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Dog Training/Introducing rescue dog


Hi, my mom just rescued a 3-4 y/o Great Dane. He was just neutered prior to us getting him. We have 6 other large dogs at the house. When we introduced them there was some growling but he seemed more scared than anything. That night the other intact male (we actually just got him fixed a couple weeks ago. He was just turning one) got into a fight. Since then there has been several fights between him and three other dogs. He gets along great with the other three though, but they are pretty easy going and one is the alpha female. I am bringing the dog to live with me because it just isn't a good fit at my moms. My problem is the house I am bringing him to has 5 other dogs. (I stay with a family) They are all female except one. One is a very submissive yellow lab, one is a almost year old great dane female, two are jack russels, and the male is a border collie.The one jack is a young and very rambunctious the other is older and the alpha. What are some suggestions for introducing them that provides the best chance for success. I want to do it a lot slower than we did at my moms and I am also hoping since the majority are female he will be more tolerant. He will also be soley my dog and won't have to compete with the others for my attention which is another issue at my moms.

Lauren, do scent introductions first.  Keep the resident dogs in the house while you let the Dane roam the backyard to sniff around, pee and leave his scent.  Don't allow the resident dogs to see the Dane in the backyard.  After a while, rotate the resident dogs outside while you let the Dane explore the house. Again, no visual contact.

Designate a room or rooms that will be dedicated to the Dane and keep him separated from the residents dogs for the first week. Rotate the dogs in and out of the house as described above. Swap dog beds between the resident dogs and the Dane during this time period.

After the week is up and all the dogs are less excited about the new smells, work on introducing the Dane and the least threatening resident dog off the property and preferably off-leash.  If you can't do off-leash, then at least a loose long 10-15' line. Ideally, I would do this in a fenced lot or someone else's yard, or even a dog park.

If all goes well during the first meeting, have him meet all the dogs this way over a couple days time, if possible. Then walk them into the backyard together.  Since they've assimilated each other's smells and got acquainted in a neutral location, you should have a lesser chance of posturing and potential dog fights.

Let me know if you have any questions.

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Barb Gadola, CPDT-KA, KPA CTP


I can answer questions related to problem dog behaviors, teaching polite manners, puppy raising, and any type of training-related issues. My website page, offers a wealth of information on training and behavior issues as well.


I've been training dogs since 1989 and own and operate Distinctive Dog Training LLC in Keller TX. I specialize in providing practical and positive solutions for families through personalized training in their home.

Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner
Victoria Stilwell Positively! Licensed Trainer
Association of Pet Dog Trainers
Association of Animal Behavior Professionals
Truly Dog Friendly Coalition

BS in Education
Graduate work in Behavioral Psychology
Karen Pryor Academy Dog Training Program
Certified Professional Dog Trainer

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