How To Introduce A New Dog To Your Pack
The thing about dogs, is that once you’ve let the first one into your heart and your home, you’ll find yourself wondering just how many more dogs you could adopt into your pack. It seems that there is no limit to the love that humans can give to our timeless best friends, and it is much reciprocated with many years of slobbery kisses.
Even when you already have Fido, Buddy and Cheddar, it may be worth considering how you will be introducing a new dog into the wolf pack. Or you may just have one pampered pooch, but you want to introduce another and you’re not sure how your current dog will react.
It’s well known that dogs are a man’s best friend, but sometimes, not all dogs care for their canine companions. After all, your dogs may all find themselves wanting to fight for position as favourite, not that you could ever choose between your fluffy children.
Here are some tips on how to keep your home as a doggy resort and not an unruly doggy daycare:
Preparation Is Key
Before you even bring home the newcomer, you need to consider if the family is prepared. How friendly are your current dogs with other animals? Is your house ready and safe? Are vaccines up to date, to prevent disease being spread?
You may need to spend the weeks before the new arrival planning ahead, such as making sure your alpha dogs are responding well to basic training commands, and prepping the house. It will be good to stock up on some treats to encourage bonding, however, you’ll also need to buy a whole new set of toys, bowls and doggy related items which will prevent squabbles.
Scent First, Socialise Later
A really handy tip is to try to get the new fur babies to smell all over an item, such as an old shirt or cloth. Once it is well and truly smothered in doggy scent, let your older pack members smell the item and familiarise themselves with the scent.
This can build a sense of trust and remove a layer of fear before your pack has been introduced to the new member. Furthermore, if your new best buddy has some anxiety, you can let them sleep with an old and over worn shirt of yours.
Stand In A Middle Ground
Dogs are territorial and may feel that they are the alpha of the family, or that they own certain areas, toys and even the couch.
For the best chance of bonding all your fur children, you should find a neutral territory which has not been claimed, to ensure that Fido doesn’t try to exert dominance. Making it a very bad idea to pick up the new dog with the whole of the pack in the back of the care.
Essentially this means, no toys, food bowls or anything that Fido already believes is his property. At this point, it’s preferable to keep the dogs on a lead, even if the interaction is at home, to minimize the risk of harm. Keep everything as fresh and in the middle as possible, remember that you are the pack leader.
Keep It Slow And Steady
As much as you may dream of playing happy families and becoming the ultimate #dogmom, bonding your pets is not something you should rush. At first, keep interactions brief and keep an eye on body language, if the room feels tense, then remove the conflict and try again later. Until all dogs are comfortable with each other, it is not the best idea to leave them alone unsupervised unless you want to unleash your own personal world war on the living room.
Walk Into Friendship
Soon after you have collected your new pack member, it’s a good idea to gather the other dogs and go for a walk, for as long or short as needed. It’s important at this point to keep all dogs on a leash, until they are comfortable with enough to be let off.
Theoretically, the more walks your pack does together, the stronger the bond will grow. Because they’re doing fun stuff together. Do make sure that your dogs are still getting the exercise they need, even if it means taking them on a separate extra walk.
The key with introducing a new dog is to take things slowly. Don’t leave your dogs alone together until you’re certain they won’t have any issues. Crate training can help put you at east while you’re out if they do need to be in the same room, then they can see each other but there’s a safety barrier.
If things start to go downhill or your dogs show signs of aggression, it’s important to seek advice from an experienced dog trainer.
Hi, I’m Kiri. I am a writer and love what I do. But I couldn't do it without my dog by my side. I have always loved dogs and they have been the topic of a lot of my writing. It has become a passion of mine to share my knowledge and help people give their dogs the best life possible.