Easing the Transition of an Additional Dog to the Family
Bringing a new dog into a home where there are already one or more dogs can be a challenge. The current dogs may feel threatened, and there will need to be an adjustment to the pack pecking order.
The new dog may also feel very uncertain and what to establish his or her place in the home with the current dogs. This can lead to issues with dog aggression and fighting, but this doesn’t have to be the case if dog owners make the introductions correctly and wisely.
Getting The Scent
Dogs know each other by their scent, which is just as unique to dogs as our visual recognition of people we know is to us as humans. Start by having two different spaces for the existing pet and the new dog. These should be in separate areas of the home that are not visible from each other. Crates in two separate bedrooms or a bedroom and a bathroom are ideal.
Place something of your dog’s in the new dog’s area and vice versa. This will allow the dogs to begin to become familiar with the scent of the other.
Then, allow the new dog and the existing dog to alternate times out of their crate or room, with about 20 minutes for each dog. Do not allow the dogs to see or make contact with each other. Spend time with each dog when they are out on their time. Be aware the existing dog may be upset with the new scent in the house. Spending time with the current dog will help to reduce any stress he or she is feeling.
Once the current dog is no longer anxious about the scent of a new dog, which typically is a day or two, he or she is becoming familiar with the scent and the knowledge of another dog in the home and yard. This is the signal it is time for the dogs to meet.
First Face to Face Away From The Home
It can be a lot easier to introduce your existing dog to a new dog away from the home, particularly if the existing pet is territorial or has been territorial to other dogs in the past.
Take the existing dog to the dog park and have someone else experienced with dogs bring the new dog to the location. Allow the dogs to see each other on “neutral ground.” If your current and new dogs are well-socialized and used to meeting other dogs in the dog park setting, this is a very natural event.
Additionally, with both dogs comfortable with each other’s scent, they are primed to interact without aggression. Keep the dogs a distance apart but walk them together, then allow the dogs to interact, sniff and play.
Keep the dogs carefully monitored and supervised and have one handler for each dog until you are confident the dogs are not going to have aggression problems. Be sure to allow the current dog to have his or her own space and toys and don’t assume he or she is ready to share immediately.