Tips for Introducing an Existing Dog to a New Dog
When it comes to introducing your new dog or puppy to your existing resident dog, there are many things to consider. Here are some tips and other considerations that you should know about introducing your new dog to your current dog.
Tips for Introducing a New Dog to an Older Dog:
- Make sure your existing dog is well trained - Your resident dog should be well trained before you add a new dog. Being able to control the dog using basic obedience commands is important. If you have not given your existing pet any reason to doubt the sincerity of your motives or any reason to be jealous or distrusting, you will not lose control simply because there is another dog around.
- Age difference between the dogs - Getting another dog of a different age will generally make things easier. If both dogs are adolescents, they can become unruly. Some trainers suggest that the best difference in age is around 3 years. This age difference seems to make the dominant and submissive positions evolve naturally. The development of friendships can be more difficult to attain with a larger age difference between the dogs
- Considering two puppies - Training one puppy is hard work, but training two puppies is twice the work. If you know that you want to have two dogs, you should get one dog and raise him or her with all of the manners and training that you would like, and only then should you introduce second dog. The older dog can demonstrate the proper way to earn your attention, and this will help your new puppy learn the rules quickly.
- Gender - As long as you spay and neuter your animals, one dog of each sex seems to be the most recommended pairing of two dogs.
- Making the Introduction – Be sure to act with authority and confidence. Remember, what you feel can be sensed by your animals. Introduce the dogs in neutral territory. A secure, fenced in area works well. Opposite-sex introductions tend to go smoother than same-sex introductions. Praise positive behaviors and avoid giving attention, even negative attention, for undesirable actions. Do not reprimand, sweet talk, or in any other way interact with your existing dog until he is calm and relaxed. Supervise their interactions. Be vigilant of too much roughness and the natural behavior of dogs working out a pecking order.
- Once at Home - Provide them each a place to feel secure and safe in your home. Your first dog should be able to relax in his usual spot without worrying that he needs to guard it. At meal time, feed the dogs at the same time but in separate areas. Separate the dogs with a gate or in different rooms if it becomes necessary.
- Barking issues - Your resident dog may not be much of a barker, but the new dog may create a noisemaking situation. Even if the new dog is not an excessive barker, the two dogs together may create a level of excitement where they just can't help themselves but to bark. They may bark only when they are playing, but this can still be irritating at times. It is important to determine and address the actual cause of the barking, so you can learn to control it.
- Fighting between dogs - Some dogs tend to fight more than others. You should be prepared to deal with this problem. This could mean careful supervision when you're home, and possibly separation, at least at first, of the dogs when you can't be there to watch them.
- Pack Behavior - If you already have two dogs and are adopting another, you may find that the two team up on the new dog. If the existing dogs gang up against the newcomer, intervene immediately and take charge in order to make the dog introduction work. If not, the situation can become potentially dangerous. Your pets will know you are the leader if you have shown them that the best thing for them is to look to you for their guidance. When the dogs know that you make the rules, they live by them and follow them. They will work out their pecking order among themselves, and continue to respect your leadership. Make sure they see you as their master before they spend extended time together without you around.
- Attention for your resident dog - Let your first dog know that he or she is still important. Letting your attention for your resident dog fade just because of the new dog can produce feelings of jealousy, which can create aggressive behavior and anxiety in your existing dog. Your new dog will not suffer any hurt feelings if you give the first dog more attention, because the new dog does not know any better. Be sure to show your existing dog affection when the new dog is present.
- Dominance issues - Bringing in a new dog will alter the dynamics of the pack, so this is an especially important time to be aware of the social order of dogs. Your dominant dog should have his or her ranking reinforced by being the first to eat, going through the door first (but not ahead of you), and be the first to receive your attention.
- Keeping order - Although the dogs must develop their own pecking order, they must remember that you are still the leader. This means being fair on disciplining as well as treats. Any misbehavior must be handled equally and consistently. Make the rules, and then back them up with appropriate action. Do not let your existing dog think that the relationship is up to them. Do not force the new dog on your existing pet, but make sure he or she understands that your rules can not be disobeyed. Even if the first dog does not want to interact and make friends with the new dog, he must tolerate their existence.
- Now that you've read these tips, be sure you have read our page on introducing your new dog to your current dog for even more information.
The smallest breed of dog recognized by the American Kennel Club is the Chihuahua; the largest is the Irish wolfhound.