Introducing A New Dog To Your Pack

Introducing A New Dog To Your Pack

Introducing a new dog to your pack: It’s natural for a dog to chase other dogs away from his home territory, but most dogs can learn to accept and enjoy canine housemates. Two dogs of opposite sexes often get along better than same-sex pairs, but not always. Some get along with both sexes, while other dogs will reject a newcomer of either gender.

Adult Dogs And Puppies

Adult dogs are usually more tolerant of a puppy than another adult. Pups under six months don’t normally challenge an adult dog’s authority, which allows the resident pooch to set the rules of the relationship. On the other hand, a pup;s natural exuberance can be annoying to some older dogs, who may growl or snap if a rowdy pup comes too close.

Most pups respect that message, but some act as though it’s a game and dodge away only to come back and bother the old dog again, hoping for another thrill. Until they work out a peaceful relationship, keep the pup and the senior dog separated except when they’re being supervised.

Tips On Introducing A New Dog To Your Pack

If your resident dog isn’t used to other dogs or chases away those who trespass on his turf, introducing him to the new dog in a neutral place, like a park or a friend’s yard, will help. Have someone else handle the new dog while you manage the current resident. Bring the dogs into the area leashed. Let them observe each other from a distance for a few minutes.

Bring them closer together to the point where they’re interested and curious about each other, but leave sufficient distance between them so that neither feels crowded or cornered.  You and your helper should then walk the dogs along parallel paths, keeping a safe distance until both dogs relax.

Gradually bring your paths closer together, keeping the mood light and positive. When the dogs accept being walked several feet from each other, then you can allow them to meet. When the two are comfortable together in this neutral place, take them home and reintroduce them there, going through the same steps. As long as you begin the process with the dogs far enough apart, they should not exhibit any leash aggression.


Introducing Two Dogs When You Do Not Have A Helper

If you must introduce dogs without an assistant’s help, confine the new dog behind a fence or gate and calmly walk your resident dog nearby on leash until the two become used to the sight and smell of each other If neither behaves aggressively or defensively, peat each one then let them sniff each other’s scent on your hands. If that doesn’t seem to bother either dog, allow them to sniff noses through the barrier.

If they act friendly, with happy wagging, relaxed and slightly open mouths, and attempt to lick each other through the fence, allow them to meet.

More Than One Resident Dog

If you have more than one resident dog, introduce them to the newcomer one at a time so they won’t overwhelm him. Introduce the friendliest resident dog first. Once he’s said hello and played, take him inside and bring out the next resident to be introduced. After the new dog meets each member of your group individually, start again withe the friendliest and add the other dogs one by one until all are interacting peacefully.


Never leave a puppy and older dog alone together until you are confident that the older dog will not injure the pup. Often, the senior dog takes on a dominant role with a new pup and can come across strong. That said, don’t over correct you older dog for correcting the puppy. Blatant aggression is not okay but correction when a puppy is out of line is fine, even good.

Now that there is no mom or siblings to let the puppy know when he;s exhibiting rude behavior, it’s up to the senior dog of the family. It’s important that you do not over coddle the new dog. The family dog is the king of the house, at least for now, so make sure he feels special. The two will work out their issues of dominance in the weeks and months to come.


Walking the Dogs Together

After introducing a new dog, the next step is parallel walking with both dogs. They should be far enough apart that they’re
aware of each other, but not so close that they fixate on trying to reach one another. Walk both dogs in the same direction with a comfortable buffer of distance between them (this will vary by dog). Then, turn back and trade places with the other dog-human team so that each dog has a chance to scent where the other dog walked. Allow the dogs to investigate potty spots, since urine-sniffing is one of the ways dogs pick up information about other dogs.

Both handlers should remain calm and keep their grip on the leashes as loose as possible. If both dogs are offering relaxed, social behaviors towards one another, gradually decrease the distance between them while continuing the parallel walking. Don’t allow a direct face-to-face approach as the dogs get closer, since head-on is a stressful and unnatural way for dogs to meet.


Putting It All Together

Bottom line is, you have to take as long as takes when adding a new dog to the family. It may not happen as quickly as you like, but be patient. Consider the advice above and move back a step if you run into a setback; don’t get discouraged. Dogs must recreate their hierarchy in light of the new addition, and this will take time. Introducing an adult will probably take than longer than introducing a puppy, but not always, every dog is different. Once you get them all together as one pack, you will have an even happier and more joyful home as your dog family grows.

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