As a fur parent, you may be at a point in your life where you’re considering adopting a new puppy. You may be wanting a new playmate for your current dog, or you just can’t resist those sad puppy eyes staring from behind the shelter enclosure. Whatever the reason you may have for growing your family, you should prepare for a few things when you decide to bring home a new addition.
Apart from getting necessary supplies like customizable dog leashes and new feeding dishes, you should also prepare for when your current dog meets their new playmate. Even though your dog has never shown territorial behavior, the presence of a new fur baby might trigger an aggressive response. This is why it’s important to proceed with care when introducing dogs to each other. Here’s a brief guide to help you do so successfully.
Let Your Dogs Have Spaces of Their Own
When bringing home your new dog for the first time, make sure to prepare a separate space or room where they can be alone. For example, if your resident dog has a crate in the living room, assign that place for them. Meanwhile, your new pup can stay in the dining room. If you don’t have separate rooms, you can keep them separated by using a baby gate, so that they can’t interact directly or encroach on each other’s territory.
Once you’ve assigned your resident dog’s area, make sure that all of their things, like dog toys, food and water bowls, and even beds are with them. Doing so will keep their items away from your new pup and will lessen the chances of possessive behavior.
Keep their rooms tidy by putting toys away in toy baskets, so that your dog knows that their things are just in one location and they can easily find their favorite items.
Get Them Used to Each Other’s Scent
To help both dogs get used to each other's presence, give your resident dog something that smells like your new pup and vice versa. You can do this with blankets that they sleep on. While keeping both dogs separate, take your new pup’s blanket away for a few minutes and allow your first dog to sniff it. You should also do this with your new pup and the first dog’s blanket. After allowing them to sniff the objects, make sure to return their belongings to their respective areas.
Pick a Neutral Meeting Place
Chances are your resident dog considers your house as theirs, so it’s best to introduce your new pup to your first dog in a neutral location like out in your yard.
Bring Them Separately and Supervise Introductions
Have someone else like a friend, family or partner bring your new puppy to the meeting place of your choice. You should be the one bringing your resident dog to the meeting place. Make sure both dogs are leashed and allow them to meet naturally in the park. Keep your hold on the leash loose so they can sniff each other and interact.
Keep watch of both dogs’ behaviors to see if they’re being friendly or aggressive. Friendly behavior will have either dog with their head down and tail up wagging excitedly. This behavior indicates your dog wants to play. If your puppy rolls over and exposes their belly, they’re telling your resident dog that they are submissive, so it’s a good sign. Afterward, you can have them try walking together or playing together in the park.
Aggressive behavior is manifested by your dog’s hair standing on end, growling with their teeth exposed or staring down at the other dog. If this behavior occurs, distract the angry dog with toys or treats. Avoid pulling on their leash as this can aggravate them.
Let Them Meet at Home
If your dogs have played and walked together with no incidents, you can finally move to home territory. First, have them meet in your yard. Allow them to play with each other while you supervise. Once they have played together with no signs of aggression, you can allow them to interact inside your home.
To avoid any problems, the best strategy is to let your resident dog roam the house freely as they are used to doing. You should bring your new pup into the house with their leash still on. If the resident dog shows no signs of aggression, you can let your new pup roam off-leash as well.
Even if things go smoothly in the beginning, keep watch whenever both dogs interact. Do this for a few weeks to ensure that they grow to be great friends in the future.
Aside from following these tips, make sure to never force any type of interaction between your resident dog and new puppy. You might be tempted to speed up their befriending process, but taking your time will ensure that your dogs will see each other as family in the future. If problems persist despite your best efforts, you should consider consulting with a dog trainer or a vet to help your dogs adjust to each other.
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