Being a dog owner is a very rewarding experience – so much so that many people quickly decide that just one canine pal simply isn’t enough! Nevertheless, if you have a dog that has already established his place in your home and family, bringing a new furbaby into the mix needs to be done with patience and care if both of your animals are to get along well and enjoy a happy existence together.
Even if you aren’t taking on a new dog just yet, teaching your existing pooch to get along with others that he comes into contact with is a crucially important part of his socialization. If he can tolerate these meetings he will turn out to be a much happier, calmer and less stressed pet.
Here is our guide to introducing your old dog to a new four-legged friend.
Territorial aggression is a common trait for a dog who may feel that the new canine may pose a threat to the area in which he has claimed as his own. This can cause unpleasant and undesirable behaviors that can permanently damage the relationship between the canines.
However, by bringing them together in a neutral space, you are putting them both on an equal footing with neither feeling that they have anything to protect. If both dogs are going to be living with you, make sure that you have spaces in your home where they can escape to if they need to get away from one another.
Possessive aggression is also particularly common during mealtimes, especially if either of your dog’s come from homes whereby they have had to push through to get a decent share of a meal. Separate food dishes can help reduce the likelihood of mealtime aggression. We would also recommend having separate food corners or even rooms for each pet to further reduce mealtime tension.
Restraining both dogs during the introductory process is extremely important. Make sure there are two of handlers and that each of you holds the leash of a separate dog. This will allow you to control how close they get to one another and enable you to remove them from the situation should you need to.
Your dog’s body language will tell you a great deal about how he feels about the current situations. If both dogs seem happy to see one another, wait until they calm down before you bring them closer to each other. If there are signs of dominance or aggression such as growling, silent stares or showing teeth then they need to get used to being far apart in the same room before they can get closer to one another.
Sniffing will be the main way that your dog’s will get to know one another, and this will mean sniffing nose to nose then nose to rear while they remain on the leash. Again, remain vigilant for any negative behavior signs that mean you need to remove the animals from one another.
If both dogs begin to play with one another while still on the least, or your original seems uninterested in his new companion, things are looking good. If your dogs are relatively calm you may then consider taking them off of their leashes and watching what they do next.
Unfortunately, although the animals are getting along at that moment it doesn’t mean that they are completely comfortable with one another yet. For this reason, we strongly advocate that you closely monitor all interactions for several weeks and if you can’t, then you separate the dogs until a time whereby they can be watched. It is your job as their responsible human to prevent antisocial behavior and displays of dominance before they escalate.
Both of your dogs will still need to feel loved as individuals and this can avoid them feeling that they need to compete for your affection. Make sure to schedule time for some 1-1 attention with each of your canine companions.
Contact our Manson, IA clinic today for further advice.