Part 1 – A new dog!
Dogs are pack animals, they are meant to be around other dogs. In the past, rescues and shelters weren’t attuned to this as they are now. Socializing is critical for dogs now. Puppies especially need to run around and get nice and tired. They need that mental stimulation along with the physical stimulation.
Also, dogs learn behaviors from one another. It helps your dog learn the world and gives your dog confidence. Without socialization a dog can be shy, scared, timid or even aggressive. Early socialization a dog is crucial for your dog’s development.
A friend of ours sadly lost his dog when a long-time illness suddenly became fatal. Hennie had been Mojo’s friend and all of us, including clearly Mojo, suffered for her loss.
We had the opportunity to get Lily from a shelter that we knew. Nikki was prepared to make Lily her dog if our friend wasn’t ready for a new pet of his own. Lily is a 2-year old mixed-breed with some hound and boxer. Her previous owners hadn’t given her much contact with other dogs. So Lily needs to learn how to be social with other dogs. Nikki and I kept a journal of how we accomplished this…..
Nikki and I picked up Lily from the shelter, bought her toys, treats, food and a bed, and brought her home. What a sweet dog, we are so lucky!
We acclimated her by letting her run around the house to get used to new smells and surroundings. We took her on a walk, used Easy walker harness because she’s definitely a puller.
We wanted her to meet Mojo from afar. Nikki and I talked at a distance and once Lily wasn’t quite as excited, we introduced her to Mojo. He first smelled Lily’s butt and then vice versa. We walked around the block together, letting them smell each other and her new surroundings. We continuously let Mojo and Lily smell each other, even face to face. Mojo didn’t seem to care too much about her and Lily was slowly beginning to understand the social cues. Lily met a small dog on the way and wanted to play but the other dog was not interested. Even when that dog snapped at her, Lily still wanted to play, showing she’s still learning social cues. We could see Lily was beginning to understand Mojo’s social cues and we want them to get to know each other very slowly before we introduce them off leash.
We took Lily and Mojo to the pet store in separate cars. Mojo and I walked around the store and kept coming back to greet Lily. We continuously let Mojo and Lily smell each other and then moved both dogs back before too long. We walked around the store together and greeted each other and then walked away. This is important – we don’t want her either to fixate or make the other dog uncomfortable.
Day 3 – A walk
Walked around the block with Lily and Mojo. Lily is still such an excitable puppy. She stops and lies down when she sees another dog and shows she’s submissive. She tried jumping on Mojo and Mojo gave her the cues like ‘stop bothering me.’ She’s still not getting that he’s much older and doesn’t play like she does. Since Lily is a boxer mix, she jumps and plays with her paws. Not all dogs like this form of playing or know how to react to this play.
Day 5 – We go on a hike with Lily
Lily is learning that Mojo doesn’t really care about her. She says hi to him and he gives her his grumpy old man cue. On our hike, Lily pulled the entire way. Every time we saw a dog, she would stop and lie down. Showing signs of submission, but ready to pounce and play. Many dogs greeted us on and off leash and both Mojo and Lily did a great job. Before Lily says hi to a dog, we always explain to the owner that she is a puppy and she doesn’t know how to play or pick up the cues. Then the owner would decide if their dog would be OK with Lily or if she would be too much for them.
Lily was fascinated by everything, first hike and first time really exploring. She is still learning about walking on the leash and likes to be the leader. Mojo likes to be the leader because he is alpha but her leading is more from excitement. In contrast, when Mojo leads, he is being protective. We continuously let Lily and Mojo smell and interact limitedly with each other but they walked together side by side with no problems. We were even able to get them to sit near each other for a photo op. This is critical for Lily and her development. She needs to gain more confidence for when she finally meets other dogs off-leash. She smelled everything and was curious about everything but nothing gets her attention like a dog.
Right now we’re at a crucial time of teaching her cues for all size dogs. No matter the size, she wants to pounce and play. Mojo and Lily did great on their first outing and we’re excited to do more.