Posted October 13, 2018 at 10:29 AM Under "Pet Behavior & Training"
Adding New Dog to Household

Hello, I am a Pet Assistance volunteer with our local Meals on Wheels program. I have been caring for an elderly client & her GerShepX male dog for2 yrs. The client will be going to assisted living in a few weeks & as there is no one in the family who will take the dog, I said I would bring him into my home. Now Chuga is approx 7 yrs old, neutered, current on vacs. He was found as a stray by a family member 6+ yrs ago, taken to client's home where he promptly climbed the fence then became almost totally a house dog, let out only 2-3 times for potty breaks. Very bonded to the client, shy when new people enter home, but not aggressive, doesn't leave client's side. Very friendly to me after 2 yrs of working with him. Since he is so bonded with the client, trying to put new collars/leads on him is difficult. He used to growl. Only way to get him out the door is if client goes towards the door with him. On 3 occasions I took him to vet, we gave a mild sedative. He did very well jumping into crate in my van, great meeting people at vet, not aggressive to other dogs in reception.Altho to be on the safe side, vet muzzled him for nail trims.

Now, I have 4 dogs, 12 yr old chow/aussie x F, 3 15-25lb mixed males. I have 8 indoor cats. Cats & dogs all get along well. NOW how do I intoduce & mix Chuga into my household? He has always lived as indoor only dog, no history of cats. I am nervous about this. Suggestions are greatly sought & welcomed.

  • August 01, 2020 at 06:10 AM

    Hi wmarine, congratulations on bringing a new family member into your home. Has Chuga met any of your other dogs yet? If not I would bring them outside to meet for the first time. Preferably, not on your property but in a neutral location. Do you have family members, or friends that can give you a hand with this?

    It would be really nice if there was a way for all of the dogs to go for a good, long walk together after meeting each other for the first time. This would bring them together in a good way. It would also tire them out a bit before coming into your home together for the first time. This will help set Chuga up for success. Tired dogs listen better.

    I think Chuga will likely copy whatever your other dogs do as far as the cats go. Dogs learn good and naughty behavior from each other. I would keep a close eye during the introduction. Maybe keep Chuga on a lead as a safety measure?

    We once adopted (long story) an adult 3 1/2 year old German Shepherd into our home. We already had a cat, a German Shepherd mix, and a Doberman. All were females. The dobie, and German Shepherd had a couple of "disagreements" at first, but became good friends later.

    Because of the way they got along at first we always kept a very close eye on everyone. When we went out we separated the German Shepherd from the Dobie and German Shepherd mix. After 2 years I realized we didn't need to do this, but it had become a habit. Eventually, all 3 dogs, and our cat came to be loving family members with each other. It took time and patience. But it was a joy to watch our girls eventually become friends.

    German Shepherds are intelligent, eager to please and intuitive, among other fabulous qualities. I believe once Chuga learns the ropes he'll do well. Just keep a close eye on things. You now have a pack. You probably already know but just in case remember that praise goes a long way.

    Please keep us posted on this, and if you have more questions please ask them here.

    I wish you all the very best with this.

    Thank you for your service.