The pack was not complete anymore without the male dogs.
After the death of Lexxieboy in 2018, and Rowan last December, we noticed very much the two ladies that they missed the leadership of a male. Lana in particular was very busy, and she did not leave our little Myla alone anymore either. Myla on the other hand is really starting to get older and she couldn't really appreciate Lana's behaviour that much anymore.
In addition, we ourselves lacked the affection that male dogs often show much more when female dogs do that. And two bitches together often go less well if there is no male.
Yet we were not really searching, but more thinking that in the long term we would like to take on a dog that needed to be relocated. A German Shepherd dog looking for a new home.
Suddenly there he was ...
Coincidentally, through an internet site, we suddenly came across a German Shepherd dog of just 1 year, looking for a new home. His profile appealed to us, and we fell completely for his handsome appearance. We thought about it for a few days, because yes ... a pile of extra work is coming your way, and certainly in the beginning with a new dog it is a day's work. Mainly for me ... because of course my partner has to work. Money will also have to come in, otherwise you cannot yet take care of one dog. Let alone three!
What should we do?
After thinking about 3 days we decided to contact the people where the dog lived and that contact went well. According to them it was a very sweet social dog, but with a major problem that prevented him from acting. He barks terribly at other dogs when he is on a lead, and because of his size and weight that is of course not always pleasant. Certainly if you live in a busy residential area just like theirs, where you encounter a dog on every street corner, that is really a big problem.
After these people tried with the help of a behavioral therapist to change his behavior, and after three months had not been successful, they thought it was better to find a new home for him where he did not have these unpleasant incentives ... and there so we are in sight. Because we live freely, and have a large yard where the dogs can play ... and the woods within walking distance where we can walk reasonably easily without encountering other dogs, we can offer him what they could no longer do.
Trainable ... and yet not trainable.
You can train this behavior, of course, but not if you come across dogs that are walking off leash on every street corner whose owners don't understand what they are ruining for you and your dog. We don't really have that problem here. Of course you can come across dogs in the woods, but I have the advantage that I can walk at times when it is not busy. I can choose my own route, and therefore also choose to walk only where I have a good overview and can already see the problems from a very far distance and thus avoid those problems. Make sure that Skipper can get used to it at a great distance through play and distraction. In addition, he can of course always run and play as needed in our backyard.
Go with the flow.
Last Sunday we met Skipper for the first time. His previous owners have therefore taken the 2-hour journey with him to see how it felt for both parties. Of course we wanted to know for sure that we would have a good feeling ourselves if we would see the dog in real life, and very importantly, how it would go with our two ladies. Which are certainly not always the easiest. And his previous owners only wanted to let him go if they knew for sure that he would end up well.
What a handsome boy he is!
The first introduction was ... intense. Skipper barked and went to Myla like a madman. Myla stood barking for a moment, also showed all her teeth but was able to get back and walked nicely with me when I walked a bit with her to relieve the tension. My partner had deliberately waited a while with Lana to let her look a little further away first. Our Lana is also a dog who responds to everything and everyone and certainly for her a first quiet introduction is very much needed.
So there we went. In the woods during storm Dennis who passed our country at that time. Not the most ideal weather, but hey, everything for the dogs. Fortunately it stayed here with wind and despite the strong wind we were able to walk nice and dry. After fifteen minutes of walking I took Skipper to test how strong he is, because it was really said that he is extremely strong ... but both Myla and Lana pull harder, and Rowan could certainly pull harder too. Now that with a first walk and also in the first few weeks is not always decisive for his REAL behavior. Because you only get to know that after a few weeks. But it did provide good courage. Apart from that, we soon noticed that it is a sweet dog who wants to listen.
First walk together.
Halfway through the walk my partner took over Skipper to walk with him and that was also the moment that we slowly brought the dogs closer together. Walking nicely together and slowly the dogs walked side by side. A wonderful moment to see if you notice that it is going well, without one of the dogs really reacting to the other.
Unfortunately we could not repeat this several times, but that is just not doable with the distance from 2 hours each time, and after that they had to drive 2 hours back. So it was immediately a decision whether we would dare to include Skipper in the pack here. My partner was completely over, and even though the majority of the work ends up on my shoulders ... I also decided to go with Skipper.
So since last Sunday we can say that we have a pack of 3 dogs again. Now consisting of Myla, Lana and now Skipper.
Not the illusion that everything will work out smooth right away.
Of course, it is really not from one moment to the next all rose scent and moonshine. That is not possible either. The dogs must get to know each other, get used to each other, must accept each other. And the first 24 hours did not really go without skimping or snarling from the ladies to Skipper. This is something you can controle a little bit as a owner, but dogs can also let each other know where their limits are and you must allow that. It's not nice, but a new dog has to learn where its place is within the pack. Which does not automatically mean that he is or remains the lowest.
It will take time.
And even today on the second day there was still a lot of growling and snarling to hear and see. But it appears that Myla is very clear. She doesn't actually accept anything what he wants, but if she seeks contact, she does well. The difference is that Skipper stays very calm at her approach, and accepts that Myla has to be the one who initiates contact with him and not the other way around. Lana is not so clear in her signals, which means that Skipper does not respond calmly to her either. He wants to play with her right away, and although she seems to say so, when he starts playing, she realizes that she still doesn't want that. And then snarls him away. That is of course difficult for a young 1-year-old male, he just doesn't understand. As women are often unable to understand for men, that is also evident in dogs ... lol.
Skipper responds to this by trying to force her to play and this results in situations in which we have to intervene to prevent it from really getting out of hand. Skipper gets a short time-out, and as soon as he can enter again after a minute or two ... then he is calm again. However, it is also clear that especially our Lana needs to get the necessary training again.
But every day we see progress!
So now Skipper has been here for more than 48 hours and despite the growling ladies we can still say that we see progress. Yesterday he was allowed to lie on the floor for the ladies. Today he can lie on the bed we have for the dogs, next to the ladies. Yesterday he was not allowed on that bed by the ladies.
Every day I try to keep you informed in a short blog about his progress ... because as you can imagine, I am still too busy to be online a lot. And I really don't have time for a long blog.
The beautiful photos will be coming soon, but I now also consciously wait a little with that. First let this guy get used to his new situation. I think all those changes are more than enough for him ...
But it is certainly a good-looking guy to take pictures, so it really tickles in that respect. See you again soon.