Dog…Meet Dog: 10 Tips for Successful Dog Introductions

Dog FriendsConsidering adding a second (or third) dog to your family? That’s pawsome!

Please remember that choosing a new canine family member should be a decision the entire family makes, so bring your owned dog to the shelter with you when searching for a new canine companion. Our adoption counselors can assist with doggie meet-and-greets on neutral territory to make sure everyone gets along!

Once you find your new furry family member, following these 10 simple tips will help you facilitate safe and smooth introductions at home and help your dogs’ new relationship gets off to a great start!

Before Taking Your New Dog Into Your Home:

  1. Take your new dog for a walk at the park or around the block. Bonding with your new pet is important before he meets other pets at your home.
  2. After the walk with your new dog, introduce your dogs on neutral territory (at the park or on a walk through your neighborhood). This introduction should be performed in a relatively quiet area with minimal distractions. Make sure there are two humans present during the introduction. Please note: If your dogs meet in your house or yard, your resident dog may be protective of her home and therefore aggressive. 
  3. After the introduction, take your newly adopted dog and his new brother/sister on a walk together. The dogs should walk side-by-side, but with a bit of distance between them. The walk should be positive and praising, and you should use a calming voice. Don’t force interaction between the dogs. Also know that sniffing of feces and urine is important exchange of information and energy between the two dogs, so allow both dogs to sniff areas after the other is done urinating/defecating and has walked away.
  4. If the dogs seem calm while walking together, allow them to walk closer to one another. Go slow and take your time, and make sure to pay attention to each dog’s behavior. Once the dogs appear to be calm and comfortable with one another, they can now begin to sniff one another’s backsides in a controlled manner for short intervals of time.
  5. Once your dogs seem comfortable together and there are no signs of fearful or threatening behavior, you’re ready to bring your new dog into your home. Allow your new dog to enter the home first to leave his scent. Then, confine your new dog and allow your owned dog to enter the home.

The First Few Weeks at Home:

  1. Confine your dogs in separate areas of the home whenever you’re away, are unable to supervise their interaction, or during breaks between playtime.
  2. Keep playtimes and interactions brief. This will help avoid overstimulation and over-arousal  which can lead to fighting. Separating the dogs through a barrier like a baby gate will help them get to know one another while still maintaining a bit of separation.
  3. Pick up all toys, chews and food bowls for the first few weeks. Leaving these out can cause rivalry between the dogs. You can reintroduce these items after a few weeks once your dogs have started to develop a good relationship.
  4. Feed your dogs in separate areas. Don’t forget to pick up the bowls once dinner is over!
  5. Take regular walks with your dogs. This will help them get to know one another better!

Please be patient! Bringing a new dog into your home is an adjustment for everyone, and it can take time for the dogs to build a comfortable, healthy relationship. Click here to view more great tips from our friends at the ASPCA.

When searching for your new furry friend, remember that our adoption counselors are here to help! Bring your dog with you when searching for that perfect match. Both adoption locations have meet-and-greet areas, and we’ll help with introductions to assist in finding the perfect companion for the humans and the canines in your family. We can’t wait to help you find a new furry friend!

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