Bringing a new dog home for the first time is very exciting. However, if you already have pets, it can be a little daunting. Will they like one another? Will your existing pets feel threatened and most worrying of all, will there be a fight? When it comes to introducing a new dog to your first dog, caring, patience, research and preparation are paramount. With the right steps, you can help ensure your introduction is a relaxed and happy one.
Preparing for an introduction
Long before you get to that stage, you will have already thought about which kind of dog will fit in well with everyone at home. Hopefully, since you already have a dog, you will have some knowledge about dog body language to help you read their state of mind. Whether you are getting a new puppy from a reputable breeder or helping an animal in need by adopting a rescue dog, you should gather as much information about the dogs you visit to see if they have the right temperament for your pack. You should also be finding out as much about their behaviour and personality, likes and dislikes as you can from the dog’s current caregiver.
Location, location, location
How does your dog react to new people or even the mailman he sees every day? Now imagine if that mailman or stranger just walked right in with no regard for how your dog reacted. It probably wouldn’t be a great start to a budding relationship. Dogs are very territorial and simply walking right through the front door with a new dog is a definite no-no. Choose a place that is on neutral ground and as distraction free as possible. Our end-game at this stage is to have a pleasant and successful walk together so choose somewhere that offers plenty of space for a good long leg stretch.
Have the right tools
You will need the right pet products to hand for any introduction. Make sure you have a dog collar and leash on both animals but keep them as slack as possible so that they can explore each other. Use a short to medium length leash to give you control but without restraining your dog too much. Give both dogs a chance to greet each other. Ensure that you have the help of a friend or family member so that each dog has a handler and make sure that friend is briefed on the steps to be taken.
Create the right mood
Prepare for the worst but expect the best. Don’t go into the introduction while you yourself are feeling nervous. Be confident, after all, you have done your homework, got the right equipment and chosen the dog you think will be most easily accepted by your first dog. Show both animals that this is nothing to worry about by being calmly assertive with your posture and tone of voice.
Abide by doggy etiquette
Help your dogs to make a good first impression by guiding them through their first meeting in a polite way. In dog body language, greeting each other straight on is an aggressive and dominant behaviour. You can help avoid this potential social gaff by having your new dog approach at an angle. This also helps them to go straight to a butt-sniff; the handshake of the dog world.
Just as we do, some dogs need a little time to build a friendship. It’s not often someone we just met becomes our best buddy instantly so don’t worry if your dogs don’t seem that interested in each other at first. Take it as a good sign and move on to the next step.
Walk it off
Now that your dogs have met, go straight to the next step. This is the walk. Going for a walk together before you take your new dog home will help them go home calm and relaxed. When you get home, allow your original dog to walk through the door with you and then have the new dog follow afterwards. This makes your first dog feel that is still in control of his territory as he has been the one to invite the new dog in. Your new dog will be happy to follow and be accepted into your family pack.