Sunday, November 1, 2009

Update on Tigger and Arrow

I have posted about Tigger twice before click here and here.
She came in to our lives in early Sept. while we were on our way back from the BCOA National Specialty in Lexington.

Our original plan was to keep her if things worked out. However, our eleven year old boy, Arrow, took an initial dislike to anyone else moving into his house—even if she was a cute brindle girl. The first time we let them loose in the back yard, he ran her down, knocked her over and attacked her.

What to do? We decided to take baby steps. We kept them in different rooms but walked them together at least once a day. During the walks, we let them sniff each other and sniff interesting places while they were walking together.

We would bring them in the same room and tether them to chairs at the opposite side of the room while we watched TV. Tigger slept locked up in a crate in our bedroom while Arrow slept on a chair in the bedroom.

After awhile, we found that one of us could walk the two dogs together without any problems. After a few weeks, after a walk, we dropped the leashes. They were too tired to squabble.

We were ready to give up after three weeks when Arrow attacked Tigger for no reason. We posted her to the BRAT website and even interviewed a few good prospective homes. When those homes didn't work out, we just kept up with the walks and other baby steps.

We were always careful to feed them in seperate rooms (Tigger while in her crate). If they had chews we made sure they were far apart.

After around five weeks, we noticed that they were starting to calm down. Arrow seemed to have accepted her into the pack. The only major squabble we have had recently was when she brought in a rawhide that she had previously hid in the back yard. The fact that she fought back rather than give up the rawhide seems to have made an impression on Arrow and he didn't go looking for trouble with her.

Tigger wants to play all the time but Arrow is still not interested. So, we take her to doggie day care once or twice a week so that she can play with other dogs. Maybe in time he will want to play but as long as they can peacefully coexist, we are happy.

The take home message is that integrating a new dog takes time. Sometimes several months. But, it is worth it in the end.

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