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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all! I’ll keep this short since I’m on my phone, but am happy to answer any questions.

I’m looking for advice on introducing a nervous dog to new roommates. Quill and I will be gaining two new roommates for three months (until mid-August). He’s nervous when he first meets new people, so for general meetings we kennel him until they get in the house (his kennel is in the living room, so he can see them come in and interact with us) and then once he calms down we load them with treats and let him out to say hi, after advising them to just treat but otherwise ignore (no petting, direct eye contact, etc).

Do I just do this for new roommates? He’s had summer roommates the past two years, but I feel like his anxiety really developed over the course of last summer so before he was just out and they got to greet him right away and that was that. Any advice is very appreciated! One of the roommates will have her boyfriend and dog with her for the first night as well — the dog is an older small female.

We have our own room, a kennel in the living room, and a smallish backyard. The downstairs could be divided into two with a baby gate, for context of options we have.
 

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I don't know about you, but I've never trust my roommates with my dog, no matter how awesome they were (and especially so when they weren't so awesome). I've lived in many housing situations with multiple roommates and multiple dogs. I did this successfully even with Soro (dog selective, severe resource guarder). And I kept Sor in my room at all times unless I was home. I would have done the same even if he's a good-with-all dog.

Even roommates whom I consider my dearest friends... They still aren't 'dog people' like me. A slip in leaving the door open. Hanging out with friends and someone leaves food on the table. I can think of hundreds of innocent situations that would either get my dog in trouble or ruin my training.

I think the intro itself will be fine if you pick a location where Quill is most likely to succeed. Maybe, on a hike or something? But you might want to consider what would be best for you and Quill in terms of long term management and shared living. Here's another potential perspective. Let's say I'm a new roommate and I'm fine with ignoring Quill or whatever it takes for him to be comfortable... But what if I wanted to invite friends over; should I have to be nervous of your dog in shared space all the time?

I know, I'm being no fun right now. But point is, you've done so much for Quill and I know you want him to succeed. Any time you add other people into the picture, the entire dynamic changes and the entire space changes. I'm sure you know that.

ETA: I reread the post and now realize you were specifically asking about the intro. For some reason I thought Quill stayed in the living room kennel and you were worried about sharing a living space. So, apologies if this is way off mark!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yep this is intro specific! In the past I’ve trusted roommates mostly because Quill mopes when I’m not there (literally doesn’t leave my bedroom anyway), but this year he will be kept in my room whenever I am not around given his increased anxiety and my own anxiety about that!

This is also an unusual situation of this being my field season and these being my technicians. They come from out of town so inviting friends over is not usually a thing — we’re basically each other’s friends in this small town. But regardless, he’ll be in my room anytime I’m not at the house!

I just want to be sure the meeting goes well and he has no reason to continue fearing them. Unfortunately due to nonstop rain hiking and whatnot are not an option. Would backyard be better than the usual kennel and then let out to greet? Typically with a meeting it’s nervous sniffing, brings over toys, then remains overstimulated and cautious of them. Once he gets to know someone he tends to not reach overstimulation, but initially he will bring toys and try to play nonstop.
 

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Gotcha! If it were me, I would still try to meet on a walk or somewhere off territory, then enter the house together.

Though it sounds like Quill isn't too bad with intros in the home. What you want to avoid is over the top fear or reactivity, like if he'd be barking nonstop in his crate. But if he is just cautious about his approach, then it should be fine. Maybe he would be a tad more comfortable outside, but you know him best.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the input! Generally he barks for about a minute, then does his excited whining/chattering (hard to explain the sound but it is 100% this isn’t fair I want to say hi, and friendly), then he lays down and is quiet and watches. After a couple minutes of that is usually when he gets to come out and say hi, and he usually races over to sniff and then I call to me and treat and then tell him to get a toy and we play a bit.

He’s never met anyone in the yard, except people with dogs. Then he cares more about the dogs haha. The only problem with off territory is that he’s also leash reactive and there aren’t many good off leash places anywhere super close.
 

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Sounds like you have a system in place then!
 

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My dog always does best meeting people/dogs in the car. That's his little quirk, and it is the only way he won't be reactive towards dogs and the only guarantee he will easily befriend strange people (it's like a 50/50 shot otherwise). So that's what I would do if I were you, with my dog. You know your dog best and you have the best idea as to what he can handle and how to make things go smoothly. It sounds like you've got a good plan.
 

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Will all three people and the dog be arriving at the same time? Has he ever met that many people at once before? Has he met a dog inside like this before? If yes, then I would say do the same thing for the roommates as you would for any other guests if you've had success that way before.
 
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