Anyone who has ever loved a reactive dog knows that it isn’t a cut-and-dry thing. You have to experiment with your dog, learn his triggers, then work with what you can figure out.
With Lucas, for example, we realized that the first rule of dog-dog introductions – introduce new dogs on neutral ground so that no one feels territorial – does. not. apply. At all. Most places other than home feel unsafe to him, but when he meets dogs where he’s comfortable, he does much better. We also know that the leash makes him lose his mind, so off leash interactions are better if they can be safely managed.
Lucas and Molly have gotten to know each other in very controlled circumstances over the last few weeks. It was tense at first – she had NO idea how to behave appropriately with another dog, and he doesn’t react well to any rudeness. She spent a bunch of time with Emmett and Cooper, and she started to learn better behavior.
Which brings us to last night.
Every night, we’ve been bringing them all upstairs to the big room above the garage. One side of this large room is my desk and workspace, the other side is where our TV is, and the middle has a table. Last night, we went up with Molly on leash but we’ve been letting her and the boys roam a smidge. We turned on Modern Family and settled in when all of a sudden, Lucas started play bowing Molly! Out of nowhere he decided it was GO TIME!
John pulled out his phone and got a bit of video. It’s hard to film in this room because it’s dark – the walls are orange, the floors are orange, the ceiling is brown – but you’ll get a sense of what’s going on. A few things I noticed: Molly is super unsure at first. Her fur is raised and she’s doing a high flicky wag instead of a low loose wag. She also takes some pretty rude stances, as does Lucas. As time went on, they got better, but… I would LOVE to know what you see.
(Note: We were totally prepared with cups of water for emergency dousing, Molly’s leash on in case we needed to quickly extract her, and cans of cheese placed around the room. Plus, I tried to keep the other two dogs out of it because, as you know, that tends to escalate things too quickly, especially for dogs like these two.)
What do you see? What do you think? Any similar cues or signs that you’ve noticed in your dogs? Anything that would worry you here?