The decision to get another dog is both overwhelming and exciting. Most dog lovers will want to keep more than one dog. However, before bringing another dog home, we must think about their wellbeing. This goes all the way back to the first impressions. It is the reason I am giving you a step by step guide on how to introduce dogs to each other at home.
Failure to introduce your dogs to each other properly might lead to stress and anxiety issues. As a result, your dog might develop various unwanted behaviors. These might include unnecessary barking or even aggressive biting when your dog feels threatened by the presence of another dog.
Step by step guide on how to introduce dogs to each other at home
Now, being a dog lover, I understand that there is nothing to stop you when you want to get that cute dog you have been seeing at the pet store. Or maybe you want to do good and adopt a rescue dog. Well, for whatever reason you want a second dog, I assure you that you are going to have fun.
As I have indicated above, the dogs’ wellbeing must be put first. Neither the new nor the resident dog should feel under any pressure. Well then, without further delay, let us proceed to discuss the steps to introduce dogs at home.
How to introduce dogs to each other at home.
Step 1: Pay attention to your resident dog before the actual meeting
As indicated above, this is going to be a challenging time for your dogs. However, you do have the opportunity to study your dog. Ensure that he is in a good mood before meeting the new dog. Also, it is helpful that you understand your dog better than anyone else.
Well, socialized dogs will not take too long to get accustomed to a new dog. However, dogs who have little or no social experience with other dogs might find it difficult to accept the new member of the family.
As with everything else, you should be patient with your dog. If he is a little too nervous around other dogs, you will need to consider this as you bring in your new canine companion.
Also, if your dog has been dealing with other issues such as anxiety, he might not always be ready to meet new guests. If the first meeting does not go too well, keep both dogs in separate rooms. They are only allowed to socialize when they are confident in each other.
The same case goes for dogs who act aggressively towards other dogs on the road or on the park. It is a sign of poor socialization. Note that it could take longer than just an hour of trying to introduce dogs to each other.
Step 2: Set the mood
Now, getting a new dog from the breeder or pet store should not be a hustle. However, you must not introduce dogs to each other immediately when you get home. You understand your dog and thus you must choose the best timing to introduce them.
Ensure that both dogs are well fed before the meeting. I mean, a hungry dog might turn to be a grumpy dog. He will be in no mood to socialize with an ‘intruder’. Also, it would help to exercise your dog before meeting the new dog.
A dog with pent-up energy has a risk of getting too excited. As a result, he could be too hyperactive to meet another dog. However, an exercised dog tends to be more relaxed and settled. This will reduce the chance of your dog becoming too anxious.
Do not try to feed the dogs together before proper introductions are done.
Step 3: Choose a different place for How to introduce dogs to each other at home
Once you are ready to introduce the two dogs, you should choose a different place for your dogs to meet. This is to keep your dog from becoming too territorial. Remember that you want to engage the two dogs in the best and most pleasurable way.
Introducing dogs at home is quite a difficult task. Well, as I have indicated above, there is a risk of your dog becoming territorial. And a territorial dog is willing to protect you and his territory with all the aggression it could take.
However, getting a neutral place means that neither of the dogs knows the place. You might want to wait for a few minutes for them to get accustomed to the new environment. This could be an open space or basically a park
At this step, you should have someone helping you out.
Step 4: Hold the dog’s distance apart
Have someone help you handle the new dog. I mean, you understand your resident dog. Thus, it is going to be much easier for you to control him. Besides, you need to know when he is comfortable and when he is getting too intense.
Without letting the dogs see or sniff each other, have your partner stand at a distance away from you and your dog. This creates a safe space for the dogs. Now, you must be very keen about their reactions. Ensure that your dog can see one another but from a distance.
Before I go on, you must ensure that both dogs are on a leash. After all, you want to have total control over both dogs. Once your dog sees the other dog, observe his body language. If he appears to be anxious or nervous, he might not be ready.
It does not mean that you should pack up and leave. Instead, distract your dog to get back his attention. And reward him for his confidence even though he is feeling a bit anxious. The last thing you want is to make your dog feel bad.
Besides, rewarding your dog at this point will associate seeing the other dog with a pleasant outcome.
If you get your dog back under control, ask your partner to start coming towards you. And you should naturally move towards the new dog as well. Do not force or pull your dog’s leash. If he no longer wants to proceed, ask your partner to stop.
As I have mentioned above, this process could take some time. Be patient with your dog but do not force him to socialize with the new dog.
Step 5: Get closer
As I have outlined above, introducing your dog to another dog will take some time. It is totally dependent on your dog’s personality and preferences. Therefore, you must exercise patience and caution at the above stage.
Ensure that your dog is comfortable with seeing and approaching the new dog. Watch their body language as you get nearer. If your dog is barking or lunging at the other one or exposing his teeth, it is probably a good idea to hold up for a bit.
Once again, do not panic, or yell at your dog. You should offer him a treat for his confidence. After all, if he has had anxiety issues when socializing before, he is doing his best.
Once again, let the dogs approach each other naturally but have them on leashes.
Step 6: Allow your dogs to sniff each other
You might spend a few hours, days and sometimes weeks trying to make the two dogs comfortable with each other. Although, I must mention that it should not take so long to successfully introduce dogs to each other at home.
Well, once both dogs become comfortable with each other, you can now let them mingle. It should only be allowed under supervision. Once again, ensure that your dogs are well fed before this exercise. They must also be relaxed around each other.
One of the dogs will initiate bonding. It includes sniffing and even greeting each other by their noses. However, observe how they are treating each other. At this point, you must keep them on leashes. Give them a few minutes to get accustomed to each other.
Step 7: Take a short walk with both dogs
At this point, I must congratulate you for getting so far. If your dogs are now comfortable with each other, then reward them by taking a short walk. This gives your dogs a chance to look and observe each other.
I have previously mentioned that dogs are good at reading body language. Besides, taking a walk with both of them will allow them to get rid of the tension between them. They will both love you for it. However, remember to carry a lot of treats with you. Have your partner feed the new dog as you reward yours.
However, the time it takes for dogs to socialize with each other will depend on the nature and temperament of your dogs. Reward them after walking or casually interacting with each other. However, do not force your dog to do things he is yet to be comfortable with. For instance, maybe your dog is not ready to play with the other dog. Thus, you must not make him.
Step 8: Provide individual resources
At the beginning of this article, I mentioned that dogs can be very territorial. At home, you will need to purchase individual resources. For instance, you will need new food and water bowls. You can feed him the same food your dog is eating.
However, should you try to feed them together, chances are that there is going to be a fight. In fact, feed them from different places where they cannot see each other.
Also, you should provide a new dog with a place to sleep. Do not forget to grab a few toys from the store as well. The key is to ensure that your dogs do not fight over these resources. Besides, it will make your new dog more relaxed if he has his own space in the house.
Step 9: Ensure that your dogs are comfortable
Owning two dogs can be overwhelming, as I mentioned earlier on. However, with proper introduction, they should not be too much to handle. For passionate dog owners, it is a delight to have two dogs in the house.
It is important that you ensure that each dog is happy and comfortable. At the introduction stage, you should spare a lot of time to engage with both dogs individually. Spend quality with each dogs playing or training them.
As time goes by, you will be able to play with both your dogs. They can be allowed to play under supervision. This way, they will get used to one another and even get to like each other.
This might sound easy but it can be quite a task. To introduce two dogs takes time and a lot of confidence. If you are unable to do so, you can always hire a pro dog trainer to assist you with that. However, it also provides you with an opportunity to bond with your new dog.
Things to watch out for when How to introduce dogs to each other at home
Well, I have outlined the dos of introducing dogs to each other. During the same, you must consider several factors. Remember that it all depends on how socialized a dog is. All the same, I am going to outline some of the things that you must watch out for:
Dogs communicate through body language. When introducing your dogs to each other, you must observe their body language. It is the only way you will be able to tell whether your dog is comfortable or not.
For instance, if your dog is suddenly anxious upon seeing the other dog, you might notice his ears facing backward. Some dogs will also tuck their tails between their hind legs. It is a sign that your dog is feeling threatened by the other dog.
Also, observe for positive affirmations between the dogs. A good example is when they take a glance at each other and then look away. It is a friendly gesture and it means that they are getting along.
Avoid small enclosed spaces
Introducing dogs to each other is always a difficult task. I mean, you might not have enough space for a proper introduction. Besides, the resident dog is likely to act territorial when he sees a new dog hanging around you!
Well, small spaces can also be very challenging for the new dog. I mean, he could feel cornered if he feels threatened by the resident dog’s behavior.
It is the reason why I always advise dog owners to do the instructions in an open space. Choose the time and place with no other dogs and minimal human traffic. These situations could heighten your dog’s anxiety. In return, this will make it impossible to go through with the process.
Do not engage in forced socialization
While dogs are naturally social, forced socialization is definitely a no. I mean, the same way you cannot force friendships is the same way you cannot force your dogs to get along. You must go through each step I have outlined above to properly introduce your dogs to each other.
This means that if your dogs are not comfortable around each other, you must be patient and adjust so that they finally get to meet. However, do not rush them into greetings or force them in the same room. It can lead to serious behavioral problems in both dogs.
No sharing of toys or resources
I have already outlined the reasons why your dogs must not share resources. Naturally, dogs are both competitive and territorial. They could fight over a bowl of food, or simply because the new dog has overstepped a boundary.
Ensure that each dog has its own resources. For the first few weeks, they might also need to live separately until they really get along with each other.
Letting your dogs fight
Introducing dogs to each other is intense exercise. I mean, you could fully understand your dog but you might not know how the new dog reacts. Therefore, you should only let them engage with each other under your supervision.
If any of your dogs are getting aggressive, remove him from the situation immediately. It is why I insist on having both dogs on a leash. You should never let them engage in a physical fight. Not only would it cause injuries to your dogs but it is a major setback in introducing dogs to each other.
If you are thinking about bringing a new dog home, you should understand how to successfully introduce them to each other. This article highlights all the precaution measures you must take. It is a step by step guide on how to introduce dogs to each other.
Well, as much as getting a new dog sounds like a fun idea, introducing him to your dog poses a challenge. However, when you understand dog behavior, it should not take you too long to get them to get along.
Luckily for me, it has not been so difficult to introduce pets in our household. With proper introductions, you will have your dogs playing with each other at home.