Jake and Judy arrived at our home after Christmas 2019. We have the ability to sub-divide the inside of our home because of the floor plan and put up dog gates to keep them in the living room area. We still didn't know if they would get along with other dogs and so didn't want to take any unnecessary chances. In the living room, we had crates set up for them to sleep in overnight as well. Because they spent so much time in kennels etc, we knew that crating them at night and when we were not home would not be an issue.
As expected, the first few days were the most difficult. Because of their former situation, they weren't house trained and in fact, it was clear that they had spend very little time in a house being part of a family or doing anything normal in that regard. As a result, we had to implement multiple training protocols all at once to make this work. We had to get them going outside on a regular and predictable schedule so they could learn to go to the bathroom outside. Further, we had to set up each and every day to be as predictable as possible for them so they could learn a routine and begin trusting us. This meant no surprises. We get up at the same time every day, we eat at the same time very day, we go outside at the same time every day, we go to bed at the same time every day. Not the easiest thing to do. The difficulty was compounded by the need to have them on 20 foot long lines in the back yard because once you let them out, you couldn't get near them and coming when called was also not something they understood at that time. Playing the catch me if you can game would only reinforce that running from people was a good idea so we had to adapt.
Judy, being the more confident of the two, came around first. It took about a month for her to not need the long line. Jake on the other hand took much longer. For a while, we could get Judy to come in the house on her own and Jake would do his best to try to follow but often got too nervous at the door. At about the 4 month mark, we had reduced him to wearing a 4 foot leash and by month 6 he was finally done with needing the leash. Over the course of that training, we even used our Springer Spaniel, Brody, to pick up Jake's leash and bring him to us. At the one month mark, we carefully introduced them to our dogs and they got along ok. We learned later that Judy is more dog selective and began to dislike Brody so group play times were structured with those two not being in the same group.
Next time, we will get into the confidence building process in further detail. More updates to come.