Dog To Dog Introduction
There are many reasons why pet owners decide to add a dog to the family when they already have one or more dogs. Sometimes they have an older dog and the kids in the family want a dog that can be more active, or an elderly family member is unable to care for their dog anymore and you inherit the dog, and sometimes you unintentionally pick up a dog that really needs a home like a stray or a neighbor's dog that will otherwise be taken to a kill-shelter and you feel like you have to save the dog. Whatever reason you have for adding a dog to your family where there already is a dog or two; there are some simple guidelines for making the new addition and the older furry dog members of your family more comfortable.
There are many things that dog owners remember to do when adding a dog member of the family such as getting appropriate dog food, a bed, new leash and collar; but one of the most important tasks of preparing the current dog for the new furry member is often overlooked.
There are some simple steps that a dog owner can take to make sure that the newcomer is welcomed not only by the human family members but by any furry members of the family including any dogs that were a part of the family before the new dog arrived.
The first step that must be taken whenever you introduce any new pet into a family with previous pets is to ensure the safety of all the pets especially the new pet. Dogs, especially older dogs will be very territorial about the inside of the home. They may appear friendly outside but bring that new dog into the inside of your home and your long-time companion may just turn into a snarling, biting beast towards your new dog member of the family.
To make the introduction as smooth and safe as possible keep the new member in a pet carrier if possible or other sturdy structure such as a crate that will allow your other furry family members to see, hear, and sniff the newcomer without getting physical with the new dog.
Next, you will want to give your current dog lots of praise and treats for not showing aggression or by not barking at the newcomer. Give this introduction period all the time that both animals need before going any further. You want to see acceptance behavior such as the two seeming to want to play with each other. There should be no signs of aggression or barking (alarm barking) from either of the dogs other than the initial barking or aggression when they first saw each other. Whenever there is more than one dog they will determine what the new pecking order will be (who will be the top dog).
Once the introductory phase is over and they seem to get along slowly bring them closer together but with control so that you can easily separate them is necessary. If you notice any signs at all have returned aggression, separate immediately and let the dogs cool off in separate rooms or place the newcomer back in a protective carrier or cage.
Dogs are like humans; they don't always get along with others. They will have days when they will have an issue with the other one and you will have to separate them until they cool down or forget what the fuss was all about.