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HAPPY UPDATE POST 10- Setting Dogs Up for Success- 2 Females

Hey everyone! So I’m currently a vet student living in a group-housing situation which I’d like to continue in for next year. The only problem is my dog, Fergie. The landlords are fine with dogs, and I live in a house with plenty of access to trails/etc. so all of that is fine, but my current housemate (who plans on living here next year) has a female beagle (Sydney).

Fergie and Sydney met this summer, but it wasn’t a very happy meeting (growling/snarling but we pulled them away before it got messy). I sent Fergie home with my parents, but I miss her a lot more than I expected to (silly me, thinking I’d be okay without her!) and also my parents’ work hours mean that she is alone in the crate for most of the day.

Fergie goes to a doggie daycare where she is constantly turned out with other dogs, and they’ve never had an issue with her (they actually LOVE her there). And Sidney has lived with other dogs, and we have 2 other dogs in the house now (both of whom Fergie was fine with). So I’m not sure if it’s an estrogen thing, or what, but Fergie and Sydney did NOT hit it off.

My current plan is to find alternative housing. I’ve already started looking for this and have a group of people that are also interested in finding something next year.

But other than this one fact, I REALLY like my living situation and Jesse (Sydney’s owner) doesn’t want me to leave! Our current plan is to try a re-introduction in January before spring semester classes start. Given that neither dog is poorly socialized, I’m hopeful that we can do things better this time and work them up to the point where they at least tolerate each other. Since I keep Fergie in a crate when I’m not around, they don’t need to be best friends, and they’d never be left together
unsupervised. All I need is for them to be cordial enough that they don’t try to rip each other to shreds.

We are planning to meet at an extremely neutral location and take them for a walk together, but other than that, I’d love some advice on how the meeting should be orchestrated. Has anyone had a similar situation and made it work? Thanks in advance!

Also, as a reward for reading this far, here are the pups:

Fergie engaged in her second-favorite activity (her favorite is running around like a lunatic)
Sydney wanted to take herself for a walk.

I was going to ask if the first meeting was in a neutral location. A spot where one dog has the advantage/the other dog feels like they’re confused is not a great spot for introductions.

Take them out to a neutral spot and keep them active/walking/fetching, or playing nicely with a toy together if they can handle that. Then bring them back inside after they’re tired. Don’t bring food into the picture at this point. (Whether it’s treats or feeding them dinner when you get in.)

The first meeting was outside not far from the house, so I’m thinking Sidney might have been a little threatened/territorial.

Thanks for the advice, and any more ideas/suggestions are much appreciated!

I think you’re on the right track about the first meeting being too close to the dog’s territory. I’m assuming both animals are spayed? I think if it doesn’t go well the next time, that the crating idea should work. Just get a backup plan if the animals don’t develop a neutral attitude, or things go south.

I think you’re on the right track about the first meeting being too close to the dog’s territory. I’m assuming both animals are spayed? I think if it doesn’t go well the next time, that the crating idea should work. Just get a backup plan if the animals don’t develop a neutral attitude, or things go south.[/QUOTE]

Yup, I’ve got my backup plan. Luckily the rental housing market up here starts picking up in January-February, so I’ll be able to plan for next year. If it isn’t working, Fergie can go back with my parents for the remainder of the semester so that we don’t have to deal with separating them constantly while also juggling our crazy schedules.

Take each dog separately on a brisk 45 min walk. Then go get the other dog and walk both together briskly for another 20 min without stopping to sniff grass/each other. Then bring to a fenced area, and walk around fenced area, and drop the leash of the less submissive one, and keep walking the other one around. Then drop leash of other dog and keep walking and moving away so that neither dog will be possessive of you.
Make sure there are no food/toys that can be a source of resource guarding.

Thought I’d share an update here as a thanks for the good advice I’ve been given. Unfortunately, due to weather and practicalities, we haven’t been able to follow all of it, but things seem to be going pretty well!

Yesterday, we met in a parking lot (totally neutral) and walked them around for maybe a half hour. At first, both were barking/jumping/going crazy, but eventually they settled down to the point where I could stand a few feet from the other owner and chat and neither dog was paying much attention to the other.

In the house, we’ve got a system of baby gates and each dog spends most of their time with their respective owner, so it hasn’t been too much of a hassle.

Taking them for a walk was pretty much out of the cards today because of the windchill, but based on our success yesterday, we decided to let them both be in the kitchen on leashes this afternoon. There was much less barking, and just casual but friendly interest in each other. They kept a distance for the most part, and at the very end touched noses (all movements were regulated by them, we didn’t force anything). After a few seconds, we pulled them apart and gave lots of praise, and then called an end to that session.

If they continue to progress at the current rate, I think they actually might even turn out to be FRIENDS!

Patience and lots of exercise are your friends. Will both dogs retrieve? I would take both on a walk together with you and your friend. Then, I would throw balls for them using a ball thrower so they are exhausted. Then, they may decide to be friends. We have had our females fight when we brought the second adult into the household. They have always worked it out over time.

Unfortunately, neither of them is interested in retrieving (to Fergie, the only purpose of any toy is to chew on it until it is unrecognizable).

I’m hoping we can go for a nice long walk together tomorrow- the weather should be even warmer than the 15 degree heat wave we had today…

Today we had conflicting schedules and didn’t get to work with them at all, but when I brought Fergie out for her nighttime poop, Sydney did not bark at her through the baby gate as she usually does, so we’re still making progress.

I know it’s going to take time, and I’m willing to give it that as long as I know I’m getting somewhere!


Took them for a walk this evening, and neither of them was even interested in the other. It’s kind of funny because their personalities are almost identical in most ways, and so they were both tracking the same scents and kept bumping into each other (and not even reacting).

It will still be some time before I trust them off leash in the house together, but things are looking very promising indeed.

Here’s a grainy, dark picture that my friend snapped on his iPhone during our walk:

Fergie and Sydney