How to Introduce a New Dog to Your Household with an
Just when you thought that having a dog was getting simple, you go out and snag a second dog - a new housemate
who will need to fit into the hierarchy you and your first dog have finally settled into.
It can be a tough sell at first, but if you follow these tips carefully, both dogs should learn fast that they
are friends and not rivals.
What Happens with a New Dog
When you add a new dog to the household, you trigger all sorts of responses from your existing dog. Even the
sweetest, happiest dog can revert to instinct and their Rank Drive - trying to maintain their position in the
This can lead to immediate aggression amongst dogs
in the house, especially if the new dog is older and you give it more attention than the original dog. In
reality, a dog pack is formed as soon as there are three dogs and the results can be scary if you don't have
control of that pack.
Luckily, most dogs don't want to be the pack leader. They grow nervous, anxious, and start lashing out as a
result of the situation. This is why it's so important that you take control of the household from the start,
asserting your alpha leadership and making sure every dog understands this.
You will also need to be consistent with your treatment of each dog. If you show dominance over your first dog
but dote on the new dog, the new dog might start trying to challenge for dominance, leading to aggression toward
your first pup.
Never rush an introduction between new dogs. If you feel they need to stay separated for a short time before
introductions, do so until you can establish order. I recommend leaving your original dog in a crate or in a
separate room while you acclimate your new dog to the house.
Do this with basic walks, grooming, play time and dog training.
You want to establish the relationship with the new dog before you bring them together. This way, if they both know
you are the alpha leader, there will be less butting of heads when they meet.
When it comes time to introduce the dogs, I recommend taking them outside. If you have an open space, this will
work, though it may be better to do introductions on leashes along a walk. By having them meet on neutral ground,
you can keep them apart if aggression appears.
Most of the time, the dogs will gladly interact on their leashes and get to know each other. They will also
recognize the significance of being walked together, a pack activity that you will be leading.
Once you've made these introductions, you can bring your dogs together in the home, allowing them to get better
acclimated in the house, off their leashes. Be sure to stay present for the first few days and watch for any
aggressive or posturing body language.
Don't yell at them or get angry if they do show aggressive dog behaviour. Rather, assert your own
dominance with firm commands and the use of separate space. If you start yelling, you can actually trigger the
aggression as they see you as a third challenger.
Ideally, two dogs should be perfectly well suited to live together. Most dogs are very social - as is their
nature as pack animals. The key is to show them that you are in charge and that they are members of your pack
If you can asset dominance, curb any unwanted aggression, and control your space, any fears you may have had can
be waylaid before anything goes wrong.
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