New dog joining our pack. Integration suggestions?

In a few days, our three dog pack will have a new addition. The new dog belongs to an acquaintance who lacks the maturity to keep the dog. The dog is very intelligent and trainable. He is a three year old neutered male. We have worked with him on several occasions in an attempt to help his owner learn how to work with him, but she is giving up.

I bring our dogs to work with me every day. There they have access to a fenced field as well as a few other dogs that are owned by my employees. It’s kind of dog heaven.

At home, in our finished basement, I have three crates and a dog run. I’ll be adding a fourth crate today. We live in the country, with acres of woods around us.

Suggestions/tips/tricks to help integrate him into our existing pack? Also, his name is “Bruno”. I’m not in love with the name, plus it has “no” right in it. Thoughts on renaming?

That’s a great looking pack; so now you’ll have equal teams (The G. Sheps vs the I-don’t-recognize-the-breed team). Should be interesting at your house.

Introduce them on neutral ground–like, where you work, possibly (nobody around on the weekend?)–Bruno and one of the others, they mix it up, then remove that dog, bring in #2, repeat, then #3, repeat. If no obvious trouble, let all four “work it out” together for a spell.

Then on to your house. Your current pack should enter the house first, so Bruno knows who is above him pack-wise. Give them a few minutes to check out the inside, then everyone goes out in the backyard to exchange smells and start the pissing contest. As much time as they need to settle in, then repeat the previous entering procedure. That should establish pack order (some).

Good luck with feeding time.

I would drop the “no” part of his name and just call him “Bru.” Or maybe “Gru” (“Despicable Me” reference); he probably already responds to the first part, and switching the B sound for the G doesn’t seem to be a big diff.

If some of this is not clear enough (it’s still too damn early for me), PM me and I’ll try to clarify.

Have fun.

I think this will go smoothly. The dog already knows you and probably sees you as an authority figure. You already have three dogs and they are routinely exposed to other dogs, so they are well socialized and ready to accept the idea that a new pack member can be a fun experience.

The dogs that tend to have problems are the ones that belong to shut-ins who never get the chance to meet new people or animals. They are the ones that wind up viewing visitors as a threat, especially if they were abused.

I’m also a big fan of crate training, and I think it’s good that you have separate crates. That allows them to become accustomed to having Bruno nearby without the possibility of actually fighting. I’ve got four dogs: Two Chihuahuas and two larger dogs. My wife routinely sticks all four of them in the same big cage. Even though the Chihuahuas have their own kennel, they often want to share the same cage as the larger dogs. It is very cute. One time she even stuck an abandoned kitten in with the Chihuahuas so she would have company. I wasn’t very keen on that idea, but it worked.

As for the name, I agree that it is a poor choice and the dogs are likely to be confused. Maybe that’s part of the reason it didn’t work out for the other owner… A command for the dog’s attention sounds very similar to a reprimand. I would change it. I’ve always read that the best dog names have two syllables and end in a vowel.

The bird already told us the name won’t matter, just the tone. Grats on the new addition, though I still think you have the room to adopt a mustang. Sorry, I know it’s a lot of expense, but the ending of Hidalgo always gets to me.

I wish you good luck with the integration onto the pack, but if it doesn’t work out I’ll come and get him.

I’ve only got two dogs now so I guess I have room for another one. Fine looking group.

What a handsome dog! And it does look like you’ll have two matched sets.

Does the gender of the dogs have any impact when a new dog joins the group ?

Our three are spayed, Bruno is neutered. Our dogs get along with other dogs regardless of their sex (gender?).

Bruno’s current owner dropped off one of his blankets today, per my request. All the dogs enjoyed smelling it!

When I adopted my dog, his name was Brutus and I wasn’t that crazy about it. OK for a Doberman or a German Shepard, maybe, not for a Lab. I changed his name to Brewster. It was close enough to the name he was used to, but a lot friendlier sounding.

And I agree with everyone else. His name shouldn’t sound like a reprimand.

I’ve been fostering for a while, and just picked up a new guy last night. I don’t make a big deal of introductions - my two shepherds are dog friendly and used to meeting new dogs, so I just expect that it will go well. New guy got transported in a crate in the van with my dogs loose so they could check each other out through the bars, and then everyone got turned loose together in the yard. Uneventful introduction.

As far as names, I figure shelter dogs found as strays get renamed when they’re adopted and somehow adjust. I’ve renamed a few fosters because whatever name they came with just didn’t suit them or was too awkward to say and they have all adapted to a new name pretty quickly, even one very different to the original name - Chase became Vito at my house and then became Rowdy at his new home. In your situation, though, will the friend giving you the dog be upset if you change his name?

Pay particular attention to the reaction of the alpha dog in your current pack, whichever one that may be. If the alpha accepts the newcomer, the others will fall in line with no problem. I agree with the introduction on neutral ground. And due to the advice above, I’d suggest trying the alpha one-on-one first. Don’t feed them together at first, but don’t separate them while feeding for too long either or that will also cause issues as each group will think the other has something better.

Your dogs sounds well-adjusted and will likely accept another pack member without too much problem, particularly one of an opposite gender. He is beautiful by the way. Find him an elegant name, he deserves it.

Well, this whole thing turned out to be just a thought experiment.

I was getting ready to pick up the dog when I got a looooong Facebook message from our friend. She backed out. She wants to try to keep the dog after all. We feel bad for the dog, as she has said this numerous times without altering her behavior. (Did I mention in the OP that she is a flake?)

If you crate a large breed dog in the morning, don’t come home for lunch, then go out partying after work, the dogs not going to thrive.

Oh well, thanks to all for the discussion.

IME there is more individual variation than variation by sex, especially when all the animals are de-sexed.

My gf has horses. I’m not a horse person. When I am in the barn I just think about how nice it would be to be able to store the pontoon boat in there off-season. Then again, long horseback rides keep our dogs exhausted, and a tired dog is a happy dog, IMO.

Well, I’m sorry both for you and for Bruno that it didn’t work out. (This time at least–even without knowing her, I’d about lay odds that she’ll change her mind again before too much time passes.)