The idea of introducing a new dog into your household can be exciting, but also daunting! How will the new dog get along with your current pet(s)?
Here are some great tips from Stephanie from A Positive Difference Training, that can help set you up for success with a new furry addition – whether that be a visiting friend’s pet, a foster animal, or a new adoptee!
Tips for Introducing a New Dog:
When you own a dog and a new one will be entering your home, there are several things you can do to ensure that the meeting comes off without a hitch.
If you know that both dogs are social, the meeting will hopefully be easy. But, sometimes, the dog may act differently in a new environment, or when introduced to new animals.
If you are uncertain how one (or both) of the dogs will react, be cautious and follow these guidelines:
Outside of the Home:
1. Introduce the dogs on neutral ground. Choose a place where neither dog is likely to feel territorial.
2. When the meeting occurs, have each dog on a lead, each with a calm handler. Keep the lead loose, since tension on the leash might communicate to the dog that you are fearful or anxious about their meeting. Walk the dogs side by side with a safe distance between them. Then, cross paths, still maintaining a safe distance.
3. Next, let the dogs meet. As the dogs approach each other, watch their body language closely, paying attention to the entire body. What you want to see is relaxed body language, maybe even a play bow (when their front paws go out and their butt is in the air). Sniffing each other’s rear ends is a good way for dogs to get to know one another. In fact, nose-to-nose greetings can be stressful for many dogs, particularly those who are fearful or feel threatened by eye contact. For these dogs, nose-to-nose greetings may cause them to make a bad decision.
4. Once they have a successful meeting, walk them side by side, allowing them to stop and interact for short sessions. Once you feel comfortable that the dogs have established a friendly relationship, it’s time to bring them into the home!
Inside the Home:
1. Pick up all bones and toys initially.
2. Over the next few days or weeks, allow them to have play sessions. When adding toys, make sure they are supervised.
3. If you are introducing a very energetic dog to a more laid back dog, watch for signs that the less active dog may need a break. You can separate them with a baby gate; this allows them to still see each other while taking a break.
4. Over time, the newness will start to wear off. You can continue to work on basic obedience commands to help with the transition and setting up the whole family up to live happily ever after.