I was recently contacted by a local rescue centre, they had taken on a six month old female Czechoslovakian wolfdog X named Tala and wanted to ensure she received appropriate play and social skills. Unfortunately she has double hip-displaysia which means she needs to be careful not to cause any further damage and is kept on lead.
Prior to taking Zephyr to meet Tala we arranged a walk with Otis (one of my black labradors) so I could assess her personality and behaviour and ensure that if I took Zephyr along that the chances of a successful meeting were in our favour!
Tala was playful and excited to meet Otis but respectful and inquisitive at the same time and I couldn’t see any reason not to arrange to meet with Zeph the following week.
We arranged to meet at the rescue centre as they have a private enclosed paddock which we could have sole use of, this gives us the advantage of being able to control the environment and be sure we aren’t going to be ambushed by any other dogs whilst managing the introductions.
Tala was excited to see Zeph when I got him out of the van, Zephyr was making quick glances in her direction and then looking around at the unfamiliar surroundings. We entred the paddock and walked in parallel with them both on lead. Tala was keen to say hi and sniff Zeph but Zeph was taking in his surroundings and sniffing the grass whilst keeping Tala in his vision. We continued like this for a while and then eventually let Tala get close enough to sniff Zeph for a couple of seconds before moving them away from each other. We kept repeating this and Zeph eventually started to show interest in Tala. Zeph managed short interactions well, but when it got too much was very clear with his signals that he needed a break and we saw some big yawns.
As I knew the environment was safe I let Zephyr off lead to allow him to decide on the space he required from Tala. He gradually built his confidence and started offering play bows. This is the quickest I have ever known him become comfortable enough with another dog to initiate play. Although Tala remained on lead they managed to enjoy the interactions and were both taking nice breaks from the play to engage with us and their environment.
Zephyr spent the rest of the afternoon snoring on my bed!
We are looking forward to meeting up again, I am so excited that Zephyr has another play mate 🙂