I think over the next few weeks I’ll be regularly going over the process I’m following to acclimate my new foster dog… officially named “Chase”… into the household. Adding a new dog isn’t as simple as plopping the new dog into the living room and hoping it all goes for the best, especially if you have other animals. So I’ll give sort of a day-by-day example of how I’m integrating everyone and what Chase’s life is like.
He isn’t house trained (or may just have a marking issue) so he is being crated pretty heavily right now and will have a very predictable schedule. As he becomes more reliable with house training and acclimates, he’ll earn more freedom. So many people make mistakes when integrating a new dog by going to fast, doing little to no work on building relationships, or expecting perfections right off the bat. I am probably going much slower than many people, but with Shayne’s occasional issues and Rio’s pushy play nature I want there to be a sturdy bond built over time to prevent any misunderstandings. Right now Chase is being crated in my bedroom on the main floor so he can still feel like part of the action and the other dogs can go visit him but he’s in a quiet enough environment where he can relax. Next week I’ll set up a second crate in the main living room so he can have some time learning how to relax with us.
Plus, of course, you’ll get lots of photos–though I have learned this boy is HARD to photograph because he doesn’t stop moving!
Goal for the day
My main ‘goal’ for the day was to take all 4 dogs for a successful walk together and to give Chase about 5 minutes of off-leash time with Rio and Shayne in the yard after the walk so they could do proper greeting rituals.
It was a crazy busy day but it was probably the best option for the transporter so we just had to make do with my crazy schedule. Picked up Chase around 12:30 got home by around 1. I took Shayne, Rio, and Chase for a walk around the yard and one time around the block. The dogs were quite successful and weren’t focusing on each other by the end of the walk. I let them have about 5 minutes of dragging leashing while in the yard. Rio was a little too pushy in his play style so Chase hung out with Shayne instead (totally unexpected!).
I had a private client so Chase went in his crate from 2-515 with Through A Dog’s Ear music, frozen Kong, and some water.
I had just about 30 minutes between private client and needing to leave for 2 classes at WPHS. My mom was home by this point so we took all 4 dogs for a bit of a walk and another 2 or 3 minutes off-leash in the yard. Bandit was extra humpy and over stimulated even after the walk so we ended that quickly.
Chase went back in his crate around 6 with a frozen Kong, TADE music, and some water. When I got home at 9:45, I took Shayne, Rio, and Chase for another short walk around the block. He came in and had a few minutes with everyone in the living room while relaxed then he went back in his crate around 10:15. He had a potty break around 12:15 and then slept beautifully through the night.
Total time spent with Shayne and Rio–1.5hrs nearly all of it on leash
Goal for the day
Go for another group walk. Get him comfortable enough to eat (which he didn’t do yesterday other than part of two Kongs). Start teaching him his name and no marking in the house.
Got up at 8 went for a potty break outside to pee with Shayne and Rio. Came back inside and went into his crate with a Kong so I could get functioning. 10 am went for a 1.5 mile walk with Rio and Shayne where he got to see squirrels (he is desperate to chase) and turkey (that he was interested in but not amped to chase). When we got home he had about 30-45 minutes of playing ball in the yard with Shayne and Rio.
I was using the ball as an outlet for their desire to play but so they wouldn’t focus on each other so much. Chase is still a little concerned with Rio’s intense play style but when Rio is focusing on the ball, he has a good time chasing after him. Using toys is a great way to diffuse play and give it another outlet (for dogs who aren’t resource guarders).
He got breakfast and back in his crate at 11:15. I had to leave around 11:30 for dog walking clients so he got a Kong and away I went. I got home from walking, made myself some lunch and relaxed for a little bit before bringing Chase out for a walk on his own around 2:30. We went for a mile walk around the neighborhood. I started to work on reinforcing volunteered attention. If he started to really put his weight into pulling me I’d stop and wait for him to check in with me. The first time I must have stood for 5 minutes in one spot before he finally looked at me (and I rewarded with a treat and a “let’s go!”) by the end, I only had to wait maybe 10 seconds for him to check in. It wasn’t about teaching loose leash walking as it was about reinforcing checking in with me when he’s not sure what else to do. He got 20 minutes of playing in the yard with me and boy does he like to play with tennis balls! Especially those squeaky ones by Kong!
After a 5 minute training session to start introducing his name and to do some work with going in the crate he got another Kong in his crate so I could get ready for classes tonight. Since I will be gone for a while with classes, I took him out again at 4:30 for some running in the yard with Shayne and Rio and then dinner before leaving for classes.
He had a potty break while I was at class, a walk when I got home with Shayne, and a potty break before bed time.
While handing out snacks to everyone, he did show some minor food guarding but just to Bandit (who he has spent the least amount of time with) but was just grumbly and pushed him away. Lesson learned. Will do some work with Chase, Bandit and food.
Total time with Shayne and Rio about 3.5 hours about 1hr off leash.