A time will come when you will welcome another pet as an additional member to your family. Perhaps, you have a relative staying with you in the coming months who brings his dog. Or, a new member who joins your household brings his pet. When they do, it’s always best to know about introducing your dog to the new pet.
Introducing Your Dog to a New Pet
The way humans establish meaningful relationships with their peers is not entirely similar to dogs. When a new pet enters your home, your dog might think that the former encroaches on his territory. As a consequence, he may then feel the need to “safeguard” his turf to get rid of what he perceives as an invasion of his territory.
Therefore, it is important to start off on the right foot and establish good first impressions.
While Introducing Your Dog to a New Pet, Gradual Steps Are Essential
Before introducing your dog to the new member of the household, it is imperative that you allow time for the interaction. Taking a long walk with both dogs together is the perfect start. The walk should be done on neutral territory and under controlled situations.
Neutral territory is a place that is basically not familiar to your dog nor to the new pet. In doing this “meeting,” you will need the help of a family member or friend with whom your dog is familiar. Initially, it is best if you walk your own dog so that he does not perceive the new dog as an intruder. Your friend can walk the new pet. Start with both dogs on leashes. At the beginning, create at least five feet of distance between the dogs while they are walking parallel to each other. At this point, they do not need to meet face to face or interact. They are simply enjoying their walk while near each other.
Allow the dogs to briefly sniff
Dogs rely more on their sense of smell to adapt and live in their surroundings. Therefore, you must allow the dog to get itself acquainted to the each other’s scent. This fosters familiarity. Eventually, it develops into a deeper bond between your dog and the new member of the family.
Meet and greet on street, then in yard
Prior to the dogs greeting on the street, make sure that they are in a calm state. You will need the assistance of a friend for the interaction. After you and your friend have walked the dogs parallel on the leashes for awhile, they should be ready for a meet and greet. While on leash, each of you will walk each dog past the other slowly side by side to greet. Allow an opportunity for a brief sniff. It is always a plus to teach your dog to check back to you with eye contact during a walk. So, after the sniff, encourage each dog to look back to the person holding the leash. Always praise and treat for appropriate behavior. If either respond inappropriately, he must be redirected to a better behavior (sit with calmness.) When you bring them in the yard, practice the same activity with both on leashes at the beginning.
Allow your dogs to meet in the house
Once your dog and the new pet can walk together without any incidents, you may now bring them together into the home. With two people holding each dog on a leash, allow the dogs to acclimate to each other in different parts of the house. Always remember that introducing your dog with your new pet takes some time. Their readiness to safely mingle with each other will depend on each dog’s familiarization and acceptance. Let nature take its course; do not force either dog too quickly. At this stage, it is important to separate them in different rooms or crates spaced at a distance at night or when you are gone.
More freedom between the dogs
With time, you will know and trust both dogs to be off leash together in your presence. Initially, it is important to pick up any toys or bones of high value which could create a conflict. Just make sure that the “special bones” are only given to each one separately while in their crate or own room.
Interactive games between your existing dog and new pet will help create a closer bond. Games such as fetch or hide and seek can be fun as well as help to develop a long lasting friendship between the two dogs.
Eventually, you will allow short periods of time with the dogs together in your absence. Common pet cameras can allow you to view them in your absence. Many dogs sleep while their owners are gone. Once your dogs develop a close friendship, you will probably observe them laying in close proximity for naps.
Still not sure what to do?
When introducing your dog to a new member of the household becomes daunting, it is best always to get professional help from experts, like Positive Paws, to guide you throughout this phase. If you are in the St. Charles, St. Louis and 60-mile radius of St. Charles, MO (excluding Illinois), visit Positive Paws Pet Training and check out the class fit for your dog. You also contact us at 636-352-3104 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.