How To Introduce Another Dog Into Your Home

How To Introduce Another Dog Into Your Home

So, you're bringing in a new family member and couldn't be more excited.  After all, this is the beginning of a whole new chapter in your family, right? Introducing a new dog into your home can be potentially disastrous. Dogs are very territorial animals. Even if your dog is normally sweet and docile, precautions should be taken.

And bringing in a new dog is no big deal.  Your other dog is sure to love having a new friend to play with, right?Introducing a new dog into your home can be potentially disastrous. Dogs are very territorial animals. Even if your dog is normally sweet and docile, precautions should be taken.

But what if it doesn't go the way you were expecting?  

What now?

Introducing a new dog into your home can be potentially disastrous. Dogs are very territorial animals. Even if your dog is normally sweet and docile, precautions should be taken.

First, let me mention that before you bring a new dog into your home the dog should be seen by a vet.  You need to be 100% sure that you aren't bringing anything unwanted or unknown into your home.

Once this is done, it's time to introduce the dogs to each other.

When you first do this make sure you take your time.  Don't rush anything.  

And the actual first meeting should be done in neutral territory.  A good way to do that would be to take the new dog to the park where you meet a member of your household with your existing dog.  After the initial short introduction take them for a nice brisk walk.  This will give them a chance to meet while at the same time keeping them busy.

When you are walking them have the two dogs on the outside with you and the other person in between.  At this point, you are only letting them get used to the idea that there is another dog present. 

Also, it's best if you can take them somewhere that is new to both of them.  Exploring the new surroundings and smells will preoccupy them both.

After walking for a while you can change positions and let the dogs walk in the middle next to each other.  Just keep walking at a brisk pace and give them time to get used to each other while walking. 

By now they should feel pretty comfortable and may even want to stop for a little sniff to get to know each other.  This is fine if they both seem ready.  And a quick note...NEVER introduce dogs to each other head on.  They should always be first introduced side by side so they don't feel threatened.

Now it's time to head home. For the first few days at home, I like to use a crate.  You can actually put their crates next to each other and they again get to learn about each other with the safety of a crate.  At different times of the day one dog can be loose while the other is in the crate.

For the first few days at home, I suggest using a crate.  You can actually put their crates next to each other and they again get to learn about each other with the safety of a crate.  At different times of the day one dog can be loose while the other is in the crate.

If they seem to be comfortable with each other you can start letting them out together but don't leave them unattended at first.  

Next, comes meal time. Feeding the dogs separately, in the beginning, is a must. We don’t want to take any chance of a dog fight over food at this point.  Remember we are still feeling the dogs out at the same time that they are feeling each other out.

If you can feed them in separate rooms that is ideal, at least in the beginning.

Also, for a few days keep toys out of the picture because some dogs are very possessive of their toys and we don’t want to get this new relationship off on the wrong foot.

Hopefully, your first dog is well trained and knows its place in the pack.  Make sure that the new dog knows from the beginning who the master of the house is by showing it what is expected and what the house rules are.

And make sure you aren't focusing all your attention on the new arrival, as tempting as that might be.  You need to balance making your new dog feel welcome while at the same time not making your current dog feel he/she is being replaced.  This will keep your current dog from feeling like they need to compete for your attention which never turns out well.

In conclusion, never underestimate the risks when introducing a new dog into the home, especially if they are a larger breed. It could be potentially dangerous to any other animals you might own and also to you. Follow the advice detailed above and use plenty of caution and common sense and everything should be fine.

Meet Simba (on top) and Nala, my daughter and son-in-law's two rescue dogs.  They went through parts of this introduction process because both dogs were rescues and there was felt to be some unpredictability.  Pool Nala was used to just have litter after litter of puppies and when she was of no use to the breeder she was dumped at a kill shelter.  Another rescue pulled her out and when my daughter was looking for a second dog to bring home it was love at first sight for both of them.  Simba came from the humane society and it had been known he killed a chicken.  So, based on all of this, Jordan and Xavier took extra precautions during the initial introductions and as you can see by the photo, they love each other. 

But if you are uncertain or nervous about bringing a new dog home, you might want to consult with a trainer.  A trainer can not only help you with the introductions but they can also help you pick the best fit for a new dog to bring into your home based on the personality and even the breed of your current dog.

As many of you know, my handsome man dog friend, Frisbee has fear aggression.  At the moment and probably for the rest of his life he will be somewhat secluded from people and the outside world.  I badly want to get another dog for a couple reasons...one being for him to hopefully have a playmate and two because I love dogs and would love to have another dog.

I also have huge hope that perhaps if I get the perfect dog that is the perfect fit for Frisbee, maybe the new buddy can help build Frisbee's confidence and help with his fear aggression. Of course, that's a long shot but it's not impossible.

I can't do anything while my 13-year-old Shih Tzu is struggling with Diabetes, Cushings and is blind and deaf but still hanging in there. 

When the right time comes though, I will not do it alone.  Because of my situation, I can't afford to pick the wrong dog.  And I would be devastated to get a dog and then have to return it so I need to be sure all the pieces of the puzzle are in place (as much as that will be possible) before I bring a new dog home.  

I will absolutely use a trainer to help me choose the best fit for Frisbee and to help facilitate the introduction.  I have too much at risk not to.

For most people bringing a new furry friend into the family is not a real big deal, but if you have a dog already with some quirky personality issues you want to take extra precautions like the ones above when bringing in your new family member.

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1 comment

  • Nice article on a very sensitive issue. There are some very useful tips here, especially regarding the manner and place, and stages in which the first dog and the newcomer should be introduced. I have a Spitz and he’s the light of the family. When we noticed over the years that Sandy has moments of loneliness and boredom,we realised we should’ve got a pair right in the beginning. We now fear that getting another dog may have undesirable results – the dogs may never accept each other. This is the smaller problem, the bigger one being we’d be absolutely heartbroken if our Sandy ever began to feel, or felt even for a short while, that his place and importance had been diluted. So we prefer to stick to the one that lights our lives – Mahbaby Sandy.

    Sanjay Kapur

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