If you’re already a proud dog parent but you’ve decided to add another dog to your family, congratulations! By nature, dogs are pack animals, so it’s usually good for dogs to have a friend. However, the transition can be rough for both dogs if it’s not handled properly. Keep reading to learn three steps for introducing your current dog to a new dog — so their canine friendship can start as soon as possible.
- Make the first introduction on neutral territory. When your current dog first meets your new dog (and vice versa), have them meet somewhere that doesn’t hold special meaning for either one. This could be a neighbor’s yard, a park, a tennis court or somewhere similar that’s not familiar to either dog. Both dogs should be on their leashes and the introduction should be very gradual, meaning that they should simply see each other from a distance but not interact yet. Then, start walking the dogs together. However, don’t walk them side by side yet. As the owner, you should hold your current dog’s leash, while a friend or family member should follow behind as they hold your new dog’s leash. After a few minutes, you can let the two dogs sniff each other’s bottoms to get familiar with each other.
- Let the dogs meet face to face, but pay close attention to their body language. Hold both dogs tight on their leashes as you do this. If either dog tenses up or bares his teeth, it’s time to quickly separate the dogs again. However, if their tails are wagging and they seem friendly with each other, take them to an enclosed area and drop their leashes. This will give the dogs space to get to know each other. If the interaction goes well, be sure to praise both dogs.
- Drive the dogs home — but not together. This is done best if the dogs go in separate cars, as your current dog may be territorial of the space. Once they’re both home, let your new dog sniff around his new home. It’s important that you’ve also put away all toys, bones and bowls so neither dog can become possessive of these items. For the first few days of both dogs being around, keep them separate for the majority of the day, especially when they eat. After a few days, you can let the dogs interact more and more as they get used to each other.
Above all, don’t forget to show patience and compassion for both dogs, as they’re both probably very confused about what’s happening. But by following the three steps above, the introduction should go smoothly — and hopefully both of your dogs will be best friends in no time!
If you have any questions about introducing your current dog to a new dog, all of us at Banning Veterinary Hospital are happy to help. Give us a call at (951) 849-3864 or stop in to see us. We’re conveniently located at 3559 West Ramsey Street, Suite E, in Banning, California.