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Dog Training/new dog intro/name


Thanks for taking my question, I actually have 2.

I now have a dog that is 11 months old. He is a Pitt Bull/German Shepherd/Chow mix.

Yea I know.

He is fixed but not until a few weeks ago so he is an alpha. BUT he loves other animals and always wants to play and is miserable if he doesn't please you (shaming works well with him and love overcomes food for him).

One day a puppy a llittle smaller than him was playing and got rough with him and pinned him down. Now my dog (Sirius) could have eaten this dog in one gulp but he just laid there quietly until this puppy calmed down. He doesn't bite and loves the cats and the neighbor's dog. But he is quite territorial and if he sees me coming he runs at me and barks, hackles up, until he recognizes me.

My sister is giving me her dog, a purebred Schnauzer. She has neglected this poor animal for the 6 years of its life. It goes from crate to chain in the yard back to crate. he is really sweet and very submissive with other dogs and likes cats. I think the dogs would be good for each other. They both need playmates and I will be working soon and do not want either dog to be lonely. Plus if I don't rescue my sister's dog I wont be able to live with myself.She is talking about taking it to a shelter!

So here are my questions. First, the Schnauzer's name is Janks, which I hate. At 6 years old how hard would it be to change the name totally, like to Schultzy or something, or must I stay with a similar name, I was thinking Jack, or must I leave it Janks (rhymes with yanks)?

Second, I am sure the dogs will get along once the new one is established at the house but I am not so sure how my dog will reach at first. I am thinking of introducing them in neutral territory, each on a leash, and letting them sniff each other out, then walking them home together and leaving them in the yard (we have an acre, fenced) then introducing Janks into the house, then our dog, over a couple days time. Is there a book or a website that shows me how or is this method ok? I don't think there will be a problem I think its a "guy thing"with Sirius.

Thank you for any help you can give. I want this new dog to feel loved but don't want our dog to feel neglected. Also the name thing bothers me, any suggestions?

Thank you again,  Diana

Hello Diana:

In answer to question #1, Yes you can change the name of a dog, it is considered best/easiest to pick a name that is simular, but you change change it to anything.  Just start using the new name as much as possible and reward each time "janks" looks at you when you say his new name.

#2 - You are right on target in your idea of how to introduce them to one another and you plan is sound.  As for books or references I can not think on one particular author, but am a great fan of Dr. Ian Dunbar, Stanley Coren and Dr. Bruce Fogle, so would sugest reading anything by these authors.

Aditionally; Spaying and Nutering will only affect those behaviours that are associated with breeding (territory, possesion).  When dealing with issues such as dominence,territory, one must be sure these are triggered by being Intact rather then it is the dogs natural nature.    Also, Spaying and Neutering do not give immediate results, as the hormone levels can remain high for upto six months, before they fully dissapate.  So beaware, that dominence, possesion same sex aggression may not go away immediately until hormone levels that trigger these behaviours have gone down.  Also we have to take into account the amount of time these behaviours have been present, as they can become habit over nature and re-training (counter Conditioning) may be needed.

I also was surprised to hear, that Sirius charges you, until you make it known it's you.  A dogs ability to scent (smell), should be letting him know it's you a lot sooner, also a dog's sight is in most circumstances better than ours, so again, the comment offer's some concern.
Have you had his eye's checked.  Some dogs scenting abilities are far lower than other's but they should be there, so teaching/working his nose, may be a benifit, to bring him back to nose,eyes,ears.

Lastly, I want to congrateulate you on your compassion for the well being of Janks and your offer to take him on.  

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