Considering adding a second (or third) dog to your family? That’s awesome! Once you find your new furry family member, following these ten 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.
Good locations might be a dog park (since dogs are often used to meeting other dogs there), a nearby tennis court or a park. 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 your other dog 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:
6. Confine your dogs in separate areas of the home.
Whenever you’re away, are unable to supervise your dogs’ interaction, or during breaks between playtime, keep dogs separated and confined.
7. Keep playtimes and interactions brief.
This will help avoid overstimulation and over-arousal that 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.
8. Pick up all toys, chews, and food bowls for the first few weeks.
Leaving toys, chews, and food bowls 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.
9. Feed your dogs in separate areas.
Don’t forget to pick up the bowls once dinner is over
10. 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.
Please Note: The most successful dog-to-dog introductions are ones that are properly staged outside the shelter environment. The shelter is a strange and stressful place for most pets and does not provide an accurate indication of how the animals will act in a home environment. For this reason, The Animal Foundation does not allow in-shelter dog-to-dog introductions. Start searching now for your new best friend.
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