how to introduce dogs

Dogs are social animals and they normally love attention. But when they’ve been an only child for all of their life, it can be stressful introducing another puppy into the equation. Your dog may reject the puppy, become territorial, or get jealous. It could bring out some bad behaviors for a little while. That’s why this blog is all about how to introduce dogs to each other. At Doggy Brace, we want you all to have a happy transition from one dog to two. 

Introduce Adult Dogs Slowly

Some dogs will do just fine if you plop the new adult pup, walk right up. Other dogs may require a little more time to get used to them. Dogs with little to no animal socialization will not be as keen to get to know the new dog at first. 

Just take it slow. If they’re showing signs of distress, separate them and try again later. If you’re really concerned, have them separated for a few days. Let them sniff each other under doors, swap their blankets, feed them treats together, and feed them together. Food is often the middle ground for dogs (unless your dog is super territorial of their food).

Have The Dogs Meet With Leashes Dragging

Once they’re both more used to each other, bring them both outside, when they’re on leashes. Monitor and control the situation at first. If it feels friendly, you can let go of the leash and see what happens. Be ready to jump in if you need to, though. 

Wait two minutes while they sniff each other, then call them away. If they start to play and it seems to be going well, let them play for a few minutes and then end the session. End each initial session on a good note!

Have The Dogs Meet At Home

Do not let the dogs meet at home if your dog is very territorial. The yard is normally a good place to start for older dogs. Yard first, then inside. This is more neutral territory and allows your new dog to familiarize themselves with their surroundings. 

Keep each interaction short and pleasant. If signs of tension arise, separate the dogs immediately and try again later. Remember that the introduction will set the tone for their relationship, so it’s important to set everyone up for success.

Keep The Dogs Separate While You Are Away

This one is super important. Dogs don’t know their own strength and this is often a bad thing. They could really hurt each other if they’re not supervised. So when you leave the house, separate them by putting them either in separate rooms or crates. 

As a bonus, this helps trai your new dog on how to behave when you’re not home. They won’t be able to get destructive if they don’t have free reign of the home and your furniture. 

Introducing a Puppy to Your Dog

You finally picked out your new puppy and are ready to pick him up and bring him home. Patience is key with puppies. They don’t know how to communicate with older dogs yet and definitely don’t know the rules of the house set by said dog. Take it slow and control the situation as much as you can so your puppy knows who is in charge. 

If it’s a puppy and you want them to see each other for the first time, put a leash on your older dog and hold the puppy. Show your dog that the puppy is not a threat, but maintain control of the situation at all times. Your dog may be excited to meet a new friend, but the puppy could be terrified. Or vice versa.

Do not reprimand the adult dog for growling at the puppy. Growling can let the puppy know that it is time to take a step back from the situation and that is a good lesson for your puppy to learn.

To make sure interactions stay appropriate and the elder dog is not overwhelmed. When you are not able to directly supervise the puppy, they should be separated from your older dog in an exercise pen or in a crate, or another room. 

Give Them Space

We all know how much patience is required to raise a puppy. We all need a break from it every once in a while. Your dog is the same way. Let them know they are still loved, praise them often, and give them some time away from the energetic puppy. 

You can either crate your dog or the puppy, take your dog out on a nice long walk, or just give your dog free reign of the house while the puppy is outside. This will help them relax and will give them the rest they need.  

Introducing Your Dog to a Strange Dog

It is almost guaranteed that when you and your canine buddy are out on a walk, you will come into contact with another dog. If your dog goes to a daycare, then this will be no problem for them. They’ll see the dog as a friend and may want to greet and play with it. 

However, you don’t know the strange dog. You will need to control the situation as much as you can. Talk with the owner while your dogs have distance between them, if you dogs show interest in each other. 

Once they come in contact, normal dog behavior will likely occur, and the dogs will sniff each other in greeting. Signs that the meeting is going well include relaxed facial expressions, play bows, tails wagging fast, and wiggling their hind ends.

Signs that the meeting is too much for either dog may include yawning, turning their heads away from the other dog, tense jaws, tails held low, shaking, and the hair standing up along their backs. These behaviors indicate the dog is nervous about the meeting, and it is best to separate the dogs and continue on your walk before the situation has a chance to escalate.

We hope these tips help make all introductions easier! We also have a ton of training tips for your dog in our blog, so check those out!