Introducing Two That Is Reactive


Experienced Member
I have had a border collie rescue for two weeks. I have a 6 year old lab who is reactive to most dogs, though can play with various different dogs at the kennel. They have sniffed each other a couple of times and they can walk together. I am wondering if anyone has had an experience getting two dogs
together successfully when one is a reactive (also resource guarder). I really would like to keep the little border collie but not at the expense of my lab. Can someone help me?


Honored Member
:)wow, if they have sniffed each other, and walked together,
that is a very great start! :)wow! that half the battle right there!:)
still, some dogs feel differently in their own it's not settled completely yet.
.Might be good idea to continue to do this,
for many times, over many days,
to help the dog-aggressive dog solidify in his mind, "this here border collie is okay with me" :)kinda thing. Maybe even have a yard visit play session in your yard.
I'd feed them in separate rooms since your dog is resource guarder for now. Has your dog-aggressive dog witnessed you fawning over the border collie yet? any reaction at all to that?

there is absolutely no sign the BC is dog-aggressive ---not at all, right? ( dog-aggression doesn't manifest til about 9 mos old, but, some ppl say they can spot it's earliest signs a month or two earlier)
No sign the dog is shy dog either, right?
cuz you don't want an insecure dog being raised side by side with a dog-aggressive dog, then you can have TWO dogs displaying dog-aggression,
and that is handful.
I don't know much about the toys and bones and all that stuff, short of never giving these dogs toys and bones in front of each other, but,
at some point,
that may become impractical.:rolleyes:
but, hopefully, someone will be by to help you get off to good start with how to handle the toys and bones..and everything else.:)
I think you are wise to approach this efffort with all the knowledge you can gather, easier to head off/avoid an issue from ever starting, than to fix one in progress,
to get off to best possible start and all.
be aware,
narrow hallways,
anything that can be perceived by the dog as a doorway,
can be a trigger for some dog-aggressive dogs.
so, hopefully, someone can guide you on exactly step by step how to bring the dog into you house that first time,
to get off to best possible start.
don't have resident dog first greet the arriving new dog IN the doorway is my point.

Maybe walk them first,
then into backyard,
let them play and hang out til tired,
and then,
coming in through the doorway of his own house will not set off your dog-aggressive dog.
Doorways seem like it'd be something the dogs would sort out,
and with normal dogs, that works great. Normal dogs do sort it out. As you know, sometimes with dog-aggressive dogs, it can be whole other deal, and never does get sorted out well between the two dogs, if one is dog-aggressive...

have bucket of water ready anyway for their first doorway thing if a full on fight does bust out,
but yawn and stay calm
.and who knows, it might go smooth as peaches, it sounds like these two dogs are compatible so far as you know now.:)

even my gangsta dog has many dogs he loves,:love: and can even walk through doorways or narrow hallways with his friends:D.

do you have option to return the border collie if, when in the home, the toys/bones/etc becomes too much of trigger,
is taking that BC home a long term commitment? Can you have option to 'test drive' the two dogs together for a week or two before deciding if the new dog can fit with your resident dog? If a few months down the road, if the two dogs are not getting along, will you have option then to rehome this dog?

Are there any ADULT dogs in need of your fostering? (so you can be sure it is not another dog-aggressive dog)
opposite-gender young dogs?
Even my gangsta tends to LOVE young female dogs, and once he loves them as young dogs, he loves them for life.

still, it sounds good so far:),
and this might work out like peaches and cream,
even dog-aggressive dogs have friends!! and housemates!! HOPE IT ALL WORKS OUT! AND GOOD ON YOU FOR HELPING OUT HOMELESS DOGS!!!!!!!


Experienced Member
Maybe others can chime in ... but would it help to treat the older dog as king of the roost. By this I mean he gets fed first, maybe is allowed on the couch where the pup is not .. kind of like respecting the natural hierarchy. When we brought in a dominant border collie pup, she did not get privileges like the older dog until she earned them. At 10 months she has just earned the right to snuggle on the couch next to the big dog. And the big dog likes to hog both the deer antlers while the pup sits there and whines to us. We let him do this, but then we say he must chose one and share and then we take one way. The pup adores Hank so there has been no problem with this.

Note: Hank is in no way aggressive but I think he needs to know he was here first and we respect that. Now for the kitties ... they rule over everyone !


Honored Member
Staff member
It's great that they can walk together nicely. Way to go getting off to a good start!!

For their first play session, I would say NO toys, bones, chews, etc at all in the yard. Nothing. Just the yard and the two of them(and you, of course). I just got Gypsy, my Weim, and she is very exuberant, very friendly, and very in-your-face with other dogs--but she is also extremely responsive to their body language, so she knows when to back off. Zekers, my BC/ACD boy is very submissive, very insecure, etc. He is not a resource guarder, but because he is insecure and fearful, they did have some issues when I did finally have a toy in the yard with them. He was also fear-aggressive when he was younger. For the first week, I never had toys, chews, etc with them at all. If they were going to have chews of any kind, they were by themselves, completely separate from each other. I did make time to play with them individually with their toys, especially Zeke because he is tennis ball obsessed. It's like his security blanket. They were also fed separately.

The second week still no food/chews when they were together, but did allow the tennis ball. Gypsy doesn't care all that much about playing fetch, so this wasn't much of an issue. There were a couple of very small tiffs when Z thought she was thieving his tennis ball(his most prized posession) and wasn't sure what to think of it. Now he could care less if she steals his tennis ball, but with new dogs he is just not sure so he might let them or he might snap. Also understand that they are going to have these tiffs anyway. The new dog is going to have to figure out if she's allowed to take older dog's things. It's just part of figuring out their pecking order.
Not to say that you should just pass it off. You shouldn't. Keep a very close eye on them, and do break it up if need be. This is incredibly hard for us to do, but honestly if it's nothing it usually is just a few seconds long and then they're done with it. Of course, that's a fine line though because if it's not, you could have some serious issues on your hands. So it's a tough place to be in, but don't freak out every time you have a tiff in the first several weeks.

Now, all 3 of my dogs are fed together, have their own bones and chews, have their own toys, etc. No problems. Gypsy has figured out where she stands with the other two and knows she can't take their food or toys. I also teach my dogs to only play with their own toys, because Z likes tennis balls and a select few stuffed animals, Mud is a really rough chewer so her toys are tougher, Gypsy will play with anything if provoked, and Nick(Mom's teacup chihuahua) of course has teeny tiny toys. So for safety and to keep Mud from destroying everyone else's toys, they have to learn to only play with their own toys. This would be a good idea since you already know that your other dog is a resource guarder.

A friend of mine has a BC mix and recently added a Catahoula/Pit mix. The first week he was really concerned; he hadn't separated them when feeding and hadn't removed toys, etc, and they were having issues. So he very much asked for it, but even so, they continuously improved as they figured out who outranked who and after another week and a half they were fine with each other. They can play with each other's toys now, but it did take adding the new dog to figure out that the BC mix is food aggressive. (They were both rescues, unknown history.) So we're working on that but for the time being he is feeding them separately; aside from that they are great together now.

Remember that it may take a dog 6-8 weeks to completely adjust to a new home, so be patient. :) Work on the older dog's resource guarding too so you can help him too and improve your chances of the two of them getting along well.
Hope this helps!