It is estimated that 23% of households own dogs in the United Kingdom, and a 2019 survey revealed that 48% of participants own dogs to contribute to their overall happiness. They aren’t called man’s best friend for no reason. It is vital how you introduce your new dog to your other dogs for the introduction to be a success.
Having a loveable canine companion brings unconditional love into any home, so having more than one dog means more love to go around. But, to bring another fur baby into the family, there is an introduction process that needs to take place to make the transition as smooth as possible.
Top ten tips on how to introduce your new dog your other dogs
- Find a neutral area to meet – A neutral space outdoors, such as a dog park, is essential as neither dog will end up feeling territorial.
- Keep all dogs on leashes – Introduce your new dog to other dogs on leashes allows for more control over the situation. It is much safer to separate them when both dogs are on a leash if things go wrong. You can let the leash drag once the dogs have sniffed one another and tails start wagging.
- Put a harness on – A collar is fine to pair with a leash, but you might be better off with a harness for extra safety. Your dog is likely to pull on the leash when it meets another dog, even if they’re just sniffing each other. A harness will keep that pressure off their throat, and it’s much harder for your dog to slip out of.
- Use positive reinforcements – When the dogs are showing progress with one another, it is the perfect opportunity to deliver high-quality, nutritious goodies to reinforce their good behavior. Use praises with an upbeat, happy tone of voice to both dogs, and when giving the treats, make sure to provide the same goodie at the same time to both dogs. If your dog experiences anxiety, you might consider giving calming CBD dog treats.
- Pay close attention to the dog’s body language – Look for warning signs that your dog is upset or uncomfortable. Signs include a stiff-legged gait, growling, and baring teeth. If this happens, separate them immediately and try the introduction again later. Suppose a fight does break out; never use your hands to break it up because you could get bitten. If the dogs are on leashes, use the restraint to pull them apart. If the dogs are not on leashes, try spraying them with water, blow a whistle, or make loud noises.
- Go for a get-to-know-you better walk – Going for a walk together will help get them acclimated to one another without creating any tension. If possible, this walk should end at your home so all dogs are together when entering.
Tips for when you get home
- Almost home sweet home – If you have a yard, let the dogs interact. Hwwever, keep them on leashes before entering the house. This process will allow for further bonding to occur on semi-neutral territory. Once they appear to be relaxed and playful with each other, you can then drop the leashes.
- Welcome to casa de canines – When entering the home, both dogs should enter at the same time if possible. There should be separate water and food bowls placed for each dog. Place them at a reasonable distance from one another, maybe even in a different room to prevent fighting. Monitor the dogs closely and watch for any warning signs of a potential fight.
- Leaving the dogs alone for the first time – Keep the dogs in separate rooms or crates to prevent fighting and injuries. Place objects from one dog, like a toy or blanket, in the other dog’s crate or room. This process helps the dog learn the other dog’s smell and reassures them, forming a better bond between both dogs. Eventually, you can start leaving them for short periods without separating them to ensure no problems will arise.
- If you have children – If you have children, make sure to take the proper steps in introducing the dogs to your children. Depending on how old your child is, it might be wise to leave them at home or have them stand back the first time the dogs meet each other. Just in case there is a fight, especially if the dog you already have is protective of the child.
Benefits of Owning a Pet
Dogs are man’s best friend, and there are numerous proven benefits to both the owner and the dog. Dogs are not only loyal companions that love us unconditionally, but dogs can make us healthier, happier, and safer.
Great for Children and Families
When children have pets, they learn how to become more responsible, patient, and compassionate. Children also learn respect, empathy, and loyalty towards another life.
Dogs are also great for children and families because they are protective. Dogs often bark if they hear a strange noise. They have also been known to look for help if their owner falls or is injured.
Dogs love walks, which means more exercise for the pet and the pet parent, improving our health and our dogs. Studies have shown that dog owners were 31% less likely to die from a heart attack, stroke, or other cardiovascular diseases than those who didn’t own dogs. There is even a boost to our immune systems from exposure to pet fur and dandruff, allowing many pet owners to see a decrease in their blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels.
Our canine companions also help us feel happier due to the anti-anxiety effect they have on us. Not to mention the joy we experience by just watching them play. Petting your dog will relax and calm your nervous system within only a few minutes. Even staring into your dog’s eyes will cause a tremendous spike in oxytocin levels in both you and your doggie. Oxytocin is the hormone that reduces feelings of stress and anxiety.
The More, the Merrier!
Being a canine parent takes both love and patience, but the rewards are endless. When you bring a new doggie into your home, you bring more than the benefits to your health, happiness, and safety; you are also saving another life. After all, dogs are just as much a life raft for us as we are for them. If you already enjoy the benefits of having one dog, just imagine what it will be like to have twice the love!
Bio: Tiffany Young is a freelance writer, content strategist, and former graduate assistant who works closely with dog products & accessories brands like dogIDs. She writes about the latest developments in teaching, public policy, standardized testing, and educational technology