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How to introduce dogs to each other
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This is a story I've been working on for a while.
There is a little over a month between my dog's first meeting with my new baby boy, and her second meeting with him.
I had been planning on this dog's life for years, from her first puppy playdate. It was inevitable that they would meet, even if it was years away.
So I started thinking about how to introduce the two of them, and what I could do to make this transition as smooth as possible.
The only things I could really control, were how much I let them get to know each other before the big day, and how much time they would be with each other when the actual introduction happened.
But, my instinct as a dog lover was to want to give her as much time with her new friend as possible. And I knew that would probably be a bad idea, as that little boy is an emotional mess, and has never met a stranger.
I wanted to make sure she had plenty of time to get comfortable with him, without me there making things complicated for them.
So, the best I could do was to set the wheels in motion the day before, and then be with her the entire time, until the introduction.
And it didn't take her long to get used to her new brother!
And when the moment of truth finally came, she walked right up to him, without a second of hesitation.
It was a little bit scary for me, because I wanted to make sure that she was ok, and she seemed to be doing just fine.
And then, it finally happened!
And there was my sweet girl, laying her head on my little guy's chest, and loving on him!
He was shocked, and obviously didn't expect this reaction.
And so, I started thinking about how I can make sure this situation is not repeated, in the future.
So I asked myself, if I could predict what might happen, and give my dog a head's up, how could that help?
And the only logical answer was "yes, I can!"
The reason I know this is possible is because I have done this with another dog, at an adoption event.
And I have seen how their relationship has blossomed, because I made the connection before they had met.
So I thought I should be able to do the same with this situation.
It will probably be a lot of work, but I can plan ahead, and make the most of my time with both dogs, instead of being constantly concerned about my dog getting too attached to her new brother, or feeling bad when she doesn't react the way I wanted her to.
I also wanted to do the best I could to give her the maximum amount of attention.
It can be very scary for puppies, and I wanted to make sure that she feels loved, and she has the chance to bond with my little guy, even if that meant I was a little more attentive than usual.
So I had three main questions, when I was planning this out:
Is this a problem that needs to be addressed now, or later?
Is this situation likely to happen again, and is it something I need to be concerned about?
Do I need to be concerned about my dog getting too attached to her new friend, before meeting him again?
I decided, that this was a situation where the answers to these questions, were yes, it needed to be dealt with now, and yes, it was likely to happen again.
So, how to plan for a puppy/new dog situation
I have been planning to meet my puppy's new little brother as soon as he was old enough.
I had thought about it for a long time, and I knew this was the right decision, because he is such a good-natured little guy, and I didn't want him to be scared or overwhelmed.
He has had the chance to meet other dogs, and he has even met other humans.
He has been through some pretty traumatic situations, so meeting this new little girl was no problem for him.
The only thing I really worried about, was that he might try to leave, after he met her.
And so, the night before they met, I made sure that I had plenty of treats, and water.
It was pretty easy to make sure he was comfortable, by putting some pillows on his bed, and laying a warm blanket on him.
He was still a little too young, to come to my house, so I had to pick him up in the middle of the night, and take him there.
He slept soundly, until I woke him up.
And we started our little adventure.
I put the puppy on the bed, so he was as close to the door as possible.
I walked into the room, and he just stared at me.
He was scared, because he didn't know where he was, and I was a little nervous, too, because I wasn't sure what he was thinking.
He had been through a lot, and I couldn't imagine what he was thinking.
But the sweet thing was, that as soon as he saw me, he put his head on my chest, and just lay there.
And I could tell that he was a little comforted by this.
Because this is what he needed.
And I couldn't even imagine the stress this was taking off him, just trying to figure out his new surroundings.
And I knew, I needed to make sure he felt safe, and I could see that he was.
I was relieved, and then started to wonder about the little girl he would meet, later.
He was also a bit startled, when he realized that she