How Do I Introduce A New Dog to My Dog?
How do you introduce a new dog to your current dog?
Bringing a new dog home is actually something about 40% of dog owners experience, since it’s about that many households that are 2 dog homes. So it’s good to know what you’re doing when introducing new dogs to each other so it’s a good experience for them both.
Do it gradually. The worst thing you can do is bring your new dog home, walk right in the door with him, and expect the dogs to be friends. If you do this, your king of the castle dog can take it as a threat, an intrusion, or stranger danger. And the new dog won’t have any boundaries or rules to help him feel safe.
Meet in neutral territory. Take your household dog to a place you usually frequent, like a local dog park, or a trail you hike together. Start the process by taking the two of them for a long walk together.
Pack order: walk your dog in front, while your friend or other family member walks the new dog behind you two. Make sure this is a long walk so you can drain both their energy, and they can be tired and worn out when they share space. A well exercised dog is more likely to behave and less likely to start fights.
After about 2 minutes, you can drop to the back of the line with your dog and let him get a good butt sniffing of the new dog, but don’t let them meet face to face yet. Then you can go back to your original place of walking in front and let the new dog get a good butt sniffing in.
After about 45 minutes, you can walk side by side with your family member and other dog, but have both dogs on the outside, while you and your human friend are on the inside of the 2 dogs. Once they can walk together like this without fuss, aggressive tendencies, play, or disobedience to your commands, you can start the transition process home.
When you get home, make sure you and the older dog enter the home first. Then the new dog enters. The two dogs should be able to exist well together. Just make sure you stay out of the way of them trying to figure out their natural hierarchy. Don’t force a dominant dog to be submissive. That’ll make your dog feel resentful. Don’t force a submissive dog into a position of dominance, which can make him feel anxious and insecure. Just keep working with the natural pecking order of things and everything should be kosher.
Do you have multiple dogs? Let us know in the comments below what their names, ages, and breeds are!