Many dogs appreciate the company of a canine companion, especially if their owner is out at work during the day.
Multi-dog households can work well, but how do you introduce your new dog to your current dog safely and without stressing either party?
Read on for our top tips!
What’s Your Dog’s Temperament?
Before you bring another dog into your home, you need to think very carefully about your current dog’s temperament and nature.
If your dog enjoys playing with other pups at the dog park, is friendly and sociable, and loves to interact with other canines, the chances are that he’ll get along fine with a new dog in your home. In fact, your current dog will most likely be thrilled to have a new friend for company, especially when you’re out at work.
However, if your dog is shy or unpredictable around other dogs, you should think twice before trying to bring another dog into your home.
If you decide to go ahead and offer a home to another dog, here’s how to do it!
Take A Walk Together
Your current dog views your home as his territory and bringing a new dog right into your house could trigger an aggressive reaction. Instead, before taking your new dog indoors, take both dogs for a walk together.
Keep both dogs leashed and walk them together in the same direction but at a safe distance. At this stage, don’t allow the dogs to sniff each other or get too close. Watch for signs of anxiety or aggression, and be ready to separate the dogs quickly if necessary.
Signs that things are about to turn nasty include:
- Stiff body posture
- Bared teeth
- Ears pinned back
If either dog exhibits any of those signs, increase the distance between the two dogs, and continue walking.
Allow The Dogs to Play Off-Leash
If everything is going well and the dogs show no signs of aggression, you can allow them to play off-leash.
Taking a trip to your local dog park is a good idea for this stage in the introduction process. There’ll be plenty going on at the dog park that the dogs can get involved in, such as meeting and greeting other pups and joining in with games.
That allows you to watch the dogs and assess how they behave around each other. One very positive sign to watch out for is the universally understood doggy “come and play” signal, where both dogs bow with their elbows to the floor and rear ends in the air.
Introducing The New Dog to Your Home
Disagreements between the dogs are most likely to take place inside your home. There’s not much space indoors, and the dogs can be pushed close together in confined spaces, leading to accidental scuffles.
Don’t bring both dogs into the house together. Instead, ask a family member to take your current dog out for a walk while bringing the new dog inside. That way, the new dog can check out his new surroundings alone.
Now, have your new dog in a large room where there’s plenty of space. Pick up any toys, treats, beds, and food that could cause tension between the two dogs. Your current dog can now come inside to join his new friend.
Tips For a Happy Future
Here are a few tips for a happy, harmonious future for both your dogs.
Always keep the two dogs separate at mealtimes.
We recommend either keeping the dogs in separate rooms, using a baby gate or putting one dog in a crate with dividers.
It’s crucial that you don’t allow one dog to hover over the other while he eats, and always monitor the dogs closely in case of tension. When the dogs have finished eating, pick up the bowls right away.
Provide Separate Beds and Crates
As natural denning animals, dogs can be very protective of their personal space, and sometimes, a fight can break out if one dog steals the other’s bed or goes into his crate.
So, provide both dogs with separate beds and crates.
It’s better not to leave your current dog’s toys lying around when the new dog arrives, as that can cause conflict.
Sometimes, taking both dogs to a pet store and buying them a new toy each works well. Each dog then has his own precious toy to play with. Watch the dogs closely for signs of guarding, such as snapping at the other dog or stealing his toy.
Separate The Dogs While You’re Not Around
If you must go out or leave the dogs alone, always keep them separate when you’re not there to keep an eye on them. That keeps the dogs safe, gives you peace of mind, and allows the dogs some important downtime apart from each other.
That rule goes for the longer term and when the new dog first takes up residence.
All dogs appreciate some alone time. So, it’s important to include some breaks between playtime sessions and in a busy household.
Give each dog their own designated space, either in a separate room, behind a baby gate, or simply by covering each dog’s crate so that they each enjoy some privacy.
Bringing a new dog into your home is an exciting time, especially if you already have a dog.
You can keep things harmonious by introducing the dogs to each other away from the house, perhaps in a dog park where the pup can play together. Give each dog his own space in the house, provide separate beds and crates for the dogs, and be vigilant around feeding times.
With patience, sympathy, and thoughtfulness, you can make your new dog’s arrival a happy, safe occasion for everyone.