House of Dog Training
Copyright House of Dog Training 2014. All Rights Reserved.
57 Sunflower Road, Colorado Springs, CO 80907 (719) 646-1422
Bringing a new dog into your home can be stressful. Below I have outlined a few steps that should help you keep everything smooth and pleasant. First, it is important to create the proper introduction. The best way to do this is a parallel walk in a large, neutral space. You will need to find someone that understands the body language of dogs to assist you.
It's important to keep both dogs out of reach of each other in the beginning making sure they never approach each other head on. Walking parallel to each other, slowly start to reduce the space between you and the other dog. Make sure the two of you are walking shoulder to shoulder with both dogs on the outer side. When both dogs are relaxed, slowly let them get a little closer to each other. It's important to keep a loose leash the entire walk. Dogs can feel vulnerable on a leash when first meeting other dogs. They have four options when confronted with new situations called the four F's, Freeze ( major decision making time) Flight, Fight or beFriend. When a dog is on a leash the option to take flight is taken away so they default to fighting out of fear. When you keep a tight leash and act anxious your dog will pick up on it effecting their decision when meeting the new member.
Make sure to bring treats with you and create a strong positive association for both dogs. When you get the green light ( both dogs are giving relaxed body language) then let the doggy hand shake (butt sniffing) start. You may drop the leashes if in a enclosed area or make sure the leashes stay loose. Make sure to keep things moving about, static situations create tension and keep the excitement levels low. If the play seems to be bothering either dog separate them and give them time to calm down. Healthy play should be like a well balanced danced. They should take turns chasing each other and allow their play mate to be on top and on bottom when they wrestle. If they don't take turns and you're not sure if the play is appropriate or not, seperate them and if the submissive dog returns to play then they are fine.
When the parallel walk is successful make sure the next time they meet you take your current dog or dogs for a walk to rid them of excess energy. Bring the new dog into the backyard alone and allow them to sniff around and get comfortable. If you don't have a backyard bring them to the area your dogs relieve themselves. Doing this allows the new comer to get vital information about the other dogs. They can tell the gender, age, health and size of the other dogs. Then reintroduce your current dogs to the new comer in the backyard one by one if you have multiple dogs. You will want to make sure you reintroduce them in a large area so that the dogs can flee any uncomfortable situations. This will reduce the chances of conflict between them.
After they are both comfortable go ahead and bring the new comer into the house with out the others. Let the new comer adjust to the inside environment before allowing the others inside. Once inside be sure to keep the excitement levels low. Again, if you have more then one dog be sure to let each dog in one at a time. You don't want to overwhelm the new comer and make them feel cornered. Remember dogs love consistency and when their environment is suddenly changed it can be traumatic. Keep in mind it takes about seven days for them to adjust. After two weeks you should have a settled routine and start to see the new comer bonding and warming up to their new environment.