|Lola Lulu (black dog) meeting Valentine (red dog).|
Summary of events, thus far:
- Two days ago I rescued an elderly purebred Hungarian Vizsla from the Pima county shelter. Yes, I forgot to ask if he was neutered (entirely my fault)... I was distracted by his severely atrophied right rear hip and leg. He was old, very sweet, and could only walk on three legs, so of course I took him home and named him Valentine.
- Initial introductions in the yard with all four dogs went smoothly. Foxtrot (my foster English pointer, a 7 year old intact male) got kinda stiff & stared at him, but I intervened and he let it go... until we got into the house and he jumped Valentine. Thankfully he was just being nasty/threatening (read: loud and snarly, but didn't bite down or break skin), but the dogs were separated which meant Foxtrot went into his crate in the bedroom.
|Foxtrot meeting Valentine; notice the fully upright, tense tail and stiff posture.|
- I tried reintroducing them in the yard twice yesterday (without my two dogs) and the first went very poorly, while the second was not too bad.
- Overnight Valentine has free reign of the living room and kitchen. I use the sofa to block off my bedroom doorway (my dogs can easily jump over, but Valentine can't) and I'll let Foxtrot get up on the bed (with a slip lead on, so he doesn't bolt over the sofa and pounce on Valentine) to cuddle before bed. He is still sleeping in his crate overnight.
- The daily routine involves rotating the dogs in and out of the house (which does mean either putting Valentine in the back yard by himself and giving Foxtrot house/front yard freedom or putting Valentine temporarily in a crate so that I can let Foxtrot out into the yard.
Just typing this all up is exhausting...
Fast forward to this morning: Valentine is in the backyard, Lola & Gatsby are in the front yard and I brought Foxtrot out on a slip lead. He didn't posture or behave nastily toward Valentine at the fence, so I opened the gate. Foxtrot mostly ignored him and paid complete attention to me (being somewhat of a nuisance, but I'm letting that slide for now). Only the smallest incident occurred when Valentine sniffed Foxtrot's rear and Foxtrot stiffened up & whipped his head around... I said his name and he swung his head back around toward me, relaxed instantly, and I praised him. He then happily followed me into the house and I shut the door behind us, wanting to end this "exercise" on a good note. We also had some cuddle time on the couch and he got to hang out with me in the kitchen while I got breakfast started, before he went back into his crate and I let the other dogs into the house.
We'll try again this afternoon and see how that goes. Foxtrot's intense bond with me is working toward a positive end. His choice is basically between getting love & attention from me or fighting with Valentine and this morning he chose positive attention from me instead of the latter.