Today we did intro work with the boys, shock horror.
For anybody who doesn’t know, Zoey royally screwed up our plans to have Rey and Kasper be happy with each other…whilst she was struggling with panic, she was very much grumpy and over-excited 24/7.
She’d been making fantastic progress in being calm around puppy Raiden, but with the anxiety came behaviour that was just way, way too OTT…she couldn’t focus and her playing was wild.
Because we couldn’t shut Zoey in her crate, or even in another room, without her freaking out, this obviously stalled our introductions between Kasper and Rey. We couldn’t introduce the boys because Zoey couldn’t be on her own, ever.
Those two months trying to battle Zoey’s panic were pure hell.
After rehoming Zoey, Raiden was already 6 months old, and Kasper adapts *so* much easier to puppies than older dogs, he especially hates adolescent dogs. He’s never stepped out of line or done anything that wasn’t appropriate, but he is quick to put them in their place.
For months we just crate and rotated – we were getting our lives back, my mental health was slowly improving, and we were all finding our feet and recovering from the loss of Zoey.
I should add that the boys’ crates are opposite each other in the kitchen, so they’re very used to seeing each other.
The main idea behind our house swap was mainly because it would help with Kasper & Rey intros – we can have one room baby gated off, and have the dogs able to see but not get to each other.
This is vitally important, as Kasper is a resource guarder. Having him safely separate means the dogs could easily be thrown treats, have Kongs etc with no fear of guarding.
With most dog training things, the responsibility usually falls onto my shoulders…I love dog training and all things dog, but sometimes alongside the other pets and Bipolar mood swings, it does feel like a huge responsibility.
Sometimes I feel like I’m drowning, and I put things off and put things off…and then suddenly today here I was, hypomanic, and ready for the first intro!
We had Kasper gated off in his beloved princess tent with numerous puzzle toys.
He was really calm and happy in there, which was awesome.
We gated access off to that room and brought Raiden up. Rey could see Kasper, Kasper could see Rey, but the closest they could get to each other was about six feet.This meant they could easily both have puzzle feeders with no anxiety.
Both pups were entirely happy emptying their puzzle feeders (Kasper had a Traxx, Raiden a Toppl), and after that I spent about 15 minutes training Kasper because Raiden had no interest in hanging about near us!!
I took that as a good sign 🙂
Eventually Raiden came close, and I fed treats to them both.
On their parts the dogs showed zero interest in each other, they were either entirely focused on me or Rey was off paying attention and doing tricks to try earn goodies off my partner!
It was really cool. I expected some level of excitement, especially from Rey, but they were both so chilled.
It went way better than expected.
Not sure what my next step is.
As I said, intro’ing Kasper to anything other than puppies is tricky, because he would definitely growl and chase Rey away if he knew I had treats and Raiden approached.
Even if he so much as thinks I have food upon mt person, he will be too interested in me to interact with Rey at all, other than to tell him to back off.
I also want these two to practice being calm around each other rather than encourage them to play. Raiden is an incredibly rude player after essentially having zero socialisation with dogs, and again initially that wouldn’t sit well with Kasper.
There’s no malice to Raiden, but if he ran right up to Kasper and started bouncing madly in his face, my god would Kasper not be impressed 😀
I think the next step is to reduce the distance between them, and observe their comfort level.
Although the initial process might be hard to fathom and slow going, I’m hopeful that these two can become ‘proper’ brothers and enjoy play time together further down the line 🙂
We’ll just have to see how it goes.