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Dear Daisy Dog

I need help introducing Maggie, my 8-year-old female German shepherd, to Spankey, my fiancé’s 9-year-old male springer spaniel.

While neither dog is particularly friendly with other dogs, they must be ready to live together by next summer, when Maggie and I move in with Spankey and his dad.

Daisy Responds

As matriarch of our family, I have successfully welcomed dozens of canines, both family members and foster dogs, into our home. With my advice and the ample time you have, I’m certain your family’s transition will be smooth.

During the next couple of weeks, you and your fiancé should introduce Maggie and Spankey in a neutral location, like a park, where neither dog feels the need to defend his or her territory.

Both should be on leash, so you and your fiancé have control. Let them sniff each other, and tell them what good kids they are.

Watch their body language closely. If either dog stiffens or shows other signs of aggression, separate them.
Don’t discipline the aggressor. Instead, distract the dog’s attention brightly, saying something like, “Let’s go look at this tree.”

When the dog is relaxed, return to the introductions.
After several get-togethers, when you and your fiancé feel comfortable doing so, remove the dog’s leashes.

When the dogs have shown they can get along on neutral territory, take them to the house and repeat the introduction outdoors before you move inside.

Repeat the home visits weekly, and by next summer, they should be friends.

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