April 29 2017
While the joy of dog ownership/fostering grows with each new
'family' member you add, the challenges of managing the household can also
increase. Read on for tips for choosing and integrating new dogs into your
Select a breed and
temperament (personality) that will complement your resident dog.
Remember, temperament has nothing to do with a dog's size, breed or
upbringingâ€”temperament is something innate in a dog. A dog's temperament has a
lot to do with how easily he can be trained, and while good training can
improve a dog's behavior, it cannot change a dog's temperament.
If you have an energetic dog, choose a second
dog that is also energetic, so the two can play together and keep up with each
other. If you have an older or more laid-back dog, avoid getting an exuberant
puppy or a very active breed of dog.
Introducing a New Dog to
Your Canine Household
Bringing a new dog into the family is an exciting time for
everyone but can create stress for your resident canine. Understanding how to
manage dog introductions can help ensure a lifetime of harmony for all.
- First, introduce the dogs
in a neutral location that is unfamiliar to both dogs. Have each dog on a
loosely held six-foot leash, handled by two different people. Stay relaxed
so the dogs don't pick up on any tension you might be feeling.
- Don't force an interaction
between the dogs. Just walk them near one another for a few minutes. It is
fine if the dogs ignore each other. Stay upbeat, and give them time to get
comfortable with the situation.
- Next, allow the dogs to
sniff each other briefly. If they show positive signs, praise them, and
then lead them away from each other. Do several brief interactions.
Set reasonable goals. Remember and respect that
your resident dog may perceive the new dog to be encroaching on his established
territory, which can be very stressful.
- Proceed slowly and calmly.
Slow-paced introductions may help prevent any fear-based or aggressive
reactions from developing. Bad behaviors not reigned in from the start can
become habit and be very hard to change.
- Before you bring the new
dog home, rub him with a cloth. Take the cloth to your home to allow your
resident dog to sniff it, and then place it where the new dog will be
- Pick up pet toys, food
bowls, beds, etc., before you bring the new dog into the house. This
prevents any tiffs over prized possessions. You can return the resident
dog's toys to him in a few weeks and give the new dog some toys of his
- Put your current dog in a
separate area of your home, and then walk the new dog on a leash
throughout your home to show him where he will sleep and eat, where the
other pets sleep and eat, etc.
- If you have more than one
resident dog, introduce each one to the new dog one at a time to prevent
the group from overwhelming the newcomer.
- Stay in control of the
introduction. If you are not sure how your pet will react, take the
necessary precautions to keep him (and you) safe.
Managing the New Dog in
- Establish boundaries. Use
baby gates and close off rooms and areas while all the pets acclimate to
the new situation. This way they can see and get used to one another.
Allow the resident dog to roam the house, while confining the new dog
behind a barrier at first.
- Never leave new dogs
unattended. When dogs are getting acquainted, the situation can change
- Create separate areas for
each dog's eating/sleeping activities. This helps keep the resident dog
from feeling his territory is being threatened. Pick up food bowls after
feeding time, and keep the dogs confined in separate areas of your home
any time you are away or can't watch them.
- Supervise doggie playtime
to prevent the dogs from getting overexcited and possibly injuring one
another. If one dog begins to bully or growl at the other, interrupt their
play and separate them for a few minutes. Praise them when they are
playing well together.
- If you are walking your
two dogs at the same time, walk both dogs on one side, with the more
confident dog on the outside. This puts the other dog in the middle, a
natural position for the less influential dog to be protected by the
- Avoid letting the dogs
maintain eye contact with one another, which can be a preamble for more
aggressive action. If one dog begins to stare at another, command the
staring dog to sit or lie down, to break his concentrated gaze. After the
situation is defused, release the dog from the command.
Sharing is not a canine trait. Food is vital for survival,
so food-guarding is instinctive. Take extra care to be wary around your dogs at
feeding time, as bad feeding habits can lead to fights.
- Do not allow the dogs to
steal from one another's bowls.
- Pick up the food bowls
after the dogs have eaten.
- To avoid mealtime issues,
feed the dogs in separate areas or rooms, or in their crates. Feeding
separately also discourages dogs from gulping food down too quickly. Their
digestion will improve markedly if they feel safe enough to take their
time over their food.
- Old and ailing dogs in
particular should be allowed to eat in peace.
Toys and Other
Being fair-minded and treating all dogs equally will go a
long way toward ensuring a harmonious household.
- Be sure to have duplicates
of toysâ€”including brain-stimulating puzzle toys like The GameChanger or
the Buster CubeÂ®â€”dog beds, food dishes, etc., to keep everyone content and
to decrease occurrences of resource-guarding behavior.
- Give 'high-value'
toysâ€”ones the dogs really covet, such as bones or furry squeaky toysâ€”only
when the dogs are alone, such as in their crates. Put the items away after
the dogs are released from their crates.
No matter how many dogs are in your family, a crate (or pet
carrier) provides a natural safe haven for a dog and helps him feel secure.
- Use separate
crates. Be sure each dog has his own crate and bedding.
- Keep all the crates in the same area or room.
- If you need to set up
boundaries at any time, direct the dogs to go to their crates, even if it
is only one dog that is acting naughty or anxious. While they may not like
being separated from you, they will each feel secure.
Work on making the dogs feel cared for individually so that
they will not want to compete with each other. Be sure each dog gets equal helpings
of your love and affection, and plenty of time for exercise and training.
Remember to devote ample time to each dog individually for
both training and play. If one dog is much older or less energetic than the
other, be sure you give him time and space to himself so he can rest and feel
Be mindful of all your dogs' body language. Staring, in
particular, can be a trigger that will start a fight. Diffuse the situation by
sending both dogs to their crates.