i am telling you.... successful intro's are all about the whole girl scout thing.
Carol · Nov. 7, 2014
so since sheila bravely brought it up...how does one safely introduce a big unneutered dog to the current crew?
it is an art. and everyone is different depending on their comfort zone. some like to take it slow..i like to get it done so everyone can settle and adjust and move on. plus since i know i am not here tomorrow..i need moose safely settled before i go back to work in the morning. the timing part of getting new guy settled is absolutely critical for me.
i do intro's by elimination. i pick what area i would like a new dog to go into that i think might be a decent personality mix. and i start with introducing the new guys to the easy dogs, one at a time and work up to the more difficult dogs. once i hit a brick wall with one dog who is being a jerk...i stop and cross off that group from my mental list and move on to my second choice. sometimes i get it right the first time...some times i run thru almost all of the choices until solo living becomes the only safe option.
you never know which dogs may or may not react negatively to a new guy. capone took the addition of luna and gilligan into his group fairly well. but he does not like moose...maybe because moose still has his testicles attached. mika however decided right away that moose was no concern for her so he got to stay. she would have a fit if i tried to put luna or gilligan in here but apparently moose is a non issue. luckily moose mixed in well with the computer room guys. makes my life easier...it was the area with the most free big dog space.
anyway...when doing intro's one at a time..it is important to remember a couple of things.
screaming, yelling and otherwise freaking out gets everyone upset and can escalate k9 anxiety, during intro's this is not a good thing.
the thing is to not only act calm...but to be calm. be confident and in control and be peaceful yet be a strong peaceful presence and try to project this while being quiet and relatively still. watch every move and be prepared to step in and know that you are the one in charge and can handle it. use whatever tools that you need...leashes, collars, your voice, your presence, your personal power which the dogs do understand and see. you cannot do or project these things if inside you are freaking out and panicking. sometimes i think dogs read our minds..if we expect something to go sideways..it does..if we are calm and wait and give things a chance..usually the dogs will take our cue that everything is really ok.
i have been doing rescue a helluva long time...i have broken up some really horrible fights..i have been bitten and seriously mauled. when it comes to dogs..there is not too much that i am afraid of, there is not too much that actually surprises me and even less that i do not expect. the trick is to be prepared for what is about to happen, before it happens and if you have to...stop it dead in it's tracks. and the other trick is not to over react and start freaking out over something that is not a problem...dogs read not only me really well..but they can read each other as well and we need to step back and give that ability to read others a bit of a chance.
and yes this is easier if there is not a bunch of yelling and screaming going on around me because the dogs need to feel comfortably safe and that everything is ok even if it is a little bit scary because it is new. and i need to concentrate on what both they and i am doing. we need to keep things in perspective....realistically no one is going to die in the 30 seconds it takes me to break up a possible fight. and in all my long years of countless intro's...not once has an intro been allowed to escalate into an actual fight...why? because i used to be a girl scout and during intro's...i am always prepared.