Dog Training/reintroducing dogs
Hi! I have a 3 yr old female, spayed springer spaniel and a 9 mo old male, intact great dane. When we got our dane, our springer was not very happy and it was taking time for them to get along. I think it was a fairly typical bringing-a-new-dog-into-the-house situation. However, when our dane was about 4 months old (this past spring), our springer tore her acl. We've been trying to rehab her without surgery so she has basically been confined to her crate or little kitchen corral since then. If we let her out to hobble around the house a bit we always crate our dane because he wants to jump all over her and play. We have finally admitted defeat and are getting our spaniel an MRIT this week. Here's my question: after our spaniel heals, how the heck do we reintroduce the two dogs? The dane was tiny when the spaniel went into confinement and now he's huge. They weren't getting along all that well when they were separated and I'm afraid the dane is just going to trample the spaniel when given the opportunity. He's very strong and only semi-obedient…we're still working on his training. Any advice would be much appreciated! Thank you!
Thanks for your email, Wendy. I've been considering your question all day and trying to come up with something that might help. Here are some thoughts:
You have to consider the possibility that these 2 dogs may never get along and plan for that. If they weren't getting along when you had them separated, chances are that they are not going to get along when you attempt to allow them to be together.
Between now and the time the spaniel is all healed up, concentrate like crazy on getting the Dane trained so that he's extremely responsive to your cues. Find a positive trainer in your area to help. Check for credentials like CPDT, CDBC, KPA-CTP or memberships in organizations: PPG, APDT, VSPDT, IAABC.
Find an outlet for the Dane's physical exercise requirements - a playmate his age and size would be great. If there are good doggie day cares in your area, have him spend a day or two a week there so he won't be so desperate to play with the spaniel.
Here's the best article I know of on how to introduce a new dog into the household: http://www.petmd.com/dog/training/evr_introducing_a_new_dog_to_a_resident_dog
. However, I'm not sure how much of it will apply to you since the dogs have already been living together and you've basically been already doing what the article recommends.
I'm sorry I can't offer much in the way of a perfect solution for you. Good luck and let me know if you have further questions or comments.