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I'm having a bit of a dilemma, and I'm hoping someone here has maybe been through something similar and can advise me on what to do. Sorry for the length.

My BF and I recently adopted Rollie, a 20-pound mix whose origins we can't determine. He's a total sweetheart...he loves people, he seems to be okay around other dogs (he came from a foster home with upwards of 30 other dogs), and he's just generally a quiet, laid back little guy. We adore him.

The problem comes with my BF's parents' dog, Chester. Chester is a Chow mix (so much larger than Rollie), and he has a history of aggression--he's actually attacked smaller dogs on three separate occasions. He's very sweet around people, but there's something about other dogs that he just can't deal with.

My BF's parents have others over every year for our local Labor Day fireworks, and it's usually an all day affair. We've been discussing bringing Rollie over for the day, because we don't want to leave him for that long, but Chester is an obstacle to that. We tried earlier today to introduce the two, just to gauge what Chester's reaction would be...Chester had on a muzzle, a thunder shirt, and my BF's stepdad had a tight grip on his leash. We did a slow introduction...I was hopeful because Chester's tail was wagging...but then Chester started growling and attempted to lunge at Rollie, which of course scared him. They put Chester in an upstairs bedroom and we finished with our evening. My BF's parents have suggested that we put Rollie in a crate for a while when we get there for Labor Day and let Chester get used to him being there that way. Chester will be wearing a muzzle, but I am NOT AT ALL comfortable with the idea that my puppy will be in a crate with Chester circling him. I don't want him to feel scared, and I don't want him to start forming negative associations with a crate because he stays in one during the day while we work.

Consequently, I'd like to figure out another alternative. Has anyone been in a situation similar to this before? I'm desperate for suggestions...we spend quite a bit of time over at my BF's parents', and it would be so much easier if Chester could get along with Rollie so we could bring him with us. I'm having a lot of anxiety about this. Again, sorry for the long post, but please give me some insight if you have it. Thanks!
 

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Leave Rollie at home, with a friend coming by if the day is too long. Or board him at a good facility and he can spend the day in doggie daycare.

If they want to work on their dog's DA issues, they need to do it with a GOOD trainer or even better, behaviorist if one is available. Someone experienced with DA dogs and who has a proven track record.

If you bring your dog, keep them separate aka "crate and rotate." One dog into a crate in a bedroom, the other one out to play and socialize with the people. Then switch and do not have them passing in the hallway or have any other chance for their dog to go after Rollie.

Especially since Rollie is new to you, I think it would be quite stressful for him to be in a crate with a DA dog around him who has already managed to scare him once.

The fact that they have allowed him to attack smaller dogs on 3 separate occasions is worrisome. I completely understand the first attack- sometimes people have no idea their dog is aggressive until he acts on it- but once they know that, it is about management, training and preventing problems. There shouldn't have been a 2nd attack barring extreme circumstances and there really shouldn't have been a 3rd attack. I wouldn't want to see them thinking "oh the dogs seem fine together" if they manage a successful greeting and leaving them alone or overlooking warning signs or such.
 

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Chester had on a muzzle, a thunder shirt, and my BF's stepdad had a tight grip on his leash. We did a slow introduction...
I believe your lack of trust of Chester and yourselves is a problem.
The muzzle is acceptable, and perhaps the thundershirt as well but the tight grip on the leash and the very slow introduction is where you're going wrong. You guys have to all be relaxed, if you're too tense the dogs are gonna pick up on it. Chester has a muzzle, he won't be able to hurt your dog Rollie, especially with you guys paying attention to the situation.

I recommend you get a good trainer to help you with this kind of problem if you want Rollie and Chester to get along together.
I don't recommend you try anything by yourselves because you don't seem to have a proper grasp on reading dog body language, since tail wagging can mean a bunch of different things, it's not always a good thing.
 

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Sorry, short blunt and to the point, board the dog. In the future there may be emergencies that you need to board for. This keeps your new dog safe and may help you with future problems. Anything else is Russian roulette.

Boy, evidently this thunder shirt stuff is amazing, I wonder if they can get their money back cause it sure did not help. Never heard of it used for DA or HA stuff, I must live a sheltered life.
 

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DA dogs are DA. Introduce however you want, the dog's still DA.

Do not bring your dog to the party. He'll be scared all day. And muzzles are NOT a cure all. Muzzle punches (hitting with the muzzle) can do damage and your dog will be terrified. That's assuming Chester doesn't figure out how to take it off.

Also, loose wagging below the line of the spine is happy. Stiff wagging held high is anger.
 

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Also, loose wagging below the line of the spine is happy. Stiff wagging held high is anger.
Except when it is the opposite..
Dogs are different. Foster Frankie runs around the yard happy as can be wagging her tail straight up in the air, like 70 degree angle from ground. Luna would prance around with a frisbee with her tail wagging high and stiff- obviously happy still. A deaf pittie that was fear aggressive to Chester (we were doing a meet-and-greet for fostering, she'd done well in a home with smaller dogs) had her tail wagging low and medium-fast and still tried to attack him.

Since this dog is known DA and his owners don't appear to have a strong understanding of him, his body language, management skill and such, then I wouldn't put my faith in how he's wagging his tail in regards to my dog's safety.

DA dogs are DA. Introduce however you want, the dog's still DA.

Do not bring your dog to the party. He'll be scared all day. And muzzles are NOT a cure all. Muzzle punches (hitting with the muzzle) can do damage and your dog will be terrified. That's assuming Chester doesn't figure out how to take it off.
Agreed 100% on this though.
 

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Leave Rollie at home, with a friend coming by if the day is too long. Or board him at a good facility and he can spend the day in doggie daycare.
This.
I wouldn't risk keeping my dog stressed out all day (which will keep everyone else stressed out) and possibly even hurt or killed. It would just be easier and safer to either leave him at home or board him.
 

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Also, loose wagging below the line of the spine is happy. Stiff wagging held high is anger.
I prefer to observe the situation instead of thinking that a tail position means one thing every single time. Dogs have many different ways of communicating.
 
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