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Advice needed on introducing puppy to large dog

Discussion in 'Doberman Puppies' started by SaeLaChapelle, Aug 31, 2018.

  1. SaeLaChapelle

    SaeLaChapelle Novitiate

    So I recently got a new member to the family Remi who is the sweetest of dogs but her breeder had never really socialized her with people or other dogs. She's about 3 in a half months and gets along great with my min pins, but any other animal, especially anything bigger than her she's weary of. Without knowing this my father brought over a female mastiff named Lucy who I usually dog sit. She's is a very kind girl who loves to play especially with little dogs. I was out of town when this happened and sadly remi didn't take it well. I guess she urinated herself and boxed up in a corner snarling and snapping. I'm upset this was her first experience with a big dog. He also tried to introduce her to a great dane we were caring for resulting in the same response.
    Now, sadly and suddenly I have to take Lucy again for the weekend (this event happened weeks ago). Her owners bought a male mastiff from out of state but were not informed he was aggressive and he attacked Lucy pretty viciously so her owners are bringing him back. They need us to care for her in the meantime.
    I need advice as to how to reintroduce the dogs. I do have options: if this doesn't work out I have an office outside my house my father is willing to stay in with Lucy. However I would like remi to have a good experience and be able to get along with Lucy since they could be good playmates, plus it obviously makes future dog sitting available again. I do have a large fenced in yard and was debating whether to put then both in it and try to have remi get brave enough to approach Lucy on her own, but Lucy isn't trained to relax and I worry she might try to bound towards her again (I will have father and another man there to hold her back just in case). I could also try to coax them from the other side of the fence, try to get them close with a barrier between them?
    I don't want to scar my little girl, so any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Although I've raised dogs all my life I've never experienced a fear response to this level before and am at a bit of a loss.
    Thank you all for your time.

  2. Gelcoater

    Gelcoater Expert ThreadCrapper $ Premium Subscriber $ Hot Topics Subscriber

    I think I’d make introductions off site of where you intend them to actually interact. Neutral territory if you will.
    And walk.
    As a pack.

    I don’t really even let them smell each other out first. Just a walk to burn down some anxiety and energy.
    It will take some correction along the way.

    Then let them smell each other out.
    Then more walking, to the place you really want them to be.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. JanS

    JanS DCF Owner Administrative Staff Moderator Hot Topics Subscriber


    I'm sorry you're going through this and I agree that working them together in neutral territory is a good place to start. Don't coddle her when she shows fear and just keep doing what you're doing so you don't acknowledge her fears. At 3.5 months she could be going through a fear stage and it might take a little extra time, but it can be done.
    Keep use posted.
  4. Tropicalbri's

    Tropicalbri's $ Premium Subscriber $ Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    This may take a lot of work on your part and that of another person to work with you in getting her over this fear.

    Being calm and confident in your behavior is crucial because if you are nervous or concerned your dobe will pick up on it immediately.
    If at all possible I would enlist the help of a qualified trainer. Since she is so young forced walking for any distance would not be good for her growing bones. Walking on lead in back yard would be ideal. Have your dad walk the mastiff and you leash walk your girl. Have plenty of treats to keep it positive for her while you work the dogs together.
    Like @JanS said, don’t coddle fearful behavior, it only reinforces the behavior. Perhaps you could leash up the little dogs too and walk them all together so she can see the interaction between the little dogs and big dog. Don’t force her to interact but allow natural curiosity with her. It’s just going to take time and the mastiff needs to be calm and controlled while around your girl.
  5. SaeLaChapelle

    SaeLaChapelle Novitiate

    Thank you for the couple of replies!
    We ended up putting up a gate yesterday in the hall. I placed my puppy on one side with a shut door about 10 feet back and the mastiff remained on the other side. Lucy is super gentle and all she did was generally ignore the puppy and lie on the floor. I kept giving my Remi little pieces of hot dog until she found herself at the bars of the gate sniffing at the mastiff. I was shocked there was no crying or urinating like my father told me happened last time.
    Let them go outside together and after a while (maybe an hour?) and Remi found herself very curious. Again, the mastiff generally ignored her this time allowing Remi to walk up to her when she felt comfortable. We then took them out on a walk and Remi kept following behind the mastiff (but would run when the mastiff turned usually).
    Its now the next day and although Remi is mostly just sleeping in my room she finds herself wandering out into the rest of the house with the mastiff. She walks past her fine (no hair standing up, no defensive posture, no real running unless the mastiff stands up quick) and seems more curious than afraid.
    Shes only got one good eye (the other is blind? Her breeder says she was hurt in the womb and she was afraid her "value" was lost) so shes easily startled. I'm hoping this entire experience was a good one for her and I didnt cause any damage.
    Thank you all again!

    Attached Files:

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  6. JanS

    JanS DCF Owner Administrative Staff Moderator Hot Topics Subscriber

    This all sounds perfect and I'm glad it's happening so quickly! It really helps that the Mastiff is so laid back and lets Remi come to her when she's comfortable.
    I actually had to let our two get to know each other through gates for a weekend too since our adult female scared the heck out of the male when he first came home. They started playing like crazy through the gate the first day and after the weekend I let them together and they've been inseparable since.
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