This week we had Moo The Assistant's cousin Gus around while my sister was on holiday (though please note this is a family favour - i am not set up to board dogs professionally) and I thought i would share with you how i managed to successfully integrate the two dogs.
Firstly i made sure they met, several times, somewhere neutral where there is plenty of space for them to be able to check each other out at a distance before going in for a sniff (for us it was in the park). This is important as the dogs can then "make friends" in an unpressured environment, with neither dog feeling territorial or on guard at all.
Then, after a few successful meets like this, we all walked back to our house one day, and let the dogs in the gate and into our back garden, again keeping plenty of space around them as we introduced Gus to "our patch". This also gave Gus a chance to suss out where the toilet was. Once the dogs were happy, and settled they came indoors for a drink, leaving the back door open so they didn't feel trapped in a room with each other, and had the option of creating space if they felt like it.
At all points the dogs were being continuously being rewarded for "good" interactions with each other, to create a sense of pleasure in each other's company, but never being forced to interact in any way.
When it came to actually staying the night, Gus had been to our home on several occasions, and each occasion had been a happy, relaxed and successful event.
Before Gus's arrival, i made a space for his bed in the kitchen, away from Moo's sleeping area, and separated by a stair gate, to ensure each dog's safety while i was asleep at night. Neither dog is allowed on the other's bed, and the house rules are that people do not pester the dogs while they are in their bed either. This gives the dogs somewhere to get "some peace".
They are fed in separate areas, and bowls are removed after feeding time - except for water which is always available.
I put away any valuable resources worth fighting over, such as half eaten chews, loved toys and so on, and explained to the others in the house, that if there was any hint of guarding over anything at all, to remove themselves from the situation and inform me immdiately. If a dog appears to be guarding a human from the other dog, then the human should get up and walk away - so neither dog "gets" the human. All jealousy type behaviours must be nipped in the bud before there becomes an issue. If the dogs appear to be eyeing each other up uncomfortably, i tend to break their eye contact by standing in the middle, or by placing something between them - and then distracting one until they are relaxed once more.
I also like to walk them separately as it gives each dog a chance to stop and sniff, and enjoy their walk uninterupted by the other. It also gives each dog a break from the other, and some quality time with a human.
Enjoy the sunshine!