How to Introduce a New Dog to Your Dog
Many people tend to get more than one pet whether it’s a dog, cat or bird. The trend to have a multi-pet household is sometimes linked to pet owners who feel their pet needs a companion. In reality, a lot of pets do enjoy the company of other animals and owners love to see them play, scheme and sleep together.
When introducing multiple dogs into the same household, how can we focus on making an acceptable atmosphere for each individual pet? The main focus would be basic obedience training. With that mind, we provide you a few tips to help you introduce your new dog to your resident dog.
Dogs Have a Social Structure
Like most animals who live in groups, dogs tend to establish their own social structures, which is viewed as a dominance hierarchy that serves to maintain order, reduce conflict and promote cooperation among pack members. They also tend to establish territories, which they defend against intruders. This can greatly affect their behavior when you want to introduce a new dog into your household.
Choose a Neutral Location
You should choose a neutral location when first introducing your dogs. An area not familiar to either dog is ideal. Each dog should have been well exercised prior to the meeting. Make sure each dog is on leash and handled by a different person. Throughout the introduction, remain calm. Dogs can pick up on nervous energy coming from an owner. Avoid tensing up the leash and remember to positively reinforce all the calm and non-threatening behavior demonstrated by both dogs. Let the two dogs sniff each other, but not for too long, as it could lead to an aggressive response.
Observe Behavior Closely
Keep an eye out for stress indicators, such as defensive or aggressive body language. We do not want to force the dog into a situation he is not comfortable with neither do we want to reinforce the unwanted behavior by coaxing them. If you observe an undesirable reaction by one or both of the dogs during the initial introduction, simply walk away with the dog and then slowly reintroduce them again, positively reinforcing all the correct behavior.
If you have more than one dog at home and plan on introducing a new dog into your resident pack, be sure to introduce them one by one to the new canine. If a group of dogs is already living together and have already established their pack hierarchy, they may have the tendency of ganging up on a newcomer.
Place Yourself as Alpha Leader
The important thing to keep in mind when having more than one dog in the household is there is a hierarchy. Whether you want to accept that fact or not, you must make sure that in any and all situations you place yourself as alpha leader by sticking to all your leadership exercises.
This behavior will transcend to your dogs as well, as each one will have a defined role in the family. If you coax the less dominant one of the group and punish the alpha, it will lead to dog versus dog aggression. Always make sure the alpha dog is allowed to get his way first.
Puppies are Still Learning
When introducing a new puppy to an adult dog, you must take into consideration that puppies younger than four months of age may not recognize subtle body postures from an adult. This can lead a puppy to pester an adult dog unmercifully until the adult has literally had enough.
Well socialized adult dogs who have great temperaments may warn by growling or snarling, which you shouldn’t punish. However, adults who are not well socialized or have a background of aggression might actually bite a puppy to set limits, which can severely hurt the puppy. Allow the adult dog some time for R&R away from the puppy and provide him your attention.
Get Help If You Need It
Always contact a professional dog trainer if the introductions don’t go smoothly. The longer the problem continues, the harder it is to resolve.
Have you tried introducing your new dog to your resident dog? How did that go?