Blog Bringing Home a Second Dog
That adorable new pup with the pleading eyes is just too much to resist. The problem with bringing home a second dog into the house is territory. It is a home to you, but to your dog, it is his or her den. That doesn’t mean you can’t consider adding that cute pup to your family, just that you need a plan.
Before introducing the second dog into the environment, put anything that the current one will want to protect away; such as toys, the food dish and bedding, etc.. For the first meeting, consider a neutral, open area that will prevent that type of territorial aggressiveness. A dog park is the perfect setting, the front yard, a daycare session at Very Important Paws, but any uncluttered space will do.
Neutral space will also reduce the distractions, so the two dogs can focus on getting to know each other. Keep both dogs on leashes even if you let them go. With any luck, your resident dog will want to play with his new friend.
What to Expect at the First Meeting
Introduce the dogs with both of them on the ground. Holding a puppy will make it feel scared and vulnerable around the older dog. It is normal for dogs to posture and sniff one another. A little growling is okay too, especially if both dogs are adults. At some point, they may walk away and ignore one another. Give them lead way to establish rapport and set their own pace.
Tension that quickly subsides is okay, but if it escalates to deep growling and raised hackles, separate them. Avoid tugging the leash to pull them apart. Instead, each handler should offer treats to move them in opposite directions.
Take the resident dog off leash when entering the home, but allow your new family member leash controlled exploration of the house, going from room to room. It is critical to go back to your normal routine, such as walking and time outside, once you get both dogs under the same roof.
Keep their food bowls separate from one another. Train each dog to eat from the assigned bowl to cover his or her nutritional needs. Follow feeding advice from your veterinarian.
With a little patience and proper handling, your two dogs will quickly become friends for life. If you are uncomfortable or unsure about making a new dog introduction consult one of Very Important Paws knowledgeable trainers, we will be happy to help with new dog selection, advice and introductions.