Introducing a New Dog to Your Resident Dog

You have gotten a new dog and are ready to take it home.  How will your resident dog view the newcomer?  The way you introduce them may mean the difference between life long love or life long hate.

First, introducing two dogs together requires two people, one for each dog.  It also requires a neutral location such as a park or a friend’s yard — somewhere your dog does not claim.  Finally, it requires caution.  Always be careful when you introduce two dogs and when they are together for the first several weeks in your home.  Fights can happen and you do not want to get hurt in the process.

Have a friend or family member pick up your resident dog and bring him to the location of the meeting.  You will have the new dog.  Meet up and talk while letting the dogs sniff each other and interact.  Make sure your leash is loose as a tight leash can lead to an aggressive dog in this situation.   Do not intervene in your dog’s get acquainted rituals unless there is trouble.  Remember to be casual about this meeting.  If you are all stressed and afraid, the dogs will pick that up and the meeting won’t go well.

Do not make a big fuss over either dog.  If you pay too much attention to the new dog, the resident dog will be jealous.  If you pay too much attention to the resident dog, the new dog will feel left out.  Just stand there and talk to your friend and keep an eye on things.

As the dogs get to know one another, there may be some posturing to see who is dominant.  The resident dog is usually the dominant one, but sometimes the new dog comes out on top.  The dominant dog may put his head on the submissive dog’s shoulder.  The submissive dog may lick the other dog’s muzzle and roll over.  If both dogs are adults, there may be more intense posturing.  There may even be some growling.  This is normal.  Do not interfere unless it looks like a fight is starting.

If the posturing and growling escalate, each person should turn, quickly walk away, and snap the leash to separate the two dogs.  Do not pull the leash as it may embolden the dogs and they will start to fight.

If the dogs seem to get along, let them play together.  Just make them drag their leashes so that you can step in if you need to.  If things get too intense, throw a ball, call the dogs, or play with them together.

To ease things more for the dogs, you can do this two or three times before bringing the new dog into the home.  Once the new dog is in the home, make sure you supervise them whenever they are together.  Never leave them together in the same room alone until you are absolutely certain there will be no fighting.  Put them in different rooms when you leave the house until then.