Adding a new dog to your home can be a very exciting time. Usually the whole household is happy, but we often don’t think about introducing this new dog to our current one. They’re both dogs so they have to get along… right? Not necessarily.
Here are some helpful tips for making some smooth introductions (with dogs that is).
#1 Keep Your Current Dog In Mind When Picking A New One
For instance, you might not want to adopt an exuberant puppy if you have a 15 year old dog in failing health. Many dogs are very specific about what types of dog’s they’re comfortable with. They could have problems with a new dog’s:
The first step to having a cohesive household is making sure that your dog’s personalities match. Be familiar with your dog’s preferences and steer clear of dogs they won’t get along with. Don’t adopt a hyper-active Vizsla and expect them to be a good fit for your grumpy couch potato.
#2 Their First Meeting Needs To Be On Neutral Ground
Try to meet at a fenced-in area where you can let the dogs greet off-leash. Meeting on-leash can create unnecessary tension between the dogs. Just be sure to have some buckets of water on hand to help break up a potential fight. Have one dog enter the field first, let them off leash and have the person distract them away from the gate, then add the second dog.
If you are worried about this type of greeting, contact a professional. We are always happy to help people find new family members.
If you cannot find a fenced-in field, then go for a walk together. Don’t let the dogs greet for a while, just walk next to each other and let the greeting happen organically. Then head into your backyard, letting the dogs off leash as you enter so they can interact outside.
When you are ready to go inside, take your current dog inside first and put them away in a room or their crate. Let the new addition explore the house alone for a bit, then also put them in a space where they can relax and your current dog can come out.
#3 Make Sure The Dogs Have Their Own Space
Each dog should have either their own crate, or their own gated-off room. They need to be familiar with and understand that these places are theirs. For the first few days keep the dogs interactions short and sweet with some time spent separately in their spaces.
Something we often forget when we have multiple dogs is that dog’s need alone time too. With more than one dog we tend to treat them as a unit, and this can be detrimental in many ways.
- It can lessen your ability to bond with either dog
- It can make the dog’s co-dependent and inseparable
- It can cause resentment over lack of attention
It’s easy to get wrapped up in seeing the dogs as a pair instead of individuals. That can be frustrating for dogs and humans alike! So what can you do about it?
I recommend giving each of them solo time in the house every day, as little as 10 minutes can work. I also recommend taking one solo-adventure per week with each dog. Even if that walk’s just once per week they still get a solo walk and much-needed time to themselves.
The key with most dog-to-dog introductions is to take it slow. Don’t expect them to become best friends overnight. If you are thinking about adding another dog to your household, but you aren’t sure what to look for or how to start, give our training team a call or contact our staff, we’d be happy to help.
Doggies by Andrew Smith Lewis
Making Friends by emdot
Two Dogs by photogramma1