Upon arriving to my in-laws I left Viva in my car while D'light explored the yard. It had been two weeks since we were last down and he needed to smell what he'd missed!
Once D'light was done sniffing it was time to meet Viva. I had put a good amount of thought into this first meeting and I was pleased to have my in-laws very large yard for the meet up. I had both dogs in their harness and put the 50ft long line on Viva. I did this in case I needed to intervene and by having this equipment on them, it would make it easier to pick one of one of them up if needed. I also had high value treats to reward good choices that the dogs were going to make during the meet up. As I will talk about over and over - managing the environment is my job to assist everyone in being successful. Yes, it's a lot of work and requires vigilance and it's what needs to be done.
After watching the video's from the shelter of Viva meeting dogs - I assumed that she would push in to get at D'light's rear for sniffing, growling while she does this. The growling is a behavior she's practiced a lot in the shelter and she does it when she's uncomfortable. Again, my job is to sort out what in the environment is creating the growling behavior - you never want to punish a growl (here's a good article talking about growling The growl). I will work towards managing the environment and help Viva find other behaviors to work thorough uncomfortable situations that she feels she needs to growl in.
Knowing D'light, I assumed he would just stand still allowing Viva to sniff and then she would move away once she realized D'light wasn't going to fight with her. I'm pleased that I was correct. I wouldn't say D'light appreciated this rude meet up but, he tolerated it and it was pretty brief. If at anytime I thought this was too stressful for either dog I would have intervened. It's ALWAYS the human's job to manage what is going on. Letting dogs "work it out" leads to fights, bullying and sets everyone up for failure.
Here's the video of the two together after a couple minutes - Not much to see which is great. And just because this intro went well doesn't mean my work is complete. For the coming weeks and probablyy longer, we have to be on full attention with Viva. Offering choices of new behavior and reinforcing those choices. The new behaviors are not going to happen over night and we would be fools to assume this. Think about what is going on from Viva's perspective. Yes she's out of the shelter and things will be remarkable better for her but, she doesn't know that. Her world is upside down with new humans, a new dog (soon to be two new dogs) and a completely new environment. And she needs to work through the shelter stress - think of all the stress hormones that have been moving through her body over the last months. Talk about overwhelming. It's amazing any dog can even think with all this change.
And soon, Viva opts for a good roll in the grass!
D'light off to see if he can find a critter and Rediviva joins in the fun!
Things were going great so, I took off the long line.
Viva was happy to get some touch time from my mother in law
Time to do more exploring - there's a lot to take in!
D'light having a good roll!
Time to come in the house and the two are hoping for an excellent treat!
D'light went and found him a spot on the couch to rest and Viva is clearly pleased to be out of the shelter!
Sweet girl beginning to decompress!