As with any dogs that have just started living together, especially those with significant size differences from one another, we are using the crate-and-rotate method as a way to properly introduce the dogs to each other. Since our house is 2-story with a baby gate between the 1st and 2nd floor, when we let Athena out of her crate for a couple of hours, we put our own dog (10 lbs Chihuahua Mix) on the second floor, though sometimes he comes down to the stairs before the baby gate. After 2- 3 hours, we put Athena back in her crate so that her foster brother (our own dog) can hang out in the living room on the first floor. WE kept alternating like that.
At first our dog kept barking at Athena, out of excitement to play with her (as he always gets everytime he sees another dog). However, Athena never barks back at him and never tries to attack him. She just sits there looking at him (not in an aggressive way) or just walks around without really reacting to him. This is what we want. Eventually our ChiMix tired himself out and stopped barking at her.
The first couple of times we walked them in packs, where my husband walked Athena and I walked our ChiMix, our ChiMix always got overly excited wanting to approach Athena to play with her…as he always does with any dog he meets. When we restrained him, he did not like that and started barking. Athena, however, just kept on walking calmly, again with no reaction to our ChiMix’s over-excitement. Eventually, during the first 24 – 36 hours, our ChiMix got less over-excited and Athena continued to react calmly to everything. We did notice, however, that Athena gets timid whenever we passed by another person or dog. That is understandable, though, considering the 3 months she had spent at the shelter with limited time outdoor!
She did cry in her crate once this afternoon after being in the crate for a couple of hours, so we took her out of the crate for an extra walk where she immediately peed and pooped. It seems like she was holding on to pee and was crying because of that! WIthin the first 24 hours, she did have an accident 3 times in the house (i.e. peed in the house). However, that is common for foster dogs to do on Day 1 in a new house with new people. We will take her out as soon as we take her out of the crate going forward so that she can learn our routine and so that she learns that she needs to pee and poop outside, not inside, the house.
So far Day 01 of Athena being in our foster care went smoothly. We’re surprised at how well-behaved she is!