Hello everyone and welcome back to a brand-new episode of Dog Sense!
Today, Sarah and I are here to discuss a pretty exciting subject: How to introduce a new dog to your household!
A dog coming to an already established dog's home is a big event!
It can be pretty stressful too, which is exactly why you'll need to follow a few steps before introducing your dog to his new companion.
Dogs, just like people, can be wary of strangers. This means they need to get comfortable around each other, and that can be done in a lot of different ways.
Curious how you can make the transition as smooth as possible?
Sarah and I tell you all in this week's episode, so, tune in now!
It’s Not Always Love at First Sight
Integrating a new dog into the household won’t always be easy. In fact, let me debunk this first: Sadly, it won’t be like a Disney movie. Yes, we wish it could be, but it isn’t.
Just like humans, dogs need time to form relationships and go from mere acquaintances to BFFs. It will take time, so don’t falter if it doesn’t happen in the first few days.
Just like you need to teach your dog to “sit” or “stay”, you’ll also need to teach him how to live in harmony with his new companion. Leaving it up to the dogs to work it out between them “dog-style” is never a good idea, because things can escalate fast.
You also have to keep in mind that taking care of one dog is far easier than caring for two dogs. As I like to say: One dog is one dog but two dogs are seven dogs.
Sure, it’s easy to get your first dog and train him and live with him, but bringing a second dog in will completely change the dynamic and you have to take that into account. Making sure the dogs’ personalities and temperaments match is crucial, at least if you want a peaceful household.
You have to make sure that the second dog is good for your current one. Don’t —and I repeat: DO NOT— get another dog if your current one is aggressive with dogs.
A lot of people think: “My dog has issues, but if I get another dog, he’ll start loving dogs, right?”
No, that never works! If your dog has issues being around other dogs, you need to take care of that first, before adding another one to the mix.
Our Tips for a Smooth Transition
The one thing we always tell our students is to start slow. Don’t go right into forcing a nose-to-nose interaction between the dogs, making them play together right away, or making them share a really small space.
A lot of people are of the mindset that letting them loose in the yard or the house is enough for them to work things out. Sure, they will, but it probably won’t be in the way you want them to work it out. So, what can you do about this?
Well, our top tip is to pay extra attention to your dogs’ body language. Because if you don’t know what they’re saying to each other, you could misinterpret it and things could get bad really quickly. If you don’t understand your dogs’ body language, then how can you know if they're getting along or not?
Something else we advise our students to do is to keep the leash on, and keep close supervision over it, because the situation can go sideways super fast. Dogs can go from looking like they’re having fun to full-on fighting in a matter of seconds, so keep your eyes on them.
Finally, make sure you have separate times with each dog. Why is that important? Simply because you want your individual relationship with each dog to be stronger than their bond to each other.
These are just a few tips you can follow if you want a smooth transition for your dogs. However, if you want more detailed advice, tune in to the episode above! In it, Sarah and I go through a few more tips, explain how a first meeting should go, and talk a lot more about issues that could come up, such as status-seeking aggression.