Dogs are social creatures that appreciate having a friend for company and for playtime. While it is easy to adopt a new dog, the resident dog may feel jealous, territorial, and defensive and your home dynamic might change a lot in the coming months. The following steps will help with the adjustment period between your two pets and get them socialized a little easier.
Keep Them Separated
When a new dog is brought home, it should be introduced to a crate where it can sleep and feel safe during the first few weeks. It is very important the resident dog be kept in a separate area where it cannot make visual contact with the new dog right away. Biting and injury can happen to owners or the dogs if you aren’t careful in this stage of separation. Rotating blankets and toys between the two dogs will allow them to get used to each other's scent. Allow them some time to adjust to the smell of each other.
Let the New Dog Explore
The second stage of introduction is letting the new dog roam the entire house and adjust to the daily routine. This is done for 20 minutes, several times per day. The new dog will leave its scent as it explores, and should have the resident dog's items in its crate when it returns.
Switch Dogs Around
In this step, the resident dog is allowed to roam, while the new dog is confined to its crate in a secluded space. The dog will quickly pick up the scent of the newcomer and follow it around the home until it is convinced the other dog is "gone". At this point, the established dog may feel confused and will require a great deal of positive attention. Petting and cuddling while watching television or reading will reassure it that nothing has changed and will help it to feel more secure.
When the established dog is no longer excited by the new dog's scent, it is time for the two animals to meet face-to-face. To avoid possible territorial behavior, this meeting should take place in an area away from the home, such as a neighbor's yard or a dog park. If you are in another friend’s yard, Hammett, Bellin & Oswald, LLC recommend making sure any young kids know to be careful and not agitate the dogs. As with the house, let the new dog run around and get its scent on grass, shrubs, and fences, then let the resident dog do the same. At this point, neither animal should feel threatened and the introduction should go well, especially if the resident dog is trained to be friendly and outgoing.
A dog's primary sense is smell, which is why it is the best method for introduction. Following the tips above will ensure bonding and a smooth transition into the household.