The calm and tranquillity of a single dog household can easily evolve into mayhem with the introduction of another dog. It is important to get off to the right start when a new dog is to become part of the family. This article gives some hints and tips to smooth the way to the best possible start.
Understanding your new dogs history
If your current dog and the new dog have been well dog-dog socialised, then things are going to go a lot smoother. However, if one dog is scared or cautious then care will have to be taken. Check out the history of your new dog; has he lived with other dogs before, did he attend socialising classes, has he had any aggression or anxiety problems.
Introduce one dog at the time.
If you already have more than one dog in your home, introduce the dogs to the new dog one at the time so that it is not overwhelmed.
Introduce them in neutral territory
Avoid territorial issues and introduce the dogs in an area new to both dogs. It is often a good idea to allow them to sniff and meet at either side of a fence for 30 minutes or so.
Take the dogs on a walk together
After the initial introduction, take the dogs on a walk together. Try to keep them apart and avoid them staring at each other.
Don’t introduce dogs in ‘loaded’ areas
Avoid introductions in door or gate entrances, or in confines spaces. Avoid having clusters of people in the introduction area. After they have had an initial sniff, tempt them away for a brief period to relax and avoid tension building
Don’t introduce dogs whilst on lead.
Scared or nervous dogs will either ‘fight’ or ‘flight’. If your dog is on lead, it only leaves one option FIGHT !. So introduce dogs off-lead and in an open area, but preferably one which has fenced barriers such as a tennis court.
Keep the first meeting a positive experience
On the first introduction, don’t wait for something bad to happen before splitting the dogs up. Keep the meeting brief and positive.
Familiarise the new dog with your home
Allow your new dog to familiarise itself with your house without the other dogs being present.
Don’t leave newly introduced dogs together alone.
No matter how well newly introduced dogs appear to get on, under no circumstances should you leave them alone together in the house. If you do need to leave them, always ensure they are kept in separate rooms or in their crates.