Introductions have always been somehow tricky. Believe it or not, first impressions are important even in the dog world. Pet owners sometimes don’t put much thought into this when getting a new in addition to the resident on and end up having trouble with their pets constantly being hostile towards each other. Here are some tips on how to introduce a dog to a new dog painlessly.
Meeting on a neutral territory
Dogs have an instinctive drive to be territorial. This means that having them meet directly at your home is not a great idea because the resident dog will probably act protective of ‘’his stuff” such as food container, toys, and even beddings. Therefore, it is strongly advised that you have your dogs meet at a place both of them have never seen before. This way they will be in an equal situation.
Make sure your dogs are on the leash
Being on the leash is of great relevance when you’re introducing 2 dogs. It may happen that they experience an emotional breakthrough when seeing another dog which will eventually put them in a fighting mood and that is what we should definitively try to avoid.
Dogs are responsive to the tone of our voice. You’ve seen for sure the differences between how your dog reacts when you’re angry by lowering its tail while bowing its head and how it waves its tail cheerfully when you speak to them in a happy voice. Therefore, when you’re introducing your old dog to a new one, make sure you use a calm and soothing voice in order to relieve the tension they may feel in this situation. This will give them the confidence that everything is going to be fine and will make it easier for them to get used to the brand new phase in their life.
Taking the dogs for a walk
Professional trainers say that taking your dogs to a walk provides them with a ‘’hunting mood’’ they all love. This is their natural state after all and, therefore, will make them feel comfortable with each other. You can have someone help you with this procedure by walking one of the dogs while you walk the other. It is important that, if you’re having someone else help you with this, you two walk one behind the other.
If you’re walking the dogs by yourself they can walk side by side but keep a safe distance between them. You don’t want them to be in a direct contact just yet. Change the position of your dogs by crossing their paths or getting in front of the person who’s aiding you with this process. This will stimulate dogs’ curiosity for each other and raise the possibility for at least one of them to take a step further and try to get to know the other’s smell.
Olfactory senses are very sensitive in dogs and have always been intrinsic in their survival through the years. Therefore, having them sniff each other is basically equal to the ‘’Hello, my name is… ’’ in human introduction. When you’re walking them, make sure they’re both able to sniff the path each of them has gone through.
The best imaginable situation here is when dogs make a move to sniff each other’s rears during walking. This is how they are getting used to each other and start accepting the other’s presence. However, this is still not a sign that they’re ready to meet each other completely free of the leash. Also, let the dogs smell each other’s poop/pee. Looking from a perspective of a human, this is surely strange, but for dogs, this is a very important source of information that they use to resolve the new, puzzling situation they’re in.
Having a closer contact
Once your dogs have sniffed each other, you can proceed to having them meet head to head. Don’t drop the leash completely yet. Also, the leash should not be too tense for your dogs because it can make them anxious, nervous or irritated. Try to observe their body language closely. The best situation possible is when there are some play signs between them. However, if you see some indications of hostility between the dogs such as raised hair and long staring into each other’s eyes, stop the introductory process because this means they’re not going to be friendly with each other so soon. It is frequently recommended that you seek some help from a professional on these occasions.
Getting your dogs home
Although your dogs may have been on good terms while being on a neutral territory, owner’s house is an absolutely different story. Make sure you put away all of the resident dog’s things away, including its toys, beddings, food containers etc. These can all be a huge source of conflict between your pets because the old dog is accustomed to them and thinks of them as ‘’its belongings’’. Also, try to provide their transport in 2 separate cars. You don’t want them hanging out in such a cramped place right after introduction. At this point, they still need their own air and space and hurrying their closeness can just make all the efforts go to waste.
If you’re getting a puppy
Puppies are ignorant of behavioral rules that dogs tend to set between themselves. They’re playful and will probably be getting in the older dog’s way. Well-trained dogs usually settle this by a simple growl but the ones that are not may hurt the little one.
Therefore you have to pay special attention to these 2 and pluck up some extra patience. Take a shot at experimenting with some of your friends’ puppies (if any of them has one by chance). Observe how your dog reacts to the puppy on the leash and from that point on decide on the future actions. If the feedback from your canine is filled with contentiousness and threatening signals aimed towards the puppy, you should consider hiring a professional that would teach the dog some self-control.
Home treatment of both dogs
Leaving your dogs to work things out on their own in the backyard may sound logical but, in reality, it is a completely wrong approach. It is true that they don’t like too much owner’s involvement in their relationship but they still need your guidance and coordination. This especially refers to the ‘’alone’’ time with your dogs. Ensure that you have some quality, bonding time with each dog separately. This will make them both believe you and it’ll be much easier to manage any unwanted situations.
When it comes to feeding, you should separate them while eating at least for the first few times until they’re completely used to each other. Finally, try to persuade the resident dog that this new situation will not be interrupting its daily routine. The best way you could achieve this is to get both dogs have the same schedule throughout the day.
Once you see your dogs playing around instead of exchanging angry barking, you can consider introducing your dog to a new dog rounded up and complete.