How To Introduce New Dogs to Your Family

How To Introduce New Dogs to Your Family

You just brought home the most adorable puppy in the world, but now what? How do you get them to play with your other dogs? If you have two or more dogs, it’s important that everyone gets along. The last thing you want is to create friction or hostility within the household.


But don't worry, we've got you covered! In this article, we’re going to take a deeper dive into actionable tips on how to effectively introduce dogs to each other. We'll cover everything from bringing home puppies to prepping old souls to introducing additional dogs, and more!

The Importance Of Dog Training And Behavior Modification

young german shepherd being trained by owner

Dogs are social animals by nature. They need to learn how to interact with their pack members and with people. It's not enough to simply know how to obey commands; they also need to understand why those commands exist.

If you're looking to train your new pup, especially on how to get along with other dogs, you should start early. Puppies are very impressionable, and if you wait until later in life to teach them proper behavior, they may never change.

It's important to note that there are different types of training methods. Some work better than others, depending on the individual dog's personality. For example, some dogs are naturally dominant and require dominance-based training techniques. Others are submissive and respond well to reward-based training.

Introducing Your New Pup to a Territorial Dog

two dogs meeting each other on leash

Your existing dog values their space and privacy. But you just brought home a brand new puppy. What happens when the two first meet? Here are a few tips to help facilitate the initial meeting:

1. Have a Plan
      • First, draft a plan before introducing your new puppy to your current dog. For example, do you know where your territorial dog likes to hang out? Are they near food or water? Under furniture? Knowing these things will help you determine where to place both dogs so they won't accidentally bump heads before you have control of the situation.
    2. Start Slowly
      • You shouldn't expect instant results, good or bad. Instead, allow your dogs to become familiar with each other slowly over time. If either reacts negatively toward the other, it's okay. Separate them immediately and try another time.
    3. Use Positive Reinforcement
        • Positive reinforcement is the best way to train your new puppy, and show your old dog that change is okay! When the dogs behave as desired, reward them individually with high-value treats. When they misbehave, remove the incentive. This method is tried and true – and works because it reinforces desired behavior while discouraging behavior that won’t be tolerated.
      4. Be Patient
          • Don't rush this. It takes time to build trust between two dogs who don't know each other. Give them plenty of time to learn about each other. With time, they’ll become familiar with each other’s scents and behavior. And before long, they’ll be one big, furry family.

        How to Get My Older Dog to Accept the New Puppy

        older dog meets puppy

        Here are a few tips on how to get your older dog to accept your new puppy:

        • Set Up Boundaries. Before bringing your new puppy home, set up boundaries in your house. For example, you want to ensure your old dog doesn't try to chase him around the house.
        • Create Space. Ensure there's enough space for both dogs to live comfortably. They'll need room to run around without getting too close.
        • Reward Good Behavior. Reward your old dog when they do something nice for your new puppy. For example, offer them a treat after they play nicely with the puppy.
        • Play Together. Playtime is an excellent way to bond with your new puppy. Take turns playing with them.

        Bringing Home a Third Dog

        three dogs laying on the floor

        What if you already have two lovely dogs but just can't get enough, so you decide to add a third dog to the family? How will everyone manage? Here are some tips on how to bring home a third dog:

        • Choose Wisely. Before adding another dog to your family, ensure you're prepared financially, emotionally, and physically.
        • Find a Match. If you decide to adopt a third dog, find one that has similar personality traits as your first dog.
        • Plan Ahead. If you're planning to add a third dog, start looking for cozy individual areas for all three of them well in advance to accommodate everyone comfortably.
        • Discuss All Options. Discuss your options with your veterinarian before adding a third dog to your home. There are several different breeds of dogs that work well together, such as Labradors and golden retrievers.
        • Ensure Everyone Is Ready. Ensure everyone in your household is ready to accommodate a third dog. Will your human family members be able to handle the extra responsibility? Are your dogs emotionally prepared to welcome another pup into the fold?

        How to Handle Interdog Aggression

        two dogs barring fangs at each other

        If you have two dogs who just aren't getting along, here are some tips on how you can help them resolve their differences:

        • Separate Them. Separating them helps reduce stress and tension. Make sure they don't come back together until they've had a chance to calm down.
        • Give Them Time. Don't force them to interact with each other. Instead, allow them to become more comfortable with each other over time.
        • Provide Structure. Do this by setting rules for them to follow. This includes things like no biting, no roughhousing, and no chasing.
        • Use Positive Reinforcement. Use positive reinforcement techniques to teach them to respect each other. For example, use treats to reward good behavior.
        • Give Them Space. Keep them separated from each other at times. This allows them to learn to tolerate each other better.
        • Make Sure Both Are Happy. Be sure both dogs are happy and content. If either dog isn't, it could lead to problems later on.

        How to Tell If My Dogs Like Each Other

        two dogs sitting on a dock

        Dogs often form bonds with people more easily than other animals. However, there are ways to determine whether your dogs like each other.

        • Watch Their Body Language. See if they seem interested in each other. They'll probably show interest by sniffing each other, licking each other, or wagging their tails.
        • Look At Their Eyes. Look into their eyes to see if they look friendly toward each other while playing or being near one another.
        • Track Their Behavior. Does one dog try to dominate the other? Or do they play nicely and take turns being the “aggressor”?

        Summing It Up!

        There’s nothing better than parenting multiple dogs at once. But in the end, it’s that initial meeting – and depending on success, the subsequent trial and error – that sets your family up to live their happiest, healthiest lives together. And by following these tips, you'll be well on your way to doing exactly that.

         

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