Tips on How to Introduce Your Dog to Other Dogs

Are you bringing a new dog (or puppy) into a home that already has one or more dogs living in it? Or maybe you just want things to go smoothly when you introduce your dog to a friend’s dog for the first time. Whatever the situation, here are a few tips to keep in mind when you bring dogs together who have never met before.

General guidelines for introducing dogs

  1. Be aware that all dogs do not have the same level of sociability, so be prepared if one is friendlier than the other
  2. Try to introduce the dogs in neutral territory rather than in a favorite, familiar place for one of them
  3. Make sure each dog is on a leash and at a safe distance from each other at first
  4. Don’t encourage a face to face greeting, as some dogs dislike direct eye contact
  5. Watch their body language for signs of aggression and be prepared to separate them
  6. Relax and enjoy when they engage in the “play bow” position with each other!

Bringing a new dog into your home

  1. Recognize that multiple dogs form a pack and it’s your job as leader to control how they interact
  2. To be safe, put the new dog in a crate at first, and allow the resident dog to come up and give him a sniff
  3. Keep both dogs on leashes during the first meetings when the new dog is outside the crate
  4. Take the dogs on walks together, but use a route that is different for the first dog so that he does not become territorial
  5. Fights over food and toys can be a common problem, so keep a close eye on them until you know how they act around these triggers
  6. Most dogs will readily adapt to a new friend, but manage your expectations in case they don’t become best buddies…for whatever reason

New puppies and adult dogs

  1. Be aware that a calm, quiet, older dog might not appreciate a rambunctious puppy as much as you hope he will
  2. Start the puppy off in a room that’s not a favorite of the resident dog’s, so that he can get used to the change
  3. Both dogs should be on leashes during the first meeting, even a young puppy that you hold in your arms
  4. Take them on walks together to get them used to each other; the new puppy can walk behind the older dog
  5. Keep toys away from the first off-leash meetings so the new puppy does not monopolize them
  6. Know when the older dog has had enough and needs a break by observing body language (growling, showing teeth)


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  • Aaron Seminoff
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