As the owner of a single dog, you may have spent a lot of time spoiling and pampering your pooch. It is little wonder, therefore, that many single dogs feel very put out if a second dog in brought into the household as a pet. While some dogs will come to appreciate a new playmate, others will need more coaxing. This is why it is important to introduce a second dog to the family with care.
Introducing a new dog isn’t always easy if your first dog has become used to being the only pet. When it comes to introducing dogs you do need to do some forward planning to ensure that everything runs smoothly. The last thing you want if you are introducing a new puppy to a current dog is for your existing pet to become aggressive. By planning ahead, you can reduce the risk of any issues.
How to handle the introduction
In order to avoid any issues, you need to make sure you handle the introduction correctly. You should also make sure that your current dog is ready to have a playmate enter the home, particularly if he suffers from any health issues or is a senior dog. When it comes to the introduction you should follow these tips:
- Keep the dogs separated on leashes: When you bring the new dog into the home, make sure that there is someone there with your current dog. You should make sure that both dogs are being held on leashes and far apart so that they cannot reach one another. You can then study their behavior and body language before you let them get any closer.
- Take it slowly: If the dogs are wagging their tails and seem happy to be introduced to one another, you can let them get closer. You should still ensure that they are both on the leash so they can be pulled apart in the event of a problem. However, let them get close enough to sniff one another and familiarize themselves.
- Be firm: When you let the dogs get closer, if one starts to growl or display any aggressive behavior, say ‘NO’ firmly but calmly. Separate them again and go through the introduction process again. You may have to do this a few times to give the dogs a chance to get used to one another.
- Take them for a walk: If the dogs seem okay after sniffing one another, you can consider taking them both for a walk. One person should have one of the dogs while you have the other. Go somewhere close by and don’t let the dogs off the leash. Just let them investigate together while you and the other person with you keep them on a leash.
- Let them interact on the leashes: If you are happy with the behavior so far, you should let them interact a little more closely. Hold their leashes in the air so that they are not at risk of getting tangles and let them circle and sniff one another. This is their way of familiarizing themselves with each other.
Once you are confident that the dogs appear to be getting along ago, you can let them interact off their leashes. However, make sure you keep a close eye on them at first to ensure that no problems arise.