Dog Introductions: How to Introduce a Second Dog

Having a dog is a rewarding experience, and for some pet owners having one dog simply is not enough. Many people and their pets enjoy the extra companionship a second dog can bring into their lives. For those that need to be away from the home during the day, a second dog can be an excellent friend and companion to stave off the lonely days for their current pet. However, no one can suddenly bring a new dog into their home and expect to have things go smoothly.

Introducing a Second Dog
Second Dog Introduction (Courtesy: Bill Selak Flickr CC)

When introducing your new friend into your household, there are a few key tips to making the transition go smoothly for you and your dogs.

  • Leave your current dog at home when picking up your new family member.
  • Find a friend or family member to help you, and bring them to a neutral territory for their first meeting. Each person should keep the dog leash loose, so they do not feel restrained.
  • When they first meet, don't force the dogs to have any interaction with each other. If they ignore one another, this is perfectly normal. There is no need to worry.
  • Before you bring the new dog into your home, remove your current dog's bones, dog dish, dog toys and other favorite items. Doing this will help to avoid fights during their early relationship.
  • Feeding the dogs in separate areas will lessen the competition for food and the likelihood of aggressive behavior over their meals.
  • Pay attention to their body language. If they show signs of aggressive behavior, like baring teeth, crouching, or growling, separate them immediately. Reintroduce them at a later time, but make the time spent together brief.
  • If both of your dogs continue to exhibit bad behavior around each other, call in a professional to help. Hiring a local Certified Professional Dog Trainer is the best option for finding a solution to your problem.

It may seem like a daunting task to introduce your new family addition into your household, but with a little research and preparation, the introduction will go smoothly. Always remember to be aware of what your two dogs are doing, and how they are reacting to one another. Tackling behavioral issues as soon as they happen is the number one thing you can do as a pet parent to ease them into their new friendship. Also, if situations arise that are beyond your dog training expertise level, do not hesitate to hire a professional to train your dogs, and show you how to handle their behavior problems.

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