You’ve bought all the new toys, gotten food and water bowls set up, and you’re ready to adopt another dog – congratulations! But how do you make sure that your new pup becomes best friends with your other four-legged family members? With a little patience, a lot of love, and the tips below, it’s going to be a breeze.
Choose a Neutral Meeting Place
It’s important to make the first meeting as calm as possible. If you can, have a friend or family member help you make the introduction, and do so in a neutral location like a park or neighbor’s yard. Some dogs can become territorial at home or at their favorite places, so a neutral location that is new to both dogs can help eliminate that.
Watch the Dogs Closely
At first, bring the dogs together on leashes. Let them greet each other while keeping a close eye on their body language. They might sniff each other, circle each other, urinate or even just ignore each other. If they have a relaxed posture, maybe even with their tail wagging or in a playful position, things are going well. If one of the dogs shows muscle tension, growling, or takes a defensive stance, it’s best to separate the animals for a while. After they’ve met and seem comfortable together, you might try taking them for a walk together.
Set the House Rules
Once the dogs have become familiar with one another, it’s time to take them home. With both pets leashed, take a walk around your yard before going into your house. Once inside, make sure that each pet has its own food and water bowls, toys, and bed. It’s important for each dog to have his own things to prevent conflicts. If one of the dogs is possessive over food, you might want to feed them at separate times or in different rooms. Keep your routine as normal as possible while closely supervising interactions to identify any troublesome behavior.
Use a Happy Voice
The tone of your voice can have a huge impact on how well your new pet initially gets along with your other pets. Use positive commands and keep your tone happy to ease any tension that either dog may be feeling. Reward the dogs for good behavior with both treats and positive commands.
Call a Professional
If you have any reservations about how your dogs are interacting, reach out to your veterinarian, local shelter for a recommended trainer or your own trusted training expert. They may be able to offer some new tips and ideas, and help you understand what behaviors to watch out for. They will also be a great resource if you are trying to introduce your dog to new animals like cats, small mammals, or birds.
With a little patience and a lot of love, you can make your new pet feel right at home with his new furry brothers and sisters. Before you know it, your dogs will be their own little pack!
For more tips, check out this helpful post from our friends at The Humane Society of the United States.