When you add another dog to your home, you and your current dog may experience more enjoyment and companionship. However, you should realize that your current dog may have to get used to the idea of sharing his home and owners. Ideally, you want to give them a smooth, safe introduction to make sure their relationship starts on the right foot. It becomes a two-step process. The first is the actual introduction and the second is the management of the new dog in your home.
To start with, be sure to leave your current dog at home when you go to pick up your new dog. Next, you want to introduce the two dogs in neutral territory, such as a short walk through your neighborhood. The dogs should be on leashes, with different people handling each leash.
Give the dogs time to get comfortable with one another. If they don’t interact right away, that is alright. When the dogs begin to sniff each other, encourage them by speaking in a cheerful tone of voice. Pull the dogs away from each other and walk a little bit. After a few minutes pass, let them sniff a little more. This helps to make sure that the dogs remain calm and not aggressive.
You need to observe closely the body language of the dogs. This is how you can figure out if things are going well or not. If the dogs feel comfortable with one another, you may see loose movements and a relaxed open mouth. If their body movements are stiff or slow and they have tensed mouths, this shows the opposite. If there is teeth-baring, growls or prolonged staring, the dog may feel threatened or aggressive. If this happens, lead the dogs apart to create more distance between them.
You should practice simple obedience training with each of the dogs separately, rewarding them with treats. Then, bring them back together, letting them interact again. After the newness of each other has worn off and they aren’t showing threatening behavior, it is time to bring them to your home. Before taking them inside, walk around outside of the home for a little bit.
Remember to be patient as it takes some time for everyone to make some adjustments and for the dogs to have a comfortable relationship.
Living Together During the First Few Weeks
It is important to avoid little fights during the first stages of your dogs getting to know each other. Begin by putting away all of your current dog’s toys, chews, food bowls and favorite items. This is because these things can cause a rivalry in the beginning. After a couple of weeks, you can bring these things back out.
Each dog should have its own food and water bowls, as well as beds and toys. During the first few weeks, only allow the dogs to have chews or toys when they are separated by their crates or confined areas. Whenever you are away, you should keep the dogs confined in separate areas of your home.
Their playtime should be brief to avoid over-stimulation, which may lead to a squabble. Whenever the dogs are interacting, if they begin to growl, separate them for a few minutes, telling them “too bad.” After this, you can bring them back together.
When the dogs interact nicely, reward them with lots of praise. Be sure to spend time individually with each dog, giving them each training time with you.