Raising A Creative Canine

The introduction of a new puppy into a reactive multi-dog household

Reactive Dog Update

Kayden/Austyn Interaction No Comments »

Kayden has been dealing with the puppy’s arrival quite well. Kayden is exposed to Austyn from behind the baby gate and when I carry Austyn from room to room. So far Kayden has remained somewhat calm as the transitions are being made. If Kayden should start to get over-stimulated, I quietly tell him to “Back up” and he does so. Kayden has already been taught this behavior.

The one scenario where I have to refresh the cue is when I am putting the puppy in his crate. Kayden has a habit of pushing past the other dogs to see what I am doing. When I verbally tell him to “Back Up” in these situations, he does move away but only for a few steps. He still wants to have his head right there. This behavior will have to be retaught in this situation.

Some experimental exercises I have done with them both:

One was to take them both out into the yard (we have a huge yard) and I would click and feed “anything and everything” that Kayden did that was appropriate with the puppy. So he would run around us and then decide when to come in for clicks and treats. The nice thing about this is that, because the yard is so big, he gets up speed and then comes in smoothly for a sit. The sit is his default behavior and I love that he chose to do it in this scenario. This exercise helps him go from crazily running around to coming and sitting calmly with Mom and the puppy. (only to happily run off again!)

The other exercise was to insert Austyn into his favorite game in the world, “Two Ball.” I throw a tennis ball in one direction, he retrieves it, and then I ask him to drop it. Once he drops it, I throw the other tennis ball in the opposite direction. And so it goes. I inserted Austyn into this game by helping me get Kayden’s “off” ball. Austyn is with me on a leash and I switch between having him walk with me and by me carryng him. By watching Austyn become part of his favorite game, Kayden did very well.

Please note that the two games played above are set up taking Kayden’s issues into account. I know that, first and foremost, it would be highly unlikely that Kayden would actually bite the puppy (if this was the case I would have never added a new puppy to the household as I had not with Ben) and I also know that Kayden, as long as he has enough room, will not come in and confront the puppy.

Although both dogs seem to be enjoying each others company in this limited way, I want to go slow. It is so easy to think that all is fine and that nothing is going to happen. And if something does happen, it can take literally years to repair if not at all.