Getting another dog was going to be tricky. Steve wanted a female because they typically bond better with men. Fortunately Joe also needed a female, preferably black and about the same size as him.
As luck would have it, we found the perfect little lady at the SPCA across the street from us. On Monday Steve and I went over to check out the doggies. Based on their sex, size and descriptions we narrowed it down to two: Guitara and Sweety. After meeting them both, we decided Guitara was the best bet. However it was too late in the day for a dog to dog meeting.
The rest of the night I tried not to obsess about Guitara too much, because if Joe didn’t like her the search would have to begin again. Their meeting was crucial because Joe only likes 9 out of 10 dogs that he meets and I’d rather not make Joe spend the rest of his life fighting with or growling at a dog he doesn’t like. That’s part of why we were so particular about our choice. The other reason had to do with our own preference, wanting a somewhat mellow dog that was smart enough to be trained.
On Tuesday we took Joe over as soon as they opened at 11:00a. Mollie, the trainer, spoke to us about Guitara for about half an hour explaining everything she could about her personality so that we knew what we were getting into. She said that Guitara freaks out a little when she’s on a leash and sees other dogs. She’s not dog-aggressive, just very anxious to go and meet them. She needed a refresher on potty training and lots of exercise, both physically and mentally.
Because Guitara freaked out on-leash, introducing her to Joe had to be done in a very controlled environment. Joe and I headed outside to a fenced in area, while Mollie and Steve went to get Guitara. Mollie led Guitara out with treats to distract her from the fact that Joe was present. Eventually she calmed down and they met face to face.
It was at this point that I was most nervous – will he growl and show his dislike? Or will he happily sniff and accept her? They sniffed each other and quickly approved. Then they lost interest and Guitara started investigating the fenced area. It was basically like neither dog cared that the other was there, which is pretty much what we wanted. Just once there was a little chasing, another good sign.
After they “hung out” a bit, Mollie showed us how Guitara freaked out about other dogs. She would whine and pull toward the dog, maybe bark a little. Not enough of a problem to prevent Steve and I from adopting her. A bunch of paperwork later, we were walking her home across the street!
Since then we’ve changed her name to Lana. She wasn’t really responding to “Guitara” anyway, so we felt it was safe to switch. Every day we try to get them to chase each other for a little bit. Lana is a Kelpie mix, which is basically like an Australian sheep dog, so she likes to herd. Whenever they play she herds Joe into a corner. Meanwhile he tries to hump her, and sometimes she tries to hump him.
All in all they get along pretty well. I love watching them run because right in the middle they’ll flip around a couple times, making it look more like a dance then a chase. I hope they continue to get along this well and bond. Occasionally they’ll lick one another’s mouth; wait for the other by the door; and once Lana dropped her bone by Joe’s feet!
The first couple weeks are most important for a solid relationship, and week one has gone extremely well. Here’s to hoping that week two is just as great!