Home > Animal Rescue, Dog Behavior, Pet Adoption, Pet Topics > Introducing a new dog into your home when you already have a dog

Introducing a new dog into your home when you already have a dog

November 11, 2014 Leave a comment Go to comments

The girlsOver the past couple of months, I have had several friends adopt a new dog into their household. Given the fact that each already had a resident dog in their home, it is understandable that each one of them worried about how to introduce the new dog into their home. They also worried about how the new dog would make their current dog feel and whether they would get along.

I remember how nervous I was in bringing each one of my dogs into my home. (I think you would have to be a fool not to be a little nervous and anxious!) Every dog is different and every situation must be managed to ensure success.

When Cupcake first came into my home as a foster, it was a tough go. Not because she wasn’t an awesome and very sweet dog, but because she felt like she had to establish her place as top dog right away. She claimed the couch and snarked at Daisy and Jasper whenever they came close to her. Jasper and Daisy were intimidated by her behavior. Daisy started staying in her kennel to avoid her.I think it was at this point I seriously considered giving her back to the rescue.

But then, I remembered to use the skills and knowledge I had gained from so many other trainers. I took away Cupcake’s couch privileges to eliminate any snarking. Then, I started enticing Daisy back to the couch with treats and rewarding Cupcake with treats as well to show her that staying on the floor was a beneficial spot to be. Soon, the snarking had stopped and Daisy was feeling less stressed. We worked on other things too: waiting for dinner, not stealing other dogs’ food, sharing toys, etc.

Introducing a new dog into your home when you have another dog can be difficult. I’ve been offering my own advice and suggestions when asked (think baby gates, crates and slow introductions), but then I remembered that I had attended a webinar earlier this year put on by the ASPCA. The guest speaker was well-known author and animal behaviorist, Patricia McConnell (PhD, CAAB, Author). The topic? Multi-Dog Households: From First Date to After the Honeymoon (You can find more materials and information here as well).

It was a great seminar and discussion and one that I suspect would be beneficial to many an adoptive parent and/or rescue or shelter. I’ll definitely be sharing it with my friends. You can check out her presentation deck here

So how have you handled introducing a new dog into your home? What worked? What didn’t work?

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  1. fredrieka
    November 11, 2014 at 7:25 AM

    all great suggestions as usual keep them coming

  2. November 11, 2014 at 8:26 AM

    When we brought Torrey home she was a puppy the same size as Roxy. But Roxy was 6, had never been around other dogs really, and was(is) the queen. She would look at us like, “Is this thing really going to stay here, aren’t you taking her back now?” Torrey wanted to play, and Roxy really didn’t know how to play with another dog. Over time they worked it out. Torrey quickly learned that Roxy had to initiate play, or she would get snapped at.

  3. http://thepoodleanddogblog.typepad.com/
    November 11, 2014 at 8:58 AM

    Misty the alpha Poodle has always considered the other dogs to be her pets and her servants. They have always just gone along with it.

  4. November 11, 2014 at 9:04 AM

    I just did that about a month ago. Brought in a 1.something rescued female German Shepherd. Thankfully, my now 3 years old German Shepherd / Rottweiler mix is the nicest “brother” she could have gotten, and they’re already like siblings. I really lucked out on that front. 🙂

  5. November 11, 2014 at 9:24 AM

    Mom isn’t into the softening the blow stuff, so new pets, cats and/or dogs just come in and go. We work it all out on our own. Sometimes there are disagreements but we get through them. With dogs, no matter what the age, we always meet outside first and if possible take a short walk before going in the house.

    • November 11, 2014 at 8:28 PM

      Your view is refreshing. I see a lot of comments that slowly is best but it’s simply not the case with all dogs.

      When introducing Killa to Chowski we did the band aid attempt like you mentioned and let them get on with it. Initially Killa was in her crate and they were allowed to sniff each other through the bars. After 30 mins no aggression was shown so we let Killa out of the crate. That was the end of that.

      Now they are best buds and Chowski loves having a little sister. She only weighs 3.5kg but she totally bosses him around!

      I did it this way because I knew 100% that Chowski isn’t a dominant or aggressive dog and I knew that Killa was confident with dogs (she had lived with 15 other Min Pins). She was actually more afraid of my partner and I than Chowski.

      I think sometimes when you try to prolong the meeting the dogs can feel anxious because the humans are making a big deal of it.

      Of course with different dogs there should be a different approach. Whatever feels comfortable is best!

  6. November 11, 2014 at 10:43 AM

    My older shiba is the fearful dog-aggressive type, so I knew introducing another dog was going to be a difficult transition, but he was lonely after his lifelong buddy Risa the choc. lab passed. I got a pup, as I wasn’t sure we could do this at all with an older dog. Another shiba, very love-buggy, from the same breeder as Mojo.

    I made sure to give them both down time, either separated by rooms or crated, and lots of individual attention so no one felt left out. The first week Mojo wore a rubber basket muzzle attached to a second collar (he’s a Houdini with other types) most of the time during their interaction, because he was literally trying to draw blood to establish the pecking order. At about 5 or 6 days, it was off 1/2 the time. By 14 days, all I had to do was pick up the muzzle and I’d get the sheepish “sorry Ma” look.

    The transition to no muzzle at all was done by 21 days. We had a few rough spots without the muzzle during that time, but no serious injuries. I’m not even sure where I put it, now, lol.

    Now io’Newt (io for short) is about 8 months old and they race each other around the house, steal chew toys from each other and romp with the ball for fetch. He likes his outside time, and lately he scratches on the door not to come in, but to ask her to come and hang out with him.

    I’ve even caught them snuggled up next to each other a couple of times!

    Patience and care and even with a difficult dog, it can be done!

  7. November 17, 2014 at 12:11 PM

    When we introduced Louis V to Kincaid it was definitely a worrisome time! Louis V was only about 3 pounds at the time and Kincaid was 60 and used to being on his own. Luckily they hit it off right a way and developed a strong brother bond.
    I really liked your tips and know that they would be helpful if there was more trouble adapting Louis V and Kincaid! They also apply to dogs visiting our household as well! Cant wait to read your next post!

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