Adding to the Dog Pack
Dog owners who are looking to expand their pack must be cautious of introducing the new dogs to the already existing family dogs. When I say “cautious”, I don’t mean you need to be on edge and be waiting for one of your dogs to act out at each other. It is very possible that your new dog will fit right in with the rest of the dogs, and will adapt easily without any negative incidents.
But the last thing we want is for a preventable problem to arise, and then there’s an incident that ends with aggression or severe anxiety for one or both of the dogs. As loving and responsible dog owners, we should always aim to set our dogs up for success, rather than failure. When bringing a new dog into the family, it’s important to not only make their transition smooth, but also for the rest of the family, including any other dogs that have been living in the home beforehand.
When you want to introduce your dog to a new dog, there are some great ways to help make the meeting go well. First off, both dogs should be under control, perhaps on leash (unless your dog has leash reactivity/aggression, which if so, contact us and we can correct this problematic behavior!). Once the dogs seem comfortable, then let them off leash but still carefully monitor them. Many owners felt that they probably found better success with the introduction when the dogs met outside of the house, rather than inside. This creates somewhat of a more neutral area, where territorial behavior from your old dog might be less likely to occur.
A great way for your dogs to bond together is having controlled activities together. Going for a walk together is a wonderful way for your dogs to spend time together, as they will be under control and they can have some distance from each other. With the distance and still being in each others’ presence, this can quicken the desensitization process more, and allow the dogs to feel more comfortable with each other. Of course, play time is another way for the dogs to bond together, but again, monitor the dogs in case the playing becomes too aggressive, or if there’s a potential dispute over a toy or resource.
These are just a few of the tips that can help you bring your canine pack peacefully together. After the initial few days and weeks of the dogs getting to know each other more and more, it’s then a good idea to begin or reinforce training with BOTH dogs, so that they understand that obedience and good manners are still part of the home, even with this new change/pack member. Keep it positive, set your dogs up for success, and you’ll have a dog pack that knows how to behave and be happy together!
If you need help introducing your new dog, or if there are already existing problems in the canine pack, call us at 800-649-7297 and we’ll assist you in resolving your dogs’ behavioral issues!