So you’ve decided it’s time for a new dog. You’ve prepared the house and are so excited to bring your new family member home. The problem? You already share your home with a dog (or dogs). Though dogs are pack animals and generally enjoy having other dogs around, introducing a new pup to your existing pack takes some time and a lot of patience.
The first rule for introducing a new dog to your existing pack is having the dogs meet on a completely neutral site. This can be a new dog park (one your existing dogs haven’t visited before), a new hiking trail, or just a neutral open field. That way, you avoid any territorial issues with your existing pack.
You’ll have to enlist the help of some friends or family members. Depending on how many dogs you already have, you may need more than one.
With the dogs leashed, walk your existing dog(s) a few feet in front of your family member or friend with your new dog for a little bit. When dogs appear to be generally calm, it’s time to have them meet.
However, this does not mean simply letting the dogs meet face to face – this could easily result in a fight.
The key is to let the dogs meet how they normally would – through smell.
Slow down with your existing dog(s) until you drop behind your friend with the new pup. This allows your current dog to sniff the new dogs rear, essentially “introducing” them.
Now, reverse the roles. Walk with your existing dog(s) in front and let the new pup smell their rear. This process may need to be repeated several times until the dogs are comfortable with each other. Once they appear in a calm state, you can walk the dogs next to each other with the humans in the middle.
If the dogs appear to get along and are relatively relaxed, you can allow them to meet off-leash in an enclosed area, such as a dog park or fenced area in a neutral spot, like a friends house. This allows them to get even more acquainted with each other.
The entire process may have to be repeated a few times until the dogs are comfortable with each other.
Once the dogs are acquainted and comfortable with each other, it’s time to take them home! The key here is to have your existing dog(s) enter the house first. This will act as an invitation for the new dog to come inside.
Hiding all existing toys and food bowls will help with possessiveness or territorial issues. Also, make sure you remain in a calm state!
If you’re calm, your dogs will be calm.
It’s crucial not to overwhelm your new dog. After all, they just met their new fur siblings and just arrived at their new home! Take them around the house slowly, showing them where they will eat, sleep, and play.
It could take some time for everyone to get along and become friends. But, with time, love, and most of all, patience, your new pack will quickly be inseparable!