Bringing a new pup into the family is exciting! But if you already have a dog, it’s important that you know how to introduce dogs to each other. Don’t rush things. You want to make sure the new pet gets introduced in the easiest, stress-free manner possible.
You already know how to teach your dog to behave around you and your family. Now it’s time to show them how to get along with your new family member. Here are some tips that will help you do just that.
Patience and Positive Reinforcement
When it comes to introducing the new dog to your resident pet, you’ll need patience. Your new pet might be a nervous dog, or a very high energy dog. You might see other warning signs that the animals might not be getting along that great at first. This is where your patience will really come into play.
Stay positive. This means never raising your voice or showing displeasure.
Positive reinforcement could go a long way toward a successful introduction. Make sure you have plenty of good treats on hand as a reward, and be ready to play with each dog a great deal.
The more positive you are, and the more attention you give to each dog, the better your chances the dogs will get along great.1 When that happens, you’ll have a happy home filled with love and companionship for years to come!
The First Meeting
To start, keep the resident dog home when picking up the new one. You don’t want any aggressive behavior breaking out while you’re trying to drive. Any sort of roughhousing – even friendly tussling – could lead to big problems.
Have somebody to help when it’s time for the first meeting. This could be a family member, a friend, or a neighbor – someone you trust. You’ll need that other person to handle one dog while you hold the other.
If possible, have the first meeting at a “neutral site.” Dogs are territorial. If your resident dog feels the other dog is invading their space, things could get tense. Keep both dogs on leashes as they get used to each other’s smell.2
Watch for Warning Signs
The first meeting will obviously be important. Even though each dog will be safe on a leash, you still want to be very observant. You’ll want to pay attention to any indications the dogs aren’t getting along, such as growling.
Again, you’ll need to be patient and calm. Keep treats on hand to teach and reward good behavior. You probably already have experience with this during the training process when your resident dog was a puppy. This training will come in handy when it comes to introducing your new pet.
There is every possibility that both dogs will be happy to see each other and immediately start to play. You just want to be prepared should the first introduction not be quite as smooth as you want it to be.
When You Get Back Home
Keep the dogs at the neutral site until they’ve started to calm down from the initial meeting. Once they’re calm, it’s time to go home. Take them for a short walk around the neighborhood before going inside. Both dogs should still be on leashes during the walk.
When you get back from the walk, keep the dogs on a leash until you’re sure they’re getting along. When you take them off the leash, make sure they stay where you can see both of them. Be prepared to jump in if things go south. Remember, you’re in charge!
For the first few weeks, keep the dogs in a separate space when you’re not home.
Put them in separate rooms, or put one in a training crate while you’re gone.3
If everything is going good and the dogs are getting along, you’ll eventually be able to let them stay in the same space when you’re away from home.
How to Introduce Dogs: Parting Tips
Learning how to introduce dogs really isn’t that complicated, as you can see. Chances are very good that you’ll be able to teach your dog how to accept the newest member of the family.
Make sure each dog has plenty of personal space at first. Keep your resident dog’s toys in a safe place for the first few days to keep the risk of fighting to a minimum. Also, feed them in a separate space for a few days to prevent any tension.4
As long as you show patience and give both dogs plenty of attention, there’s no reason why they won’t be able to get along famously.