Yesterday evening, Lupin and his owners came to my home for his second introduction to Violet and to start learning the house rules. The visit turned out to be quite surprising for all of us…
Glimmer waited at the top of the stairs, trying to hold the place command I’d given her. She was very excited – she has really taken to Lupin – and she kept breaking the position. Through the screen door, Lupin saw her, got excited, and tried to enter the house ahead of his people. He was immediately corrected calmly but firmly and told to wait. To our surprise, Glimmer barked at him in invitation; Devi and Jon did a fantastic job being calm but assertive with him and helping him control his excitement.
While Glimmer and Lupin greeted each other, Violet waited calmly and quietly under the end table by the couch for him to catch her scent and greet her. It took several minutes for Lupin’s nose to take over and catch her scent. Once he did, though, he was surprisingly calm and gentle with her.
At the previous introduction meeting, Lupin was reactive towards my husband. When he saw my husband this time, however, Lupin immediately wanted to greet him. Roger was open to the greeting, so I instructed him to give no eye contact or try to touch Lupin; to just stay calm and quiet and let Lupin smell him. As evidenced in the photo, Lupin and Roger did just fine with each other.
For the first half hour of the meeting, Lupin was muzzled. Near the end of that time, he was doing so well and being so respectful that I removed the muzzle and let him wander through the house. I wanted him to start using his nose to familiarize himself with the surroundings. Devi was a bit nervous about that – she saw Lupin trying to interact with Violet, and she was concerned he would get too rough with her – but she trusted me to take him in hand if he gave any indications that he was getting too excited. As it turned out, Lupin was awesome with Violet.
Lupin has shown aggression with resources like food and water, and he becomes possessive and territorial when other animals are being given affection. So, while he still had the muzzle on, I got some food treats and had him and Glimmer sit beside each other. The exercise was to sit calmly and quietly and wait for direction. Glimmer was given the treat first. Lupin was confused by that and he shoved his nose in front of her while I was giving her the treat. He was immediately corrected and told to wait, and when he became calm, he was given the treat. This exercise was repeated several times, until the last treat was gone. Lupin was confused about that, too; he is accustomed to being at the top of the hierarchy, so being placed on the bottom of that proverbial ladder was a surprise to him. However, he was not aggressive in any way about it, nor did he try to attack Glimmer after the exercise was ended.
Lupin did a phenomenal job interacting with Glimmer and Violet, and with all of us. He had only one brief moment of insecurity in which he growled a bit and huffed when my husband left the room for a couple of minutes and then came back. Devi did an awesome job correcting the behavior by calmly but assertively recalling him, putting him into a down-stay position, and applying light pressure on the leash with her foot to reinforce the command. After that, wherever my husband went, Lupin was right behind him. It was really quite sweet to see, considering how intense the first meeting was between them.
Lupin’s stay with me begins tomorrow. Over the next four weeks, he’s going to learn how to share resources calmly, how to walk nicely on leash with another dog, how to be calm around strangers, and much more. Stay tuned for photo and video updates, and remember to stay calm and lead on.