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Hi guys, long time no talk.

We may be taking in my future mother-in law's 3 year old pitbull mix as they are moving to Florida and are only allowed 2 dogs, but have 3, and the other 2 are bonded siblings. The problem is that the dog, Luna, can be selective about other dogs. Her mother runs a dog daycare out of their house successfully with Luna free roaming with sometimes up to 6-7 other dogs (plus her "brothers"), so it isn't that she isn't friendly - but she can be selective. She has never really been around other females larger than her, and we have an 11 year old Rottie/Akita mix who outweighs her by about 60lbs.

Our dog, Grace, is fairly submissive. Our old dog, also a female, used to occasionally start fights with her and she never fought back, even when blood was drawn. She minds her own business and is very easy going. Regardless, it's important to me that I am careful and don't put Grace into a situation where she could get hurt. Even though she is more than double Luna's size, Luna is a typical very strong pitbull and only 3 years old versus my elderly giant breed dog.

My plan is to manage things very closely, most likely until Grace passes on in the next few years. They will never be unsupervised together, and at least at first, Luna will be muzzled even when we are supervising. I'd rather be safe than sorry.

We have another dog, Oliver, who is a 15lb male. I'm less concerned about him because he has met Luna before, and Luna grew up with two male dogs the same size as him. But even in that respect, Luna will always be crated when we are not there to supervise, for the duration of their lives.

I guess I am just wondering if anyone has been in a situation similar to this before, and if anyone has any advice for management. Luna is extremely important to my fiance so it's important to me to do whatever I can to make this work and be safe for everyone involved. If things didn't work out we would be able to bring her back to her mother in Florida - her mom was planning to bring all 3 dogs anyway (long story about how she plans to make that work...) so there is a back up plan in place.
 

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Introducing and management can depend a lot on your household layout and adults available for walks and such.

I am not personally a fan of muzzled introductions and interactions unless the dog is highly comfortable wearing a muzzle. it does not feel natural to them and can highten stress and reactivity

you say she can be selective but don't say how that was observed

you say she has not been around larger females but don't mention what interactions so far makes you worry that she will have an issue

doggie daycare with 6-7 other dogs is, on face value, way more dog friendly than what most people I know would consider for a "selective" dog
 

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Introducing and management can depend a lot on your household layout and adults available for walks and such.

I am not personally a fan of muzzled introductions and interactions unless the dog is highly comfortable wearing a muzzle. it does not feel natural to them and can highten stress and reactivity

you say she can be selective but don't say how that was observed

you say she has not been around larger females but don't mention what interactions so far makes you worry that she will have an issue

doggie daycare with 6-7 other dogs is, on face value, way more dog friendly than what most people I know would consider for a "selective" dog
Hi Shell,

Yes, I know I might be being over cautious about the whole situation, but I guess I would rather over manage than under-manage. Perhaps I'm also misusing the term dog selective. I don't live with this dog and my fiance isn't as observant or knowledgeable about dog behavior, and her mother has completely opposite opinions about pretty much everything when it comes to dogs, so it's hard for me to judge exactly.

We have a set up in which Luna could have her own large room to be separated. She loves her crate as well. And separate walks would be relatively easy as we are both home so much for the forseeable future (and me for at least the next few years), as well as rotating who is roaming free and who is confined, if we need to crate/rotate.

From my understanding, Luna has become increasingly less tolerant to being introduced to new dogs coming into the daycare program. Which is expected as she has just turned 3, I understand. She hasn't been aggressive but she will "make ugly faces" which I interpret as showing teeth, and growls. Her mother has turned away some dogs because of how Luna reacted to them because she won't accept dogs that might not vibe with the group. Most of these were larger female dogs. Granted her mother isn't the most reliable resource and she has no desire to try and integrate dogs that don't immediately fit into the group. Recently, I was told I maybe shouldn't bring my dogs to a family gathering Luna was going to be at because she has been "getting nasty". Which again, I don't live with her and have not been able to observe her behavior myself, but from descriptions she hasn't started a fight yet, but has exhibited behaviors such as posturing, growling, snapping, hair raised etc and has been removed from the situation before it had the chance to escalate, but also before anyone could see if she would relax/let it go.

I do think there is potential to successfully introduce and integrate her, because she has successfully lived with other dogs and been in that doggy day care environment her entire life. I also am taking steps to find a behaviorist that could observe her and help us if/when we do try to do introductions.

You make a good point about the muzzle heightening stress - I guess I was just trying to think of a safe alternative to leashed introductions as I hate them and both of my dogs don't do well with on-leash introductions. Even after we allow them to meet each other through walks, through barriers, etc, it just seems like a risk for them to be un-muzzled. But maybe just making sure we have taken the proper steps before letting them loose together and that everyone feels comfortable will be key.
 

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That does help me get a better mental picture. i was imagining a dog daycare with more of a changing/new dogs in and out situation.

i think from this description that dog selective is probably the right term

since you have space and time, i would suggest not even trying to introduce for the first month or even two months. let her adjust to the new digs, work on muzzle training (Muzzle Up Project has tips) and be careful not to let them interact through a gate/fence or with one inside a crate and the other outside the crate to avoid barrier reactivity or frustration.

When you do start interactions, keep in mind "trigger stacking" regarding stressors.

i like the parallel leashed walking method for getting dogs used to each others presence but without any direct interaction.
 
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