3 Tips For Introducing a New Dog to the Pack

3 Tips For Initially Introducing a New Dog to the Pack

When you fall in love with Fido and decide to bring him home, you think about a new food bowl, toys, trips to the veterinarian, and how he’ll adapt to your home. But do you stop and think about how to introduce him to your other pets? This can be a bit of a rocky road, or it can be smooth sailing depending on the personality of each pet and whether they “hit it off.” Whether it’s an instant brotherhood or a case of green-eyed envy, here are three tips to keep in mind when initially introducing a new dog to the pack. 

Introduce Them By Smell First

Before your new family member arrives home, introduce him to your current furry friends by smell. You can do this by bringing home a piece of fabric or a blanket with the new dog’s scent on it. Dogs have a keen sense of smell, and this non-threatening introduction will put them on alert that another dog is soon to come. Place the fabric where your new dog will sleep to prepare your current pets for his arrival.  

Meet in a Neutral Location

If possible, allow your pets to meet in a neutral location for the first time. This can be at a local park, a relative’s house, or your neighbor’s backyard. When introductions take place outside of your home, your pet won’t feel the need to defend his territory. Instead, the focus can be on meeting the new dog.  

You should not force this interaction. Instead, have realistic expectations from the first meeting. Keep them both leashed so you can better control their behavior. The ultimate goal is for them to be near each other without displaying negative or aggressive behaviors. 

You don’t want to head home with your pets until they can be around each other without being aggressive. Remain at the neutral location until this occurs Anytime negative behavior is exhibited, separate them, wait a few minutes, and try again. 

Head Home

Once they can calmly be around each other, you can head home.  

Take them for a walk around the neighborhood and lead them in the house together, but allow your resident dog to enter first. Then, bring in your new family member.  

Keep both pets on a leash and walk them around the house. If they continue to display appropriate behavior, you can let them off the leash to continue getting to know each other better, but be sure to keep a close eye on them. 

Introducing a New Dog to the Pack Is a Process

When you are introducing a new dog to the pack, remember that it’s a process. Just like when you add a new baby, husband, or wife to your family, it takes time. Keep an eye on your pets to ensure they are behaving appropriately around each other. Don’t leave them alone together during the first few weeks, and if behavior escalates, do your best to stop it in its tracks.

One additional suggestion for introducing a new dog to the pack is to keep your pets in separate crates for the first few weeks when you’re not at home. This can make your dogs feel antsy, and sometimes they might need a break from the crate. Bringing in a dog walker can be a great way to provide stress relief to your furry friends during this time of transition. 

Be mindful of your resident pet and new pet’s feelings during this time and rest assured that they will develop an unbreakable bond.