This can cause stress for the incoming dog as well as the current dog or dogs. It is important to understand how to handle introducing dogs in order to ensure a harmonious life for everyone involved.
- Set goals that are reasonable.Understanding the background of each dog (especially how well they were trained and socialized) will help you anticipate what might occur. It is important to respect the fact that the resident dog might see the new dog’s arrival as an invasion of his already established territory, and this can cause stress. The incoming dog is likely stressed from the sudden upheaval and changes in it’s packs emotional/physical state.
- Allow the new dog to investigate the territory (house and yard) without the resident dog around, then allow the resident dog to do the same without the new dog around. They will get scent of each other first with the most minimal amount of stress.
- Conduct introductions in neutral territory, not the home or yard where resident dogs feel more territorial and protective. If possible, use opposite sides of a chain-link fence where they can see and sniff each other without actually getting to each other.
- Be calm and slow. To help prevent physical dominance or fear-based reactions from happening, introductions should be relaxed and slow-paced. Ensure there is no restraint from leashes or collars so the dogs feel relaxed to investigate each other.
- Make sure that all dogs are up-to-date with vaccinations. This will help you eliminate the risk of infection that could occur.
- If you have multiple dogs already, introduce each dog to the new one individually. This will help prevent the newcomer being overwhelmed by the group of dogs.
- You should always be in control of the introduction. In the event that you’re unsure how your dog will react, take the precautions necessary to keep the dogs (and humans) safe such as a muzzle for each dog.
- Remember not to leave new dogs unattended. The situation can change very suddenly when dogs are getting acquainted for the first time.
- Provide each dog with its own safe space such as a small room or crate where they can have respite when needed. It should be cozy and provide all their needs of food, toys, quiet.