As pet lovers, we often find that one furry friend is just not enough. No matter if the new addition was well planned or love at first sight, we need to keep in mind that the introduction process to the existing family at home needs to be done with care. To help you do just that, Erin Askeland, Camp Bow Wow’s Training and Behavioral Expert, CPDT-KA has provided us with a few helpful tips on assimilating a second dog into your family.
· Leave Your Current Dog at Home – when you pick up your new family member you should leave your current dog at home. You want to have a special introduction for the two of them when you get home and not just put them together and hope they get along. Both dogs will experience some anxiety about the new situation, so doing this will help.
· Meet on Neutral Territory – When you bring a new dog into your home, introduce them on neutral territory like a park or even a nice walk through your neighborhood. You want them to meet in a place where the dog that has been living in your home doesn’t feel protective of their territory.
· Happy, Fun and Quick – When you introduce the two dogs to each other, make it fun and happy. Use happy voices and let them sniff each other for a little bit. Then move them away from each other for a few minutes. Then put them back together and let them sniff and then move them away again. These brief, fun little interactions will keep their stress level down.
· Don’t Force It – If the dogs don’t want to say “hi” to each other when you first introduce them, that’s ok. Don’t force them.. Just because they don’t say hi to each other doesn’t mean they won’t like each other. Let them move at their pace as they are getting used to each other.
· Sharing – When you bring your new dog into your home, remember that until now, your dog’s toys, treats and bones were theirs. Now they are going to have to figure out how to share. You may want to separate the dogs for a while to give them their own playtime with the toys until they have settled in with each other.
· Patience – It takes dogs time to build relationships with each other, but with each passing day it will get better. It will take time for everyone in the house to get adjusted to having a new family member so be patient.
Lastly, don’t forget our pets have feelings too. Make sure to pass the love and praise around to help develop a lasting, joyous home. Happy Petting!