Introducing a dog with "issues" to basenjis
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  • So it looks like I will be moving to Ohio in about 11 months to move in with my boyfriend, and I would like any tips or advice on how to best introduce his special needs bulldog to my intense basenjis.
    His bulldog is a 4 year old male from a petstore. He adopted him at 10 months old when the first purchaser decided he couldn't care for a dog. He was a very happy, friendly puppy, but slowly, he started having some issues. He gets a little overwhelmed & over excited with people he doesn't know well, and sometimes seems to be surprised when they pet him, even if they've been petting him for a little while already. His warning is sometimes a sharp yelp as if he's in pain, which causes the person to immediately try to apologize & soothe Otto, which causes him to bite. Other times he doesn't seem to give a clear warning first.
    After my boyfriend had to have emergency surgery (his own fault for sealing a bite wound with nuskin) after a bite, he took his bulldog to the vet and to a trainer. The vet ran some tests, and it turns out Otto has trouble processing elevated stress hormones. The vet gave him a bunch of medicines to help him process these excess hormones, and the trainer worked with Aaron & Otto to determine some ways to help calm Otto down when he's getting excited as well as prevent him from getting too excited in the first place.
    My girls are almost 3 years old, and they are very friendly, but intense. Our plan for introducing them so far is as follows: For a few weeks before my move to Ohio, I will give Aaron a fleece blanket that smells like me and my dogs, and he will give me one that smells like him & Otto. This will help our dogs get used to one another's smells before they meet face to face.
    We will introduce them on neutral territory (the place we will be moving into). I will make sure to take my girls on a long walk before hand so they are a little more tired & calm. We will walk them together on leash so they can get used to one another without a face to face meeting. Then, we will introduce Otto to my dogs one at a time before allowing him to meet both together.
    We are wondering what other tips or advice anybody may have for helping this transition go more smoothly. We are also considering having Kingsley, Otto's best dog friend, there so he can help keep Otto calm and also deflect some attention from Otto so he doesn't feel overwhelmed. Kingsley is very friendly and there are no concerns about him getting along well with my dogs.
    Thanks guys!

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    If the new place is fenced, I would, once they have been walked together and gotten to smell eiach other, let them loose in the fenced back yard.
    You can have a hose on and ready, to use, if here is any type of "issue" but I would bet your issues will be when one dog is on the couch with his owner, and another dog wants to come up…
    Good luck and let us know how it goes.

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  • Sounds like you have things set up pretty well. My Bs can't stand bulldogs…something about the way they sound when they breathe, I guess. Has Otto been around many dogs, other than his friend? I think the success may depend on how he acts towards your girls....I doubt they will cut him much slack if he is rude. I wouldn't necessarily start out with Kingsley being there...one more dog could help, or could make it more chaotic.

    Also be aware that you need to watch your girls' relationships more closely for a while, because adding another dog can always create waves in the pack. Good luck! Where in Ohio?

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  • Nothing really to add about the introduction - it sounds like your thought process is right. Sharron's idea about having a hose handy is a good one.

    Also, +1 on Andrea's comment about watching your own girls for a period of time after the intro to see that their dynamic isn't changing. I can speak from experience about that when I added puppy Liyah to my pack of Ruby & Brando - there was definitely a shift in pack dynamic and the adults needed watching with each other because they would have spats.

    Is the bulldog neutered? And are both your girls spayed?

    Since you have 11 months before the move, is there no way that you can have 1/1 time with Otto and one girl (then with the other girl on another weekend). That way, they kind of all know each other - they just don't know each other all together.

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    One thing I would be leery of is leaving the dogs together unsupervised. Do you plan to confine the dogs when you are out? Personally, since Otto's problems are medical, I don't think I would ever leave them together.

    How well socialized are your girls to brachiocephalic dogs? What do you mean by "intense" with regards to your dogs? How often do your girls and Otto meet and play with new dogs? How well are the meds working for Otto?

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  • Sorry I haven't responded to this post sooner; I got busy & forgot about it. I don't check the forum nearly as often as I should.
    To answer above questions:
    My girls have both been around bulldogs before. Oddly enough, a guy I dated about a year ago had one, and although not outwardly aggressive or anything, they didn't seem to love her. She was attention starved though (first among reasons why a relationship did no develop with this guy…), and was very overwhelming, barreling around chasing them. They just tried to avoid her mostly. At dog shows and stuff, they don't seem to be weirded out by bulldogs.
    Otto does better with dogs than people, and he prefers small dogs/puppies to people. My girls seem to love everything except some other female basenjis. Otto is neutered, Lola is spayed, and Callie is not as she is currently being shown.
    Because the times we can visit one another are few & far between & having one on ones would require introducing them on Otto's turf, I don't think its feasible to introduce mine to Otto one at a time before the move.
    All three are crated when humans are not around, so leaving them out together unconfined is not an issue.
    My dogs are intense in that often when they meet a new dog, they will "rush" the dog, sniffing, etc. On leash, I don't allow this behavior with strange dogs, but at dog parks, etc, they sometimes can be overwhelming to more submissive or nervous dogs.
    My dogs are constantly meeting and playing with new dogs and are very well dog socialized. Otto is less so, but, again, tends not to have a lot of issues with smaller dogs.
    The meds have made a definite improvement in Otto's mood, but he still bites occasionally when he's overstimulated. The most recent occurrence was during a visit with my boyfriend's dad. His dad unwrapped a present that was in brown paper bag material. Otto was interested & started playing tug of war with dad. Otto got a little too excited, and when dad tried to calmly end the game, he got bit.
    Thanks for all the tips. Hopefully, everything will go just peachy, but we're trying to be as prepared as possible, with any little advantage possible.
    And Andrea, we will likely be in Richfield.

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