So you’re wanting a new puppy/dog, but don’t know how your kiddo is going to react? Or maybe you are going to be dog sitting for a friend?
Whatever the reason for gaining this dog, there are Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to greeting two dogs who have never met each other.
These are the “Do’s” part:
Ideally you want to meet outside of the dog’s territory on neutral ground so they can build a mutual trust. When you introduce a new dog into a home prior to any greetings, the dog that lives there is most likely going to react to the new dog coming in because it’s their territory. On rare occasions do they get along right away.
When you go to have a dog come into the home, when meeting on neutral ground, this step should be about one to two weeks before they even see the house. In the mean time, having some of the new dog’s toys, things, smells should start appearing throughout the house for your current dog to get accustom with.
The next step is greeting outside of the home, just outside of the current dog’s territory. This lets the current dog learn to accept that this dog is going to be coming over and possibly go into the house. If it becomes a problem at this step, this is either where you try and find another dog that your current dog will accept (Assuming he accepts certain breeds) or you can work with a trainer at this step to gain the current dog’s confidence and gain a positive association of new dogs coming into the house.
Once you are past this part, you want to let the new dog roam the house and yard for a good long while before your current dog even knows that the new dog is in the house. This allows the new dog to put their scent over things and hang out and be comfortable without the stress of getting to know the current dog just yet. Gaining confidence in the new dog is also good, because a stressed dog is a potential dangerous dog. The current dog being at a dog park or out running errands with someone or out for a good long walk.
The next part is greeting in the back yard (assuming you have a back yard) What I like to do is have the new dog roam the back yard while the current dog is inside looking out. This allows him to watch this new dog sniff and interact with it’s new environment and allows the current dog to assess the dog from a distance. Then you are going to switch roles and have the current dog go outside while the new dog is looking outside. This allows the current dog to investigate what the new dog did and allows the new dog to assess the new dog.
Next step is leash greeting in the back yard (assuming the dogs are leash aggressive/reactive). They both get to be in the back yard together supervised, on leash and get to watch each other from a distance. Training at this time would be a good thing for both of them to learn that their presence in the same area is a positive thing, not something that needs to be take care of. When they are fine, that’s when you can release them off their leash and do some refereeing.
When introducing them inside, by this point, they should be comfortable with each other enough to get along. But there are certain spots in the house that could be the current dog’s favorite spots. Before this step, have designated spots in the house where each dog can have their space. During the new dog’s stay in the house while the current dog is out of the house is a good time to associate a certain spot for the new comer. You’re going to do the same thing as in the back yard with leash greeting and training.
At this point, they should be fine. Of course you have dogs that take a bit longer to accept a new place. Having a puppy and letting different people and animals come into it’s space from an early age is best so it generalizes and learns that it doesn’t need to be so territorial over it’s space later in life.
If you have ANY doubts that your dog will not accept this dog, do not get him. Unless you are going to be working with him with a behaviorist. Having one dog with dog aggression is bad enough. Having two dogs with dog aggression that do not get along is even worse.
If you don’t have time to do proper socialization steps like mention above, I highly recommend NOT to bring in another dog whether a new dog or babysitting. I know sometimes it just happens (which I am going through right now) and you just have to work around it.
NEVER let your dogs greet all at once if they’ve never met each other. Just today, I have Sugar, a wolf dog, Claire, a GSD Mix, and Kilo, an American Eskimo for our normal dogs, and then Kira, Sugar’s sister (Who we are babysitting) and Pandora (Sugar and Kira’s Sibling) come over today. Kira came Friday night and is staying with us until Tuesday or Wednesday. I wanted to see if Pandora and Kira would recognize each other, because they were siblings, so because of my excitement of getting the three together, My dog trainer brain went out the door and “Oh this will be awesome” entered the brain. Within two minutes, Kira and Pandora were at each others face and Sugar tried to break them up by getting in on the fight. I got them to stop, and that got me into dog trainer mode and grabbed leashes and did what I was SUPPOSED to do in the first place. Pandora had a nip on her nose, but it wasn’t too deep and she didn’t seem to shaken up by it. By the end of the short session, Pandora and Kira were able to stand on the deck without reacting at each other. They were a bit indifferent to each other, but it’s a step forward! With Kilo, he is a bit territorial, so I have to keep him separated unless I am there to watch it and it’s only short sessions. They both went up to each other and Kilo still learning how to react to new dogs and Kira not so keen with Small dogs too terribly, I try and separate them from each other before it gets to that point. I would love it if it got to the point where they all got along together so they can all be out at the same time, but that will be a lot more practice that just this short little week.
So there you have it. My own personal fumble and proper Do’s and Don’ts on how to actually prevent what I should have done in the first place, but accidents happen and we learn from it. So don’t feel bad if you did what I did. Even people who’ve been doing dog training for years sometimes have accidents like this and we just have to step back and think on how we could have prevent it and how to properly go about it the next time so it doesn’t happen again.