man with two dogs
man with two dogs

How to Introduce a New Dog to Your Current Dog

Although dogs are social animals who tend to love the company of other dogs, there are times when introducing a new dog into the family becomes tricky. Because some resident dogs are not accustomed to having other dogs at home, or do not appreciate having to share the family’s attention, first impressions are very important. To help you maximize the chances of getting the new dog accepted by the dog you already have, consider the pointers discussed below.

How to Prepare

Prior to bringing your new dog or puppy home, remove everything that your resident dog would likely guard. This may include food bowls, bones, beds and toys. Even if your pet has never displayed possessive leanings in the past, it is best to be cautious. Avoiding clutter is also important because congested areas may trigger aggression between dogs because they may feel forced upon each other.

What to Do During the Initial Meeting

Secure help from a family member or friend, so there will be someone to pay attention to each dog throughout the first meeting. Making your way separately to a neutral environment, such as a park, is recommended. It is best to avoid introducing the dogs in the house, or even in the yard, since the resident dog may become territorial. Besides, open areas like the park are ideal, as there are a lot of interesting sights and sounds to keep the dogs distracted.

Try to bring the dogs together and let them greet each other. Human escorts have to keep slack in the leash so the animals won’t feel as if they are being held back. Expect the dogs to sniff, circle, play, urinate or simply ignore each other. Let them do what they want to establish a relationship — with as little mediation from the owner as possible. If the animals try to fight, intervention will then be necessary. Do not pull the dogs away by the leash to keep the attack from being triggered. Just wave a treat over or in front of the dogs’ noses to lure them away from each other. Make sure that the initial interaction is brief. After the dogs meet, go for a short walk together.

What to Do When You Bring the New One Home

Walk home with the dogs together and act as though nothing has changed. If you have a yard, let the dogs hang out there for a while as you supervise. When they are ready, let them in the house. If your dogs have gotten along well at the park and in the yard, allow the resident dog to be off the leash first. Let the new dog or puppy explore the house on the leash, and if the resident dog demonstrates friendly manners, that’s the time to remove the new pet’s leash as well. Keep their interactions supervised for the next two weeks, until both dogs are fully accustomed to each other.

And, finally, congratulations on your growing family!

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