Introducing A Second Dog To Your HomeJuly 26, 2016
Are you looking at adding another canine to your pet loving home? We take a look at the steps one takes when introducing a second dog.
There are many benefits of having two or more dogs. Being pack animal’s, dogs love the company of other dogs and will keep each other occupied and happy. However, there are a few things to consider when introducing a second dog. Being prepared is very important.
It’s a good idea to think about your current dog and if they are suffering from any bad behaviour that needs to be rectified before you introduce a new dog to your home. The old saying ‘double trouble’ can certainly be the case when it comes to dogs. Your new dog will pick up on any unwanted behaviours. So you may end up with two problematic barkers or diggers. It’s always a good plan to pop your dog in a refresher dog training course before you bring your new dog home. This way you can ensure that any sneaky problems (like on-lead pulling) can be sorted out. Problems that need attention before you bring your new dog home include:
- Pulling on the lead
- Recall (the ‘come’ command)
- Basic manners
- Toilet training
- Problematic barking
The Right Dog
Also consider what breed or type of dog you will be purchasing. If you have a high energy breed, adding another high energy breed will be good for your dog; but also remember that both of these dogs will need to be kept under control and adequately exercised. Two high energy dogs running at full speed in the off-leash park will need a consistent and strong recall command. Also consider size. It’s always a good idea to size match your dogs if possible, or ensure the smaller dog has a ‘safe’ area to retreat to… away from giant paws.
If you are rescuing an adolescent or older dog, it’s a good idea to ask the dog shelter if you can bring your dog along for a meet-and-greet. This way the dogs can meet in a neutral area to see if they will get along. Some dogs, just like humans, simply don’t get along. Don’t rush this process; the perfect new friend will be found at the right time. Things to remember (for older dogs):
- Dogs meet bum to nose, not nose to nose. However absurd bum-sniffing seems to humans, it’s the way dogs say ‘hello’ in a non-aggressive manner.
- If your dog seems anxious or tense, turn around and walk away and try the introduction again. Look for raised hackles and intense eye-contact. Floppy dog = happy dog. Tense, stiff dog = not happy dog. Look at your dog’s cues to how they are feeling.
- Allow the dogs to meet, while on lead for the first few times. If all goes well, allow them to run free in a neutral zone such as a dog park.
- The shelter’s staff are experts at matching dogs. So ask for professional assistance when introducing a second dog.
Pups & Older Dogs
It can be a very exciting time bringing a new puppy home. Just ensure you maintain your older dog’s routine and supervise all of the interactions. Your older dog will need to know that you still love them. So lots of playtime, praise and exercise. Plus, they will need to be taught how to be gentle with the pup. Allowing the puppy to have their own ‘safe zone’ or space will also help. This is a special place where they can sleep (look at our blogs on dog crate training). When you first bring your puppy home:
- Pop your dog on a lead.
- Put the puppy behind a door and let them both sniff at each other from under the door.
- Lots of praise and treats.
- Go at your older dog’s pace. If they are not happy take them outside and play a good game of fetch and try again.
- Meeting through glass.
- Face-to-face meets with older dog on a lead.
- Remember not to let your puppy harass your older dog.
- A few growls from your big boy or girl, is normal. They are setting their boundaries.
- Only supervised interactions.