Whether you’re playing host to a second dog or adding a new member to your pack, properly introducing two dogs for the first time is crucial! If two pups get off on the wrong foot, it may be near impossible for them to ever get along again. Use these tips to help introduce two dogs for the first time the right way.
Meet on Neutral Ground
Even if your dog is a social butterfly and gets along with everyone, a proper introduction is necessary. One of the most important factors to remember when introducing two dogs is to have them meet on neutral ground. Dogs tend to get territorial of their property and bringing an unfamiliar dog to their home can make them feel threatened.
Choosing a place neither dog has been before – like a new walking trail – will reduce the risk of aggression or a fight. At the neutral spot, make sure the dogs are leashed. Keep the leashes loose, as a tight leash can tell the dog you are nervous or anxious, causing them to be nervous and anxious, too.
Time to Walk
To begin, have the new dog walk a few feet in front of you and your dog. After a few minutes, have the person walking the new dog slow down. Then, let your dog meet the new dog by sniffing their rear. Go back to walking a few feet behind the new dog. You may have to repeat this a few times until the dogs relax a bit.
The next step is to switch positions and let the new dog sniff your dog’s rear. Again, this may have to be repeated a few times until the dogs appear comfortable around each other. Once the pups seem settled, you can reposition the walk so the dogs are side by side. Walk side-by-side for a while until the dogs seem comfortable.
The Official Meeting
After introducing the dogs via a walk, it’s time for them to meet face to face. Bring them to a fenced area and keep them leashed at first. If either pup appears uncomfortable or confrontational, back away and repeat the previous step. If the dogs seem content, you can let the leashes go! Try to resist the urge to micromanage as dogs can tense up around too much human involvement.
Thankfully, many dogs respond well to verbal cues and if a dog is getting too heated or tense, a simple “Hey knock it off!” or “It’s OK” can help them back off, shake it off, and start again. The only time you should interfere is either dog is getting too excited or it is clear a dog fight is about to happen.
Be on the lookout for physical cues. If at any point a dog becomes too rough or overbearing, it’s time to take a break. Dogs do correct each other, but only when one is being inappropriate. If the receiving dog does not pay attention to their corrections, it could escalate into an altercation.
Time to Go Home
Once the two pups appear to be friendly towards each other, it’s time to take them home! Separate crates or cars are preferred to avoid any unwanted tension. Once home, make sure all your pups toys, treats, and food bowls are put away to avoid territorial issues. Separating them while they eat can also keep conflict at bay.
For the first few months, don’t leave the dogs alone together. Even fast friends can have an unexpected conflict that could turn into a fight. Furthermore, if the two dogs are having trouble getting along, try consulting a professional dog trainer for help.
It may take some time, but most dogs end up becoming the best of friends. With time, love, and patience, your pups will be inseparable in no time! Just use this tips and tricks to help the transition as smooth as possible.
If you did just add a new member to your family, make sure you give them the gift of safety. Providing them with a Nuzzle collar will ensure you always know where they are and what they are doing. Learn more about Nuzzle here.