• February 24th, 2021
    Written by: Kimberly

    Bringing home a new dog is a change for everyone, including any dogs already living at your home. These family dogs recognize your home as their territory and even when they are friendly towards other dogs, an unknown dog living permanently in their territory can be a challenge.

    Introducing the new dog to your existing dogs should be done slowly. To avoid problems later on, the interactions need to be positive and calm so that both dogs get to know each other. In all, the process can take several weeks, but most dogs are destined to be companions when the introduction is done right.

    How to Successfully Introduce Your Dogs

    The timing for the process of bringing a new dog into a household with dogs already will depend on both dogs. You’ll want to stay aware of their behavior, and go only as fast as you believe is safe. Starting with these methods will put you on the right path:

    • Supervise at All Times - When the two dogs are together, you need to be present too. You’re looking for any signs of aggression or fear so that you can step in or quickly remove a dog from the situation if it becomes too much.
    • Reward Often - All dogs need to associate the others with good things, so use treats, praise, pets, and toys to make it a good experience. Treat especially when the dogs interact positively.
    • Meet on Neutral Ground - A first meeting should happen at a place where neither dog feels territorial, such as a park. Go slowly, staring from a distance and only getting nearer when each dog is calm. If you can, use a fence as a barrier and let the dogs off leash to avoid any leash aggression.
    • Keep Dogs Separate - Once you get home, your dogs should be kept separate for at least the first couple months. This means crates in separate rooms, feeding in different areas, their own toys, and one on one time with you. They can begin spending more and more time together, always supervised, as they become more comfortable.

    Your reaction to your dogs is important too. When your dogs see you staying patient, calm, and positive, they are more likely to share those emotions. This can be a long process, but giving each dog the time he needs will lead to a more lasting relationship for them and less stress for you in the long run.