Sunday, November 3, 2013

Introducing a new puppy

This week we got our chance to see how Indie might react to having a puppy in the house.  We're puppy sitting Ava this weekend, a two month old ~4 lb chi/min-pin mix that my sister in law just adopted.  Indie is not territorial of our house, just his toys and food. So other dogs can come in no problem.  Here's what I did:

1) Have a safe area set up for the puppy. This consists of a wire pen with a protective floor cover, a bed, pee pad, toys, and food and water in it. This way, if anything happens, you can grab up the puppy and have a safe place to put them while you put out any other "fires."

2) Young puppies should only be out playing for about about 1-2 hours at a time, then they need an equivalent nap.  This is where your pen comes in handy. Put the puppy in a crate in the pen and cover the crate with a light sheet to block out visual stimulation

3) Feed the puppy in this pen so that the bigger dog doesn't get the food and/or (in our case) the little puppy doesn't try to get the bigger dog's food!

Here's how our puppy introduction went:
At first, Indie was very possessive about his toys and was annoyed as she followed him around the house trying to nip at him.  Oh course, when Indie was 2 months old this is what he did to older dogs so what goes around comes around! Muah ha ha... Anyhoo, if she tried to pick one a toy he would dart over super quick and snatch it away and growl at her.  We got on his case about that.  I said "No! Be nice!" and I got the toy from him and took it away so neither could have it.  Then later, I got two toys and played with them both simultaneously until they got used to being around each other.  One thing that really helps the process is setting up a puppy safe zone.  I have a 4ft x 4ft wire pen set up in the living room with an old blanket underneath.  This way you have a spot to put the puppy where the dogs can see each other but not hurt each other or if your older dog is not tired and wants to keep playing, but the puppy needs a rest or a forced rest. This helps for feeding time as well.  In this case, the puppy won't try to eat your dog's food and vice versa (which was happening to us).

It's now day 2 and Indie seems to understand she's a puppy. He is being less possessive and more understanding today, yay! I honestly thought this week would be hell the way it was going.  Now, they wrasle around non-stop. They even ate out of the same bowl without growling at each other! Even so, I will continue to feed Ava inside her "safe zone" to make sure we keep the peace and ensure everyone is eating the right stuff. And now, here's the best action sequence EVER of them playing:

Indie is being SO good I can't believe it.  He's showing a lot of restraint with her.  He's rolling over on his belly all the time and letting her pounce and bite and he is barely mouthing her at all.  I see a lot of teeth flashing, but only Ava is making any contact.  In this video you can see them playing and see how Indie does these low growls to show he's frustrated by having to use restraint.

So far so good!  This makes me feel optimistic that Indie will love having a second dog around and can learn to share his toys, his human, and "his" home ;)

When I told my breeder how much we were enjoying Indie, I distinctly remember her saying "Mini's are like potato chips, it's hard to have just one!" Indie is now 1 year old and has endless energy.  Lately, I sometimes day dream about how nice it could be to have a second dog so that they can tire each other out.  We'll probably get another mini aussie from good breeder somewhere close to our new home in Arkansas (probably will find one in north Texas since are none in AR state). I'd like to caveat that I have worked very hard to socialize Indie so that any dog or person can come into our home and he won't be overly protective so your results may vary depending on what you've done with your puppy.

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