So you have decided to expand your family? Congrats!
Introducing a dog to their new sibling (aka. your current dog) is sure to spur a mix of nervousness and excitement. Many dog owners expect dogs to be social beings that look forward to having a new playmate, and although dogs are social animals that tend to love the company of other dogs, things can get messy if proper introductions are not made. Follow the steps below to make the transition as smooth as possible for both dogs.
IT'S IN THEIR DNA
Dogs are pack animals, and the addition of a second or third dog into the home often triggers a genetic pack drive or rank drive. When a new dog is added to a home, every dog in that house has to re-establish its personal rank within the new family pack. Re-establishing rank is where dog fights come from.
INTRODUCING PUPPIES TO ADULT DOGS
Puppies usually torment adult dogs unmercifully. Before approximately the age of four months, or sometimes older, puppies may not recognize subtle body postures from adult dogs signaling that they’ve had enough.
Well-socialized adult dogs with good temperaments may set limits with puppies with a growl or snarl, never hurting the puppy although the puppy may yelp out of surprise. This communication is healthy and should be allowed.
PRE - INTRODUCTION CHECKLIST
First impressions are important, make sure you check all items in this list before your new dog walks into your home.
STEP #1. CHOOSE A NEUTRAL SPOT FOR THE FIRST MEETING: It’s best to avoid introducing the dogs in the house — or even in the yard — where the resident dog may become territorial. "Neutral grounds," as the name implies, refers to areas where your existing dog has no strong emotional attachment.
PRO TIP: Open areas are ideal, as there are a lot of interesting sights and sounds to keep the dogs distracted.
STEP #2 PAY ATTENTION TO THE BODY LANGUAGE: Watch the dogs for happy, waggy body language and interest in one another without hard stares, tense postures, freezing in place, or a lowered or tucked tail. Expect the dogs to sniff, circle, play, urinate or simply ignore each other. Let them do what they want to establish a relationship — with as little mediation from the owner as possible.
PRO TIP: Head to the meeting spot with the dogs separately and always handle introductions with both dogs on leash.
STEP #3 TAKE YOUR PETS FOR A WALK
Keep the initial interaction brief. After the dogs meet, try going for a short walk together. If the walk together goes well, your dogs may be ready to meet on home turf.
PRO TIP: if you own more than one pet, introduce one dog at a time.
To prevent hard feelings, it's best that each dog is given separate but equal time initially. Be sure to give the adult dog some quiet time away from the puppy, and not force them to interact. If your dogs are very different in age or energy level, be sure to give the older or less energetic one his own private space where he can enjoy rest and down time.
WHEN TO GET HELP
If the introduction of a new dog to a household doesn’t go smoothly, contact us to help your dog reach its full potential. Learn more about our training philosophy and services here.
A FREE phone consultation is available for all dogs.
We do appointments by scheduling only as we are not open to the public. No dog is permitted on our property without undergoing a complete behavior assessment and temperament test.
We took our dog to PA and the compliments we received on how well she behaved was wonderful. I would highly recommend K9 to anyone looking to have a great relationship with their dog!!!!