Day 20 – Introducing Lily and Mojo at Lily’s place
Whenever you were introducing a dog into another dog’s territory, you always have to be careful. It’s almost as though you are entering a lion’s den. A dog’s house is a territory. That’s where their food is, that is where they’re sleeping, that is where their owner is. Some dogs (like mine) are very protective of the place we live. It was important for Nikki and I for Mojo and Lily to be OK with each other being at each other‘s houses. What we had already done was to have made sure that Mojo and Lily met on neutral territory such as on a walk or a Paw-some, and make sure they got familiar with each other.
It’s important to have first met in a neutral territory so neither dog feels like they need to be protective and important for this when you’re introducing a new dog into a home or when you’re trying to make two dogs friends as we were because things can unfortunately turn out badly if not done the right way. It’s important to take the time introduce dogs to each other‘s places. Sometimes dogs can be toy-aggressive or water-aggressive and you never know how they’re going to react. In this case with Lily, we are still learning her personality but we know she just wants to play and have fun.
Day 21 – Introducing Lily to Mojo and Paddington at my place.
So now that Mojo and Lily are okay with each other at Lily’s home, it’s time to introduce her to Mojo and Paddington at my apartment.
The moment of truth is when you bring the dog over to the area and so we brought Lily over to Mojo’s territory. However, we kept the leash on Lily because we didn’t know how Lily would react. We didn’t know she if she was react wildly or be annoying to Mojo because we did not know how she was going to react being in a new territory. Some dogs have paid to make their mark in a new territory and that is very normal. As we keep her on leash, we let her smell around the apartment and Mojo just seems to not care about what is going on so I know it’s OK. We still keep Lily on leash though and she goes right to the toy boxes and start playing.
Unlike Lily, Mojo’s personality, stance and traits make him the alpha. Mojo is specific when it comes to his territory and only certain dogs are allowed to be in his territory. This tends to be alpha dog behavior and also a behavior of a dog that has not been living with another dog. So when Lily came over, we kept her on leash, and let Mojo do his thing. There are things that Mojo has in his house that he showed no interest in until Lily came in and cared about it and then he got interested. This tends to be a normal behavior with dogs — they always want something the other dog has. Once Mojo seem to not really care about Lily, we took her off leash and just let them be. The first thing she went to was the food bowl because she wanted to make sure there was no extra food for her, which I have seen in other dogs as well and it’s kind of a common behavior. Lily started pulling out toys of and Mojo’s toy van and try to get him to interact but he really didn’t care all you wanted to do was just be lazy or help whatever I was doing or didn’t really seem to care about Lily which was great because it shows that he was tolerant and OK with her coming into his territory.
As she kept coming over more times, she became more intuitive to Mojo’s behavior such as his barking at the door or when he heard something outside. Lily began to follow his behavior. Whether it’s looking out a window or checking something Lily has to check it out too. It’s become kind of funny because when they hear a noise outside they will bark and one dog will go to one window and the other guy will go to the other window to make sure everything‘s OK and then they switch and both go to the opposite window to check out what’s going on outside.
So we know now that Lily has learned her social cues and can interact well with other dogs. This took us 3 weeks – success!
Teaching Lily to walk on a leash
Whether they are on harness or just by the collar, dogs have the tendency to pull on leash. Lily is so excited to see other dogs. She just loses her mind because she wants the dog to be her friend. If she’s on a collar with that excitement, she would strangle herself. So Lily’s method of walking is an easy walker. This is a special harness that is designed to clip in the front of a dog’s chest and allows you to have control over them. But a dog still can pull, and with Lily, there is always some excitement. Mojo pulls when he sees a squirrel but that’s a different story.
To get Lily not to pull, we would use a training mechanism called ‘Heel.’ This can be one of the hardest things to teach and work with a dog because there needs to be consistency. When Lily would want to walk ahead, we would stop and make her sit. We wanted her to walk at our pace and next to us. Again, she starts getting excited; we bring her back into a sit next to us. It’s important to keep a short leash, and as you and your dog master this, the leash can get longer. We had to keep reinforcing that if Lily wanted to take a step, we would stop and make her come back until she was ready to walk with us. It never hurts to bring positive reinforcement, such as treats, for this. Of course, this made Lily more excited to walk at our pace and work with us. She still has those puppy tendencies and wants to pull, but we go back to the basics. For any dog, it’s always good to go back to the basics when they are acting in a way you don’t want.
Lily doing a photo shoot
Photoshoots are a tricky thing. First, the dog has to stay there and pose and not get distracted. Well, on for both the photographer and the dog, this takes a lot of patience. When Lily did her first photo shoot, we let her first smell the studio. She was excited by all the new smells and her new surroundings. We let her get comfortable in her environment and gave her treats. We keep luring her with treats until it’s time to shoot the camera. Lily would get in a sit and get easily distracted or would want to go back to her mom bad. Again and again, we had to lure her to where the paper is layered for the shoot. It’s not normal to be walking on paper so Lily was not always comfortable walking on it, let alone sit on it. Over and over again, we get Lily in a sit and reward her and hope she looks at the camera. To get her to look at the camera, we make noise, squeak a toy, anything to get her focus on the camera. After multiple attempts and about 20 minutes, Lily is done. She doesn’t want to sit and pose for the camera, and the photo shoot is over. Luckily, the photographer knew what he was doing and got some good pictures of Lily before she completely lost her patience.
After spending much time with Lily, I have seen her grow from her shelter-adapted behaviors to having a successful relationship with her owner. She has learned about her new lifestyle and how to be social with other dogs. I’m sure Nikki and Lily’s relationship will grow over time and Nikki will continue to learn new things about Lily.