We have had a guest writer from https://heelboyheel.com/ write us an article on what to think about when Introducing a new dog to your current dog. Please feel free to have a read or check it out on their page.
There are a few things that should be considered before you introduce a new dog to your household.
First of all, you must decide if your new dog will be a good fit for your family. How will your dog (or dogs) react to meeting a new dog? Are they ready for a new friend? Will they feel threatened?
It can take over six months for a dog to get used to a new environment, and the home is no exception. This is why it’s necessary that your dog is comfortable in your home before you add another dog to the household.
The First Time They Meet
There are certain factors that can influence how your dogs will react, so it’s important to
consider the following when they meet for the first time.
We all know that dogs are territorial, so this is why it’s best that you introduce your dogs on neutral territory. This hugely lowers the risk of aggression and defensiveness.
One of the best ways to introduce dogs is on a walk. Make sure that it’s not a familiar location that you and your dog regularly visit, like a local park – as your dog may feel territorial over the area, which could ruin the bonding experience for both dogs.
Introducing dogs on a walk is also a good idea because dogs are pack animals, and walking together is sure to strengthen the bond between the two.
Ensure that you lead, or the dogs heel. This is the perfect positioning as in the pack, the alpha usually leads. If you let either dog lead, this can have an effect on how they will bond in the future.
In the Home
As we’ve established, dogs are territorial. Not just over space, but toys and food too. When you bring your new dog into the house, be sure that there are no toys or treats lying around, as your dogs could end up fighting over them.
If you have a garden, let your dogs meet there first. Then, keep your current dog outside while you let your new dog explore the home.
Keep the introduction process slow and steady, as it can be overwhelming for all parties involved.
Leash or No Leash
Whether you keep the dogs leashed on their first meeting depends on how you feel they’ll react.
If either dog is boisterous or aggressive, it’s definitely best to keep them leashed.
It’s best that each dog has its own handler while they meet for the first time, in case the dogs need quickly separating.
On meeting, as they’re leashed, let them sniff each other. Once they’ve had a good sniff, try and loosen the leash and see how the dogs react.
Look out for signs that your dogs are having fun:
● Being silly with over the top movements
● Play Bow, where they both lie their front legs down before playing
● Play fighting (it’s usually more dramatic and loud than real fighting)
● Playing and chasing each other
● Exposing their bellies (it shows vulnerability)
Be sure to keep an eye on your dogs’ body language, and look out for any signs of aggression.
Read the following section for information on how to react if your dogs aren’t getting along.
If They’re Not Getting Along
Dogs can be unpredictable, but they do show signs that they’re not getting along – just look out for their body language.
The following signs suggest that they might not be getting along with each other:
● Baring teeth
● Prolonged staring
● Unusually quick movements
● Flat or super pricked up ears
● Stiff-looking posture
● Whites of their eyes visible
● More frequent blinking
● Lip Licking
● Sitting, facing away
It’s important to monitor your dogs closely on their first few meetings, as they can go from zero to a hundred pretty quickly.
If you see either dog displaying any of these signs, be sure to separate them and try again another time – as these can indicate potential aggression. Give them at least 4 hours before trying again, as this is sufficient time to get out of the mood cycle. If they get into a fight, it could end badly. This is why it’s best that each dog has his own handler on the first meeting.
Your dogs should be separated immediately if fighting breaks out, to prevent further injury.
When separating your dogs, be sure to stay away from the mouth area, as you could get bitten.
One of the best ways you can separate fighting dogs is by using the wheelbarrow method. You’ll need another handler for this, as it requires a person for each dog.
Here are the steps:
- Each person grabs your dogs back legs
- Lift them off the ground
- Pull them away from each other
The quicker this is done the better, as dog fights can be fatal if left alone.
Staceys Dog Grooming is not fully endorsing this method. It would absolutely be worth trying especially if you have no other options but if the dog has a strong powerful bite or a jaw capable of locking then trying to pull while it is latched on might cause injury to both dogs. Other methods to try in a more dire situation might be…
Distract them with a toy or treat.
Short sharp yank of the collar.
Grab a good roll of skin with the collar and roll it backwards as you lift the dog.
Pour water into the dogs nose.
Pin the dog down to the floor.
If you try any of these manoeuvres, be wary that the dog might not know you well and is already in an upset state. Be ready the dog might want to turn on you so get them to separate rooms ASAP and maybe leave them to cool off.
Preventing Future Conflict
Our dogs are our family, and we want our family to get along. Luckily, there are some things you can do to increase the chance of them getting along with each other.
Exercise is one of the main ways that dogs release their pent-up energy. It’s vital for any dog’s wellbeing, and an unexercised dog is far more likely to develop behavioural issues or exhibit signs of aggression.
If your dogs are stuck in the same room together with no exercise, they’re probably going to end up fighting.
This is why it’s necessary that your dogs have a long walk every day, with the opportunity to run freely (whether it be with an extended lead, or no lead). They’ll need sufficient space to tire themselves out – an empty field is usually best. This also gives them a chance to bond on the walk.
Our dogs are like our children, and it’s hard to stop yourself from getting involved in their relationship. However, it’s important to give them time to bond alone, and to be left alone for periods of time (unless they’re in danger).
Be sure to speak to your veterinarian or a professional dog trainer if you’re having any difficulties training certain behaviours out of your dogs.
Hopefully, after reading this, your dogs will get along like a house on fire.