During the first week with me, Chase spent his time in three places… out in the yard, in a crate in m room, and the hall between the door and my room. It gave him a place to get acclimated to my routines and the typical sounds of the house that included him to an extent but without all the activity of being in the thick of things. It also helped really reinforce the idea of settling after times of activity since he’d settle in the crate after a walk or play time several times a day. As he got comfortable in the crate and with the routines of the day I knew it was time to set up the second crate in the main room.
For house breaking reasons, he is still spending a lot of time in the crate but I wanted to start challenging him to learn to settle even if there was activity around him in the same room. I use the crate as a way to pattern in a sequence of activity and rest to work on creating an off-switch inside the house. It’s also a great way for him to start feeling like part of the family but still continue to introduce him slowly to everyone and prevent any marking/accidents that may occur.
Chase is spending a few hours outside off-leash with all the dogs playing every day which has been going really well, he loves to chase after and herd Rio and Shayne and largely leaves Bandit alone outside. They are all learning how to coexist nicely together even in highly arousing situations–like playing tug or playing fetch. Over the last few days he has also earned some time outside the crate in the living room with the other dogs to play and also to settle down with a good chew item. As long as Shayne and Rio are relaxing, Chase is quick to settle and is really showing a nice off-switch in the house.
Over the last 9 days I’ve slowly increased the amount of time that Chase gets to spend with Shayne and Rio and it’s clear to me that going slow has made the three dogs feel very comfortable together. Shayne has been smacked in the face, been run over, and had stuffed kongs nearly taken from her and there have been no big problems. They all seem to be negotiating their boundaries beautifully but I’m always supervising and am able to redirect and help them work through anything that may pop up. I’m not sure things would have gone so smoothly had I just dropped Chase into the pack and let them work it out themselves. I let them communicate amongst themselves and work it out between each other in that sense–to learn how to communicate with each other but if there is some miscommunication going on or they are not listening to what another I am always around to step in.
We are definitely getting there and Chase is becoming such a great dog and is fitting in with the other dogs beautifully. I may take more time than some give, but it’s worth the slow introduction to have it be successful.