Introducing a new dog to your current one

Life is “back to normal”, and you are thinking about getting a new dog to be a companion to your current one, but you’re afraid they might not get along?

A few steps can help you make the introduction of the new family member a little easier. So start to take notes:

1. Try to introduce them in a neutral place, or your current dog/dogs can become extremely territorial and even get violent. If you can go to an outdoor, fully fenced space, preferably an area that neither dog has “claimed” through frequent visits or walks. It should be quiet with no other dogs or people. If outdoor space isn’t available, opt for a big garage or basement.

2. Don’t rush the process. Start taking them for a walk on a leash and getting them to walk closer each passing day. If you feel like either of them is getting nervous, back off a little and try again later. Remember to always reward your current dog for good behavior.

3. Since food is something dogs get very territorial over, try to feed them from separate bowls or even separate rooms, if possible. At least for the first few days. It’s essential to keep an eye on them once you switch over to the same feeding spot to see how they react. Stay in the room until both are finished eating.

4. Separate your dogs while you’re away, even if the two seem to be getting along, at least for the first week or two. You never know how dogs can react when they are alone, and some external factors might frighten and get them into fight or flight mode. Their safety must be the number 1 priority.

5. Watch out for the dogs’ body language. They can give you hints as if they are happy by showing interest, wagging their tail, and sniffing the other pup or that they are nervous/unhappy by giving hard stares, having tense posture, freezing in place, and lowering their tail.
If your dog runs over to you, that could be a sign it needs a break from the interaction, so try to respect their process.

After introducing your new dog to your resident pet, you can introduce your new dog to your home. Give your new dog a chance to check out his new living space alone for a while before bringing your current one.
Try to keep your household calm as the dogs get used to the new setting and maintain your resident dog’s typical daily schedule.

Have you ever introduced a new dog to the family? How was your experience? Let us know in the comments!

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