Seriously though, who doesn’t want another dog?
Having a dog is amazing! You have a best friend who will listen and be there for you whenever you need them with the added perk of being exceptionally good catchers who are quite playful. I would say there are few things better than having a dog, except maybe having two of them!
While it might seem like a dream for you to have more than one canine best friend living at home, your current dog might take offense at the arrival of a new one. Dogs are territorial and their instincts are to guard their homes. If they sense a threat in a new dog and see them as an outsider you could have a war zone on your hands!
Don’t worry though because first impressions are extremely important and that’s why you’re here reading this article. It is wise to be prepared before you introduce a new dog to your current dog. I will explain some common practices for introducing a new dog into your home that will help you prepare to keep both your pups happy.
Before you get a new dog, remember to take your current dog’s temperament into consideration. If he has been aggressive towards other dogs before on walks or in the dog park, consult with your vet to ensure that if you get a second dog it won’t have any undo side effects on either dog. Once that has been taken care of and you have chosen your new dog, it is time to start the introductions.
The best way to introduce your new dog to your current dog is in a neutral place. I would advise against them meeting in the car because the confined space might increase tensions. The easiest way to go about getting them both to a neutral space is to enlist the help of a friend or family member.
Keep both dogs on-leash and secure so that if aggression break out, neither dog gets hurt and you don’t either! You could introduce them in a neighbor’s yard or park, somewhere with enough space that you can separate them if need arises. It is also best to not be around other dogs or people as this could interfere with them meeting on good terms.
With both dogs in a neutral place and on their leashes, allow them to interact at their own pace. Keep the initial interaction brief, let them sniff each other then separate them and play with each on their own to keep them busy.
After a while, have them interact again on leashes for a little bit longer, then play individually with each again. Keep creating small interactions between the two to build up awareness of each other. Once you are sure there are no aggression between the two, let them interact with the leashes dragging. If they start to fight or be aggressive, separate them immediately by causing a distraction and getting the leashes. Never get in the middle of a dog fight!
Once their greeting behaviors and initial excitement has worn off it is time to take them home. Place all of your current dog’s toys and personal items away to avoid any accidental territory conflicts.
Make sure each dog has their own space in the house and for the first few weeks supervise their time together. When you leave make sure they are in separate rooms or cages in different areas of the house to ensure nothing untoward happens while you are away.
These first few weeks are crucial to ensure a peaceful life afterwards. Consciously watch them and make sure that all conflict is resolved. Reward their good behavior and chastise them firmly if there are any aggression and separate them immediately to teach them to get along.
Dogs are communal and generally love having other canine members around. If you take all the necessary precautions and have patience you can have a wonderful and peaceful multi-dog household.
Dipietro, Renee. (2019.) Introducing a new dog to a home with resident dogs. Retrieved on March 19, 2019 from, https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/blog/introducing-new-dog-home-resident-dogs
Piening, Ken. (2019.) Introducing a new dog to your resident dog. Retrieved on March 19, 2019 from, https://www.petmd.com/dog/training/evr_introducing_a_new_dog_to_a_resident_dog?page=show
Animal Humane Society. (2019.) How to introduce dogs. Retrieved on March 19, 2019 from, https://www.animalhumanesociety.org/behavior/how-introduce-dogs
Written By: Mikayla B. AZ CARE Rescue Intern (March. 2019)