Introducing Fido to the Rest of the Pack

Bringing home the new family member is an exciting day but it is critical to proper prepare your current canine friend to the new arrival.

Start early

Practice the obedience commands with your current dog. The new dog will likely look to your dog for guidance on what is acceptable behavior and what is not so if your dog still chews your shoes then the new dog will as well.

Teach your dog to drop things on command and to only take things out of your hand when he is told “okay”. This is a critcal skill to have when you will soon have two dogs wanting the same treat or chew toy.

If possible, take your current dog to visit the newcomer. By having them meet at a park or other neutral location you will help to prevent territorial aggression or jealousy.

Welcome home!

Before you actually bring your new dog home, make sure that he has some space of his own to go to-like a crate or exercise pen. This will give him a space to escape to if he is overwhelmed by the new environment. Make sure that he has a place to safely eat and enjoy a bone. You can often avoid fights over food and toys if you allow the newcomer to adjust to adjust to the household without having to defend himself.

Remove anything and everything that the dogs may fight over. Even if your dog has never protected his toy or food bowl, he may once a new dog enters the house. Only allow toys during supervised play periods and watch all interactions carefully to ensure that playtime isn’t turning into something more serious.

Once the new dog comes home, keep your routine as consistent as possible. The new dog may take up a lot of your time but don’t neglect the needs of your original dog. Make sure that your dog still gets time alone with you as he adjusts to his new family member.

Both dogs should be getting plenty of exercise and a high quality diet to help combat any stress caused by the new environment.

Leadership

As a leader, it is your job to ensure that the new dogs behave properly but don’t be overly protective. Preventing dogs from properly subordinating a juvenile or new dog can lead to problems down the road. These interactions should be quick and harmless-normally consisting of a few barks or a quick growl. However, one dog should never be allow to harass or terrorize the other dog! Use your leadership to enforce the rules, and chances are good that your new pack will be a happy one.