It is an exciting time for human families when they bring home a new dog. However, it is important to remember that this can actually cause stress for your current dog or dogs. It is important to understand how to handle introducing your dogs in order to ensure a harmonious life for everyone involved.
The following general tips are a great place to start:
1. 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 your current dog might see the new dog’s arrival as an invasion of his already established territory, and this can cause stress.
2. Conduct introductions in neutral territory, not the home or yard where resident dogs feel more territorial and protective.
3. 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.
4. Make sure that all dogs are up-to-date with vaccinations. This will help you eliminate the risk of infection that could occur.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. Remember not to leave new dogs unattended. The situation can change very suddenly when dogs are getting acquainted for the first time.
Look for detailed tips for one-on-one doggie introductions in an upcoming blog.