Introducing dogs

Bringing a new dog home can be both exciting and challenging when you have to integrate them with your resident dog. Here are some tips to help you feel more comfortable.

Please note that serious injury to the dogs and/ or people can occur if the introduction process is not thoroughly planned and is properly managed.

When traveling home for the first time with both dogs:

  • Make sure dogs are separated from each other in a safe manner.
  • Having a second car would be ideal. Otherwise, have them both in separate crates or one in a crate and the other one safely secured.
  • If you do not have a crate or a way to tether them, close the car doors on their leashes to keep them secure. (but don’t let the leash drag outside!)

Introduction techniques while outside:

  • Park your car down the road and walk the dogs to your house with the assistance of a second person. Avoid problematic areas like gates, doorways, or closely confined spaces. The greater the space between them, the less tension there will be.
  • The key to a good introduction is that both dogs have a positive experience in each other’s presence. Allow them to briefly sniff each other as a way of greeting and praise them in a happy, friendly tone.
  • For the first meet, do not allow the dogs to sniff at each other for a long period of time. Let them sniff briefly, then call them away and tell them they did great. If both dogs show signs of playful behavior (ie: play bow), it is safe to continue with the interaction.

Meeting inside the home:

  • Bring your new dog into the house first and then have your resident dog follow.
  • As a safety measure, keep leashes on both dogs while they are in the house together.
  • Allow time for both dogs to socialize with you, separate and together.

Keep the dogs separated while you are away, feeding, and giving high-value toys in order to prevent conflict between the dogs. For more information please see “Play Group” handout.

It is important to pick a second dog who matches your current dog’s energy and play style. This will help the introductions go smoother and make for a happy family.