So you fell in love with another dog and don’t know how to break the news to your bud. 😓 You know your heart is big enough to love them both, but your buddy may doubt that. And they probably won’t like to suddenly have to share their territory with a stranger! What to do, then? Here’s how to introduce a new dog to your old bud without (hopefully!) any dramas! 😉
The meeting ground
Before wondering how to introduce a new dog to your bud, you should focus on where this will take place. Home is never an option – this is your old dog’s territory. The new family member will be perceived as an intruder and your bud may get defensive, turning aggressive and tense.
No one likes having strangers coming into their home and behaving like its theirs. Dogs are no different! They should get acquainted and be given time to know each other beforehand.
The meeting ground should then be neutral for both dogs. Choose a place where neither will have territorial feelings. This can be your neighbor’s yard or a different park than the one where you usually walk your furry friend. 🏞
Now it’s time to get serious! The first step on how to introduce a new dog to your pal is turning them from strangers into acquaintances. Their first meeting should be stress-free, and neither dog should feel they are being pushed into a blind date. Ask a friend or family member to walk your new dog, and pretend it’s an “accidental meeting”!
Both dogs should be on a loose leash with a relaxed handle. Holding the leash too tight may be taken as a sign you’re feeling tense and anxious… Which in turn will make them fearful and turn into a defensive mood.
When the dogs finally cross paths, keep them at a safe distance at first. Greet the other person happily, to set a relaxed and friendly mood. 👋 Then loose the leash a bit more, so they can meet and smell each other. If the dogs get tense, speak to them with a soothing voice, telling them it’s ok or to knock it off. Likewise, if they are getting along well, cheer their friendship every time your dog looks at you searching for behavior clues.
If the dogs get aggressive, give them a break. Just walk away and pretend to have another accidental meeting later! If everything goes well and they seem to get along, take them to an enclosed area and take off their leashes, so they can play freely and get to know each other better.
Your buddies now know each other and their friendship is up to a good start. Great! Now the problem is how to introduce a new dog into your old dog’s territory. 🏡
Walk or drive them home separately. If you have a yard, let them meet there upon their arrival and interact a bit more. Then, take the new dog inside and let them roam freely, getting to know the place and spreading their smell around. Take your old dog’s favorite toys away prior to this visit. Your bud will have to cope with sharing their space with the newcomer – no need to make it stressful by sharing their favorite toys right away! This can be done later, when they are accustomed to each other’s presence.
Take the new dog out and let your buddy in to check their territory and get familiar with the scent of their new friend around the house, before bringing them back in again as well. Hopefully, everything goes well and your family will now be complete! 🐕 🐩 👪
The first days may be hard for both dogs, as they have to adjust to sharing their space. Don’t force any interactions between them, don’t hover and don’t try to micromanage their relationship.
To avoid any potential conflicts, start by feeding them in separate rooms. Don’t worry – eventually they’ll become good friends and will chomp on their food happily side by side! They may even become partners in crime, helping each other steal some snacks or kibbles… 😈
Remember to take them out for relaxing walks and some playful time. This wil help to ease the tension and stress of living together and sharing your love.
If they get too tense with each other, keep them separate and simulate more “accidental meetings” – this time in your home. In the beginning, you may also want to keep them apart while you are out. Things can go south quickly when two dogs first meet and have to share their territory… So it’s good to always supervise their interactions, at first.
What about puppies?
Not every old dog will immediately get into “mommy/daddy” mode when seeing a baby. They may not attack the pup, but snapping or moving away are common reactions.
If the older dog is not used to interacting with other canines, introduce the puppy just as you would introduce two adult dogs. However, if your buddy is friendly and social, you can bring the newcomer home right away. Never introduce the two while holding the pup! The older dog may get jealous and the puppy will feel restrained and vulnerable.
With puppies, you’ll need to act as a supervisor in the beginning. The little ones are very energetic, but their communication skills are still underdeveloped. They don’t realize when elders are feeling fed up or just want to be left alone. If they push it too far, the older dog may snap, growling and baring their teeth.
Stop the pup when they’re going too far. This will also reassure your old dog that you are there to protect and help them! Also, give your buddy some alone time to recover and rest from all the fuss the puppy makes. 🐶 💤 With time, through their interactions, the pup’s communication skills will improve and the older dog will get used to having a younger friend running around!
Reading on how to introduce a new dog to other canines is already a good start, but you will have to pour your heart into it! Pet adoption is always remarkable, but you’ll want to make sure you’re bringing your new friend into a conflict-free home. Never punish the dogs, and reward their friendly interactions in the beginning. Remember to spend some quality time with both and be gentle, so the newcomer can feel loved and the elder doesn’t get jealous! ❤