When you decide to bring a new dog or puppy into the home, it is a time of transition not just for your family and the new pet but any pets that have already been calling you family. Dogs operate on a pack mentality and they need to see you their owner as pack leader. When you introduce new dogs into the home, there are some things you should and should not that will make the transition smoother and will maintain the pack ranking with you at the head.
“Adding another dog to your household can bring you and your current dog more fun and companionship. However, it’s important to realize that your current dog, might feel similar to how you might feel if your parents picked your friends and then told you to share your toys with them. In the long run, things will probably work out fabulously, but in the beginning it’s a very smart idea to take a few extra steps to make everyone feel good about the new arrangement.” ASPC
There are several things you can do to make the transition smoother when introducing a new dog to the family.
1. Choose a neutral location, meaning neither dog will see it as their territory, for the first few encounters. Having this neutral ground is important because it can help dissolve some of the tension that can arise when two dogs meet for the first time. If you bring the new dog home, your older pet will see it as an invasion of his territory and may become aggressive.
2. Using positive reinforcements can be another great way to ease the transition. When you allow the two dogs to meet for the first time, have someone there with you. This allows one person to focus on one dog and makes it easier to break up and fights that may arise. If possible, try to do the first meeting in a fenced in location so that leashes do not have to be used. For some dogs leashes can instill a fear of being tied down and unable to escape the uncomfortable or frightening situation. If the dog feels trapped by the leash it may cause them to become more aggressive.
3. Watch both dogs’ body posture. If one dog is doing a play bow, this is a good sign as it is a universal signal of acceptance and a willingness to play and get to know the other dog. A quick and jerky side to side hop or jumps, as long as there is no growling involved, is another playful sign. Be mindful of the aggressive signs such as the dog’s hair standing up on his back, lunging and barking, showing of the teeth, a deep growl, or a prolonged stare. Allow the dogs to sniff each other and get to know one another, but at the first signs of aggression, separate them and keep them apart until both dogs have calmed down.
4. After the introduction on neutral ground, which can happen more than one time over the course of several days, it’s time for them to interact at your home. It is okay to let the two dogs interact freely within your home as long as someone is there to keep an eye on them at all times to watch for signs of aggression. Some snipping, barking, and fighting is normal as the new dog establishes the ranking in the pack. But me watchful for extreme fighting and growling. It is also important to remember to support the dominant dog, your existing dog, by giving him food first, giving him toys first and giving him attention first, as this helps the new dog realize he is the second in command of the pack after you.
“Dogs are pretty flexible with members of their family group. That’s why it’s so important to socialize your puppy early and continue throughout his or her life. Your dog considers you—and other people and pets in the household—to be a part of his family group, and acts accordingly.” Dog Language
Another important aspect to consider is where to buy your dog and what type of dog to get.
As far as where to buy your dog there are many options available.
A final point you need to consider is what your family can handle.
Are you a large family living in the city with a small yard? Having big dog breeds or multiple dogs may not be the best option for you due to space concerns. Are you financially able to have and care for a dog? If you just moved to start a new job or have had some financial problems recently, you may want to wait until things calm down a bit before getting a new dog. Do you have young children or older family member living with you? Some dog breeds do not mix well with children and some dogs lover running and jumping, which can be dangerous for older people in the home. There are many factors to consider when looking at adding a new dog to your family.
For more information on choosing dog breeds that are compatible, check out this site.
If you are one of the wonderful people who have given a pet rescue dog a forever home please consider a professional pet sitter for midday socialization and care when you will be away. It might be terrifying for a rescue dog to be boarded and away from their new loving home with all your familiar smells.
Please leave your feedback below and share. Thank you so much, Debbie June Rickman Laughlin
More resources are on The Pet Yellow Pages?
These are great suggestions. I am a pet sitter by trade and an animal rescue volunteer because my heart can’t stand seeing all of the animals being euthanized in the shelters. If you are considering a new dog making sure they are introduced properly is crucial for success in building your new family. Enjoy!
Wendy Tom on June 12, 2013 at 5:02 pm
It is so wonderful that you volunteer Wendy Tom.
Debbie June Rickman Laughlin on June 13, 2013 at 3:28 am