Well, Friday was T-Day. As in ‘Tonka Day’. Yes, we have almost hit the two week mark of our time with Georgia, and so we felt that it was time to introduce her to our most dashingly handsome four-legged family member.
I haven’t had a ton of opportunity to write about Tonk here, as we have chosen to focus mostly on our Georgia girl. I will, however, be taking the time to give him a few posts of his own sometime in the near future. He is just that awesome.
It was an easy decision to introduce Georgia to Tonka first, as opposed to Gaige. First of all, it is common knowledge that flirty girls typically have an affinity for handsome boys, in comparison to other female counterparts. Also, Tonka is (most days) a very well-trained, well-socialized guy. As much as we adore Gaige for her mischievous side, it can make things more difficult when it comes to introducing her to new dogs.
We are lucky enough to live beside my in-law’s very large property, so I took Tonka to a neutral spot on the farm, where he was sure not to feel very territorial. As I said, we really weren’t too concerned about Tonka misbehaving, but we wanted all of the odds in our favor. Jonathan brought up the rear with Georgia, both properly leashed. We each had pockets full of treats to reward positive behavior.
As I kept Tonka occupied with some basic obedience (this was a great way to test his skills with new distractions!), Jonathan made his way towards us, many yards away, with Georgia in tow. Any tail wagging was praised and ‘treated’, as was calm behavior. If she would have started to bark or lunge, he would have turned her around, away from Tonka. Thankfully, Georgia did nothing of the sort! She walked calmly toward him, and seemed generally disinterested.
Once we were sure both dogs were displaying positive, calming body language, we took them on a long walk together. They were side by side, but never quite touching, at least not at first.
Overall, it was a very successful first meeting! The dogs were given the ability to sniff at each other, tails wagging, and everything was kept happy and positive. Georgia seemed somewhat nervous around this big, black, male dog, but we tried to make her feel as secure as possible by ending things in a positive way.
Today, being Sunday, we repeated the walk routine. We were able to advance to having Tonka off-leash while Georgia remained leashed. She seemed to be more interested in being near him, and Tonka was ever the gentleman. When we came in the house, both dogs were let loose and were happy to share a water bowl.
We will continue to do walks with Tonka and Georgia together, until she seems to enjoy his presence. Once they are more comfortable, we will graduate to off-leash play time, and eventually allow Georgia & Gaige to meet one-on-one. Only once both groupings of dogs have been successfully introduced, will we slowly start to introduce them all together.
Georgia also met her Aunt Jillie today! She is doing much better with learning how to greet new people. Georgia gets so excited to meet new people, that she sometimes jumps up. She is learning that the best praise comes when her little booty is planted on the ground. 😉
Do you have any tips for introducing and socializing your dogs, foster or otherwise? We’d love to hear them!
If you think you might know someone who would be interested in adopting our sweet girl Georgia, please share her story! Any questions about Georgia or the adoption process can be directed to me (Stephanie!) at firstname.lastname@example.org.