A new family member is exciting for both 2 and 4-legged ones.
I wrote about our first steps with Kute and how socializing is so important, but in that post I skipped one of the first challenges he had to face: joining our pack.
Koda was the first one to meet Kute (and actually the whole litter), he joined me a few times in the puppy yard. He is the nicest, coolest, most socialized dog of mine, I knew, that he will not hurt the small ones.
First he found it a bit overwhelming when suddenly 6 puppies were running towards him, and he tried to run away from them, which of course triggered them even more, they were chasing him around. He then realized, that they want to play, so he wanted to do that too, but ended up scaring the puppies, because he is quite rough. So I just took him out until everyone was still quite happy.
He joined me a few other times after that too, but then met Kute inside the house. He was not so interested in him, laid down in his bed instead, but Kute would not leave him alone. He was growling and moved away. Still, the puppy was after him, so he had to keep on going away and growling, and then when he was fed up, he snapped at Kute. Not the type, when he wants to hurt him, he didn’t stand up and he did not even touch him I think, but oh, the drama after it. Kute acted like his life was over.
The reason why I am telling this is because we did not punish Koda, because he was communicating his intentions well and Kute had to learn to respect his boundaries. I find this very important, and there was a reason we started out with Koda. The others are not so good at controlling their moves and could’ve hurt Kute unintentionally.
I also could’ve stopped Koda and just take Kute out… But if this happens when he is a teenager, than the boys might react differently. I don’t believe in letting the puppies do anything and only limiting the adults. The same way I don’t like it, when people let their kids do anything with their dogs and are surprised if something happens…
Tivo and Nina were a bit harder cases than Koda, but also managed to get used to the little black devil quickly.
Nina has a reputation unfortunately to attack dogs, especially if she is unsure, so we were extra careful with her. She got to sniff Kute only in our arms first, then meet him on leash. She had no bad moves, and as soon as she realized she is “one of us” there were no problems. Still, as long as she did not play with him they were never left unattended. I knew that once she is playing with him, she will not hurt him.
Tivo was the worst… He is getting old, and he was scared of Kute. Scared, that he will jump on him and hurt him, so to avoid that he growled even if Kute just came close. To try to reduce the tension between them we went out walking together or just to the beach, because then Kute’s focus was on other things mostly, he was not so interested in Tivo, which helped a lot to just get them used to each others existence. Still, the two of them were almost always separated, and we tried to let them be together once Kute was more tired and less playful.
Today they go well together. Tivo can still growl sometimes, but he got used to Kute being here, running up and down chasing toys and dogs. He doesn’t get stressed by it anymore and that is the key word here. The reason I did not do the same with him as with Koda was because while one was just getting a bit annoyed and telling his boundaries, the other one was stressed and scared in the situation, and therefore acted differently too.
I am happy, that by now everyone goes well together, I don’t have to separate them or stress what happens if I run to the toilet and leave all the dogs together. In order to achieve that I had to know my own dogs, read their body language, be cautious and do everything step by step. I introduced them one by one, because packs act differently together, I did not want it to be overwhelming for Kute either, and because I could keep a better eye on 2 dogs than 4. I won’t lie, it was tiring in the beginning, constantly separating them, keep a close eye on them, be a bit nervous sometimes about their reaction to each other. But afterall it was all worth it.