How should you introduce dogs to each other?
“A dog is a man’s best friend”, and it is likely that fierce commitment to this relationship is felt on both sides, so what happens when a new furry friend is brought into the home? Introducing dogs to each other can be a real challenge, as there are many uncertainties. Worrying if they’ll like each other? Concerned your current dog may feel rejected? Hoping it won’t be a complete disaster?
Here are some easy-to-follow top tips to ensure the meeting goes smoothly for everyone and that your dogs are introduced to each other in a careful and considerate manner. It is wise to fit dogs with Safer Pet GPS dog trackers first, to ensure the dogs do not become lost in case they run or wander off lead.
Don’t rush it
Introduce the two dogs to each other before you bring your new dog home and do it gradually. Don’t bring the new dog into the house thinking everything will just click overnight. For the dog or dogs that already live there, this is a complete intrusion on their territory by a total stranger.
Equally, the new dog may not know what the ‘rules’ are, or which boundaries to respect. Start slowly and don’t rush the process... Humans don’t make friends in one day so don’t expect this of your canine pal.
The actual introduction
- Keep it neutral - arrange the first meeting in neutral territory; somewhere where you don’t walk your current dog and where your new dog won’t know of
- Chill out - keep both dogs on a loose leash as you don’t want either dog to feel that tension on the leash indicates your concern about their meeting. This will only make them more anxious
- Get help – have someone hold the new dog on the leash while you have the other one, so that you don’t feel overwhelmed by doing everything yourself
- Give them time but pay attention - allow the two dogs to sniff and explore one another as much as they need to. Watch their body language closely; if they show no signs of hostility towards each other after a while then you can take them to an enclosed area, remove the leashes, and give them proper space to get to know each other
Second and third meetings
Both the second and third meetings should still be conducted in a neutral location, before the new family member is brought home. Perhaps you could try a couple of walks with both dogs, and you may want to walk in between them as a precaution.
When you feel ready to bring the new dog home, make sure that the dogs are fully comfortable with each other. If you are unsure of the difference between dogs getting to know each other and dogs who simply don’t like each other, it may be wise to seek expert help.
Remember, you are the pack leader
Before bringing both dogs into your house, firmly establish your role in the pack. From the beginning, your dogs should know that you are the pack leader, the boss of the house and it is you who makes all the rules. This is especially important for your current dog as dogs can mistakenly think they have been promoted to chief if a new (often younger) dog enters the picture.
Let your dogs work out their dynamics
Once your dogs have accepted the new situation and are settling in at home, let them establish a hierarchy among themselves, with you as the leader of course! Don’t try and force one of your dogs into a dominant or submissive position as this could backfire. Their relationship in the long-term will be more harmonious if you allow them to work this out for themselves.
And finally, relax…
Try to remember that you have done a wonderful thing: you’ve given another dog a happy home in which to grow and feel entirely loved. If you have followed all our tips, you’ll notice your dogs bonding more each day and looking out for one another in no time.
After all, we can all make room for additional best friends!