
Have one person and dog head off on a casual walk, on leash, and whichever dog is more likely to have an issue should go second. Let that dog walk behind the first dog, following 100 yards, then 75 yards, then 50 yards, then 10 yards, then 3 yards behind. Have the 2nd person catch up and walk with the first person, with dogs on the outside, keep walking--do not stop. Go for a real walk together for a while, moving the whole time, gradually letting the dogs get each others' scent and get familiar with each others' attitudes and body language.
Then while walking, let the dogs move toward each other and smell each other--keep walking. At some point, it will be OK to have the dogs stop and ask them to sit and give out cookies. If all goes well, return home, with both dogs on leash and let them off-leash when you are in a safe place--at that point there should be no introductions or tense standing around in a circle and nothing to guard, etc. Being off-leash should be a non-event.
by muttlover25 on 09 June 2011 - 18:54
|Personally I would try to get them together several times before your beach trip would make things easier all around plus you'll know what to expect. Too bad you couldn't just borrow their dog for a bit introduce them the way you want without the cookies and other relatives around. Just a thought!!|
by martinusta1980 on 10 June 2011 - 15:07
|And if everything else fails, the akita won't stand a chance (not the desired outcome) but at least ur dogs will be on the winning side.|
by hexe on 10 June 2011 - 20:27
|1. What Christine (blackthorn) said, above.|
2. This gives me concerns, though:
"I don't trust the Akita, I've seen her already taking advantage of this sort of training and treatment and being the 'boss' of any proceedings."
Granted, never seen the dog, don't know you or how well you read dogs, but...the first thing that came to mind when I read this statement is that this dog does NOT respect the owner (your SIL), and most likely doesn't respect anybody else, either. If this is the case, you absolutely *must* get this introduction stuff dealt with before everyone's trying to live in one house, or else there's a good chance you're going to be playing 'musical crates' in the beach house. Touchy-feely's all well and good for soft dogs, but rare is the Akita or Akita-cross that is soft in any way other than the fur. Maybe the Akita-cross should come and stay with you a while in advance, sort of like a 'boot camp' so she can learn some proper manners with both dogs and people?
Despite martinusta1980's quip that 'your dogs would be on the winning side', there ARE no winning sides in this kind of situation--there's just dogs on edge, emergency vet visits, sutures, wound drains, tetanus shots, traumatized kids, a hysterical touchy-feely SIL, a frustrated GSD owner, a yappy Cocker-Corgi cross, tension between all the living creatures in the house, and what should have been a lovely beach vacation spoiled.
by martinusta1980 on 10 June 2011 - 20:42
|All I said, was that if came down to that ( no that anybody wants that) I'd rather my dogs to kick the other dog's ass and not the other way around. That's all, nothing more, nothing less.|
by VKGSDs on 10 June 2011 - 22:07
|I went to a friend's house last weekend and we had several intact GSDs at her pool. They've never played before. Basically we added one dog at a time. All the dogs had leashes or lines to drag just in case. Each dog had his/her own favorite water toy. My two (intact males) in particular are not dogs that *want* to run around and play with other dogs, but we were nonchalant about it and each owner played with her own dog. After a while, it was clear the dogs were totally fine. They were taking turns jumping in after their toys. Sometimes one dog would be going in down the stairs while another was coming out, face to face, but there wasn't a single snark or grumble.|
I'm like you I don't like the leash introductions. For the most part, I don't freak out, but I've had too many other owners march their obviously fearful or reactive dogs up into my dogs' faces. If I have to have my dogs around other dogs, I go with a drag line and make sure my dog and I have some sort of toy so we are doing something other than allowing dogs to fixate on each other.
by alboe2009 on 12 June 2011 - 03:00
|I'm with hexe and a couple others. Me personally, I don't interact my dogs unless it's training or work. A beach situation............ hmnn. Never have done it but if I attempted to, it would have to be with someone I know and they look to their dogs along the same lines as I do. Not saying that it just wouldn't work but a bad situation can happen in a "blink" of an eye. My dogs have no problems being crated, they're happy just being with me. Now, if they were crated and another dog(s) was trying sh*t towards them while they were crated then we have a problem.|
But like I said, I don't usually do this unless I know for sure. One of my responses to another post was seeing a dog fight while at the marina. That happened as fast as the dog jumped off the boat and ran @ 70 ft. on the dock to the other dog. And with all the people right there they couldn't do a thing to stop it.
by RLHAR on 27 July 2011 - 22:52
|So we finally got together for the meet and greet between the dogs.|
As expected the Akita mix was the one we had to worry about, the little brat even tagged me as we were just walking along, she does not like anyone person or dog near her mistress! She curled her lips at the Shepherds, who both looked at her with expressions of 'what is your damage?' and we all walked along fairly okay but watchful.
After awhile, I saw a stream off to the side of the path we were on and about 10 feet down. I wasn't about to go trail blazing so I took my two off leash and sent them on their way to go get a drink. My SIL released the Akita as well and I watched curiously, ready to recall my dogs quickly if necessary.
Sure enough, once she was off the leash and utterly ignored by the GSDs, the Akita relaxed and just bounded along with my dogs, well at least as far as the one 4 foot drop, she wasn't quite brave enough to leap off the 4 foot cliff into the stream like my two knuckle heads.
Well we called them all back and walked along a bit further and came to another bit of creek just off the path. This was perfect for the Akita to get to, -less extreme than the first- and this time I released my two and tossed out a ball I had with me so they could lead the Akita to the stream. Again, everybody was nice and relaxed, there was a bit of ball play the Akita relaxed and got a nice drink of water and we called everybody back.
This time when we put leashes on and started walking the Akita was literally shoulder to shoulder with my male, no reaction to him whatsoever, her entire body relaxed and calm.
What really made the day, however, is my SIL brought along her kids, including her youngest who is developmentally challenged. He's adopted and suffers from FAS but has made remarkable progress over the years. He's always been very wary of large dogs.
Well today, for whatever reason, he decided that my male was just the greatest thing in the world. He was actively seeking my male out, standing next to him and petting his head, neck and shoulders, where normally he'll try to avoid dogs. My male would sit or platz very quietly and just let this youngster crawl all over him without ever flicking a muscle or showing the least impatience and at the same time, he didn't try to be 'OMG PET ME PET ME' pushy either. He just sat neutral and calm which was exactly the sort of reassuring encouragement this boy needed.
And remember, this is a WORKINGLINE bred male who I work with on the SchH field.
by Red Sable on 27 July 2011 - 23:19
| That is great. That should put a few WL rumours to rest! |
I'm glad everything went well.
by hexe on 28 July 2011 - 01:06
|RLHAR, thanks for posting a follow-up to this discussion; between all the dogs settling in nicely with one another, and your male's nonchalantly accepting attitude to your nephew's unexpected adoration, this is the sort of happy ending we've needed around here lately. Thanks for sharing this, and glad to hear that it all worked out. So when is the beach vacation?|
by RLHAR on 28 July 2011 - 01:11
|Thank you, Hexe!|
I thought it might be worth a follow-up because at least in this instance we had an example of how the leash/closeness of handler did ratchet up the tension, where when the dogs were let off leash and engaged in an activity, things relaxed and mellowed right now.
I am in no way saying this would work for every instance with every type of dog!
Just that this time, my instincts were correct when it came to my dogs.