One of the biggest issues a pet owner may face is introducing another dog or puppy into the family. A dog who has had the house and family to himself may not be too crazy to welcome another dog into his den. The initial meeting is important, so you will need to prepare yourselves for success.
Before the first session, take away all items your dog might feel protective of. Food dishes, favorite toys, even bedding may cause your dog to react aggressively to the person a new dog, even if he hasn’t shown these behaviors in the past. Clean up any untidiness or clutter, as the dogs may feel pushed together if space is confined.
To help prevent the resident dog from getting territorial, choose a place such as a park, or open area for the initial meeting. This provides an inert atmosphere with other things going on to distract the dogs, and they will be able to separate if they want to. Be sure there is a person to handle on of the dogs.
Each household member should bring a dog separately to the meeting place. Allow them to meet as if you were on a regular walk. Keep their leashes loose, or let them go so that they won’t feel restrained. We always tell dog owners the #1 RULE, NEVER INTRODUCE DOGS WHILE ON LEASHES.
If your resident dog is used to others, he may want to play with the puppy, or he may just be more interested in other things.
Two adult dogs may go through an extensive ritual of posturing, sniffing, playing or even urinating. After this, one or both may just choose to pay attention to the other, but don’t worry if they growl a little or try to dominate each other. Let them establish their rapport with as little interference as possible.
Only get in the middle if the dogs were begging to fight, or tension is mounting. Stress behaviors include hackle-raising, baring their teeth, deep growling, nipping or snapping. If you witness any of these behaviors, separate the dogs before a fight begins by calling them or gently prodding them apart.
This initial meeting should be brief. Afterward, bring your dogs on a regular walk. If you have several dogs, introduce each separately before allowing them to meet.
Look for our next news article on Introducing Your Home to new Dog.