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How to Introduce a New Dog to Other Pets

Many people looking to adopt a new dog into their family get nervous about introducing the new pup to their other pets. But you shouldn’t let that fear keep you from saving a dog’s life.

With a few pieces of advice, a little patience, and a lot of love, you can help your new dog become best friends with the other four-legged fur babies in your life.

Photo credit: @beaux_the_blueheeler

Introduce the pets in a neutral location first.

Making the first meeting as calm as possible will help lay the foundation for a loving relationship between the pets. If possible, it’s best to bring your existing pet to the animal shelter to meet their potential new playmate before the adoption is finalized. You can also introduce the pets at a local park, in a neighbor’s yard, or other neutral location. If you and your existing pet frequently visit a certain park, it’s better to host the first meeting at a different park location. Dogs can become territorial at their favorite parks and show aggression towards new animals in their territory.

Watch the pets closely.

Just like humans, pets communicate with body language. If they’re relaxed with their tail wagging and 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.

Use your 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 has. Reward the dogs for good behavior with both treats and positive commands.

Set some house rules early.

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. Now that the new dog is in your resident dog’s territory, Fido is more likely to show aggression towards the new pup. Make sure that each pet has its own food and water bowl, toys, and bed. It’s important for each dog to have its own stuff to prevent conflicts. If one of the dogs is possessive over food, you might also want to separate them at feeding time.

By having a little patience and taking it slow, you can make your new pet feel right at home in its new surroundings. Before you know it, you won’t be able to imagine life without your new pup!