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Introducing our dogs to each other

Posted Dec 05 2009 1:10pm


Lydia, Archie, & Mason. Guess who they're looking at! Hint: Jim has treats.

For the past month and a half my boyfriend Jim and I have been taking steps to get our dogs used to each other. One of the first introductions didn’t go so well. Mason, Jim’s dog, was overwhlemed and had a seizure. That ended the intros for a while then we stepped back a bit and made some very deliberate and slow steps to bring them all together.

Short introductions

The first thing we did was introduce Mason and Archie to each other on neutral ground. We let them sniff each other, went for a walk, and then let them play in Mason’s yard for just a few minutes. That was the end of that visit. We did the same with Lydia the next day.

Mason hasn’t been around many other dogs so he didn’t quite get it when they’d get a little upset with him. And since Lydia can be a bit uppity, she’s the one I’ve been the most worried about. There were a few growls and snarls during each of the introductions, but no knock down – drag out fights!


Archie & Mason romping at the doggie daycare

Introductions at a doggie daycare

Our next step was to take them to Southpaws Playschool, an Austin doggie daycare, and let them interact there. The first thing we did was let Mason run around the big training room by himself for a while. After he checked out the room really well we brought Archie in and let them interact a bit. Both of them got plenty of treats during this process – it was all positive and happy – and they heard “what a good boy” and “good doggie” quite a few times!

Following some Mason – Archie time, we took Archie out of the room and brought Lydia in. Again – it was all positive, with plenty of treats, and lots of happy talk. As expected, Lydia got a bit snappy and gave him the ‘what for’ a few times, but nothing too aggressive.

When the two of them felt more comfortable, we brought Archie back in and let everyone get to know each other as a group. It went quite well, but not so much that we were ready to do it at one of our houses. So we took everybody home (to their own homes!) and did the same thing the following weekend. It went even better the second time around, so we made plans for another in-home intro.

The animal communicator

In addition to the controlled introductions we had animal communicator Vicki Holt, of Animals Reign, talk to everybody. She had to explain the situation to everbody but she said they all agreed to give each other some slack. Since Mason hasn’t been around that many dogs, he has to learn a few rules and manners. And since my dogs know the rules (their version, at least!) they need to be patient as they teach them to Mason.

The only thing Mason told Vicki that causes us some concern is that he sees Tequila (my cat) as a toy. So, Tequila has a nice comfy guest room where she spends her time while Mason’s here. She spends a lot of time sleeping in there anyway so it’s not that big of a change for her. I think she likes the quiet time.

Mason and Archie

Mason and Archie


After our doggie intros and session with Vicki Jim brought Mason over again. At first the three dogs were on edge with a few little growls and snaps. There was a sudden change though and Archie and Mason started playing – play bows, happy barks, playful body slams. Jim and I watched them for probably fifteen minutes before we corralled everybody outside and let them have fun out there. It was great! The two of them acted as if they’d just found their new best friend. Lydia got in on the action now and then too but she was content to go off and do her thing while the boys played.

Mason’s been here a few times since then and they’ve all done really well. It’s good to finally have our kids getting along!

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