Tuesday, June 1, 2010

How To Introduce Two Dogs

Thinking about getting another dog? Let's talk about the right way to introduce two dogs.

1. Keep it friendly - It may be possible to introduce the dogs in a relaxed manner by just letting them sniff and play, as long as both are known to be friendly with other dogs.

2. Take it slow - If you are not sure how the dogs will react, start off cautiously by taking them for a walk together on neutral territory (e.g. a park, not your yard). When they show friendly behavior toward each other or begin to ignore each other, move the exercise to your back yard. Finally, allow the dogs to be together in your home.

3. Watch for signs - Be aware that wagging tails do not necessarily mean that dogs are happy to see each other. A straight up tail that wags stiffly is a dominant sign that may signal aggression. If one dog's tail is tucked down between its legs, that dog is afraid and nervous. This calls for a gradual, well-supervised approach to avoid making the dog even more fearful. If a dog's tail is horizontal and wagging in a relaxed fashion, it's all systems go!

4. The dominant dog will emerge - When the dogs eventually meet off-leash, one of them is going to need to establish dominance. This is a normal and necessary step in a dog-dog relationship, but sometimes the process can look and sound pretty scary. The dogs will maneuver around each other and may even scuffle to the point at which one dog ends up on his back, with the other dog standing over him. There may be some nipping and grabbing of the neck or throat. Try not to worry too much when this happens. It is normal for dogs to engage in such roughness. Once the dominant dog establishes himself, he probably will not feel the need to repeat these maneuvers.

5. Support the dominant dog - Once the dogs are together, make sure that you support one dog as dominant (this will probably be the resident dog). Show him that he is number one. He should be fed first, petted first, given attention first and given the favorite sleeping area. Do not expect the dogs to share. Sharing is not normal for most dogs. Feed the dogs separately (across the room) and do not give really delicious chew toys (rawhides, pig ears) at first. Once the hierarchy is secure, you will probably be able to give the dogs all the chew toys they want.

Introducing a new dog into the home can be a lot simpler when it is done correctly. Do not get upset when the resident dog tells the newcomer to "bug off." This is how the new dog learns the house rules. Eventually they should become fast friends.

If you are thinking of getting another dog - think about the related costs and make sure that you can afford it. Some people think it is just a matter of buying a little more food, but it is much more than that. Having a dog is a BIG responsibility and it can be very expensive. When you increase the number of dogs, you also increase your responsibilities and costs. At a minimum, a dog costs you between $600 to $1,000 or more each year. Costs increase if you board your dog or if your dog has medical problems - and as we all know, medical care can be very expensive.


    My friend has a serious medical situation and I have to keep his two year old male German Shepherd, the dog is basic obedience trained with a good temperament. Now, the problem is I have 4 noisy mini schnauzers who act like they are the Detla force! For extra fun we are expecting our second child next month! PLEASE give some guiding tips/directions/ or refer to an existing video, to help this beautiful German Shepherd and the Schnau's socialize.. SOS!!!! cannot thank enough. warm regards

  2. Hi,

    Thanks for stopping by and posting your comment.

    I hope readers will jump in with helpful suggestions, too. There must be more socialization ideas to be found with an internet search. Also, read up on the breeds of both German Shepherds and Schnauzers to learn more about their innate characteristics which may play out in the mix.

    I hope this has been helpful.


  3. I am introducing my pit bull to another dog, he is friendly in our home and to our children, should I take this meeting experience any diffrent?

  4. Thank for stopping by with your question. Dogs read our energy too......so, with that in mind be positive that this meeting will be friendly also.

  5. Hi Joanne,

    Your post made a great read. Thanks for your efforts. I want to ask you a questions, would really appreciate if you can answer.

    I have just bought a Black Pug male. I already have a male Great Dane, who is quite temperamental and ferocious, when it comes to introducing him to the new Dog. The Pug is quite a catalyst as well as whenever we try to introduce the two, he initiates the other Dog by barking etc. We somehow cannot keep the together and your help will be greatly appreciated. Kindly note that the Great dane is 9 years old and the Pug is 3 months. They are sometimes leashed in front of each other and they bark at each other sometimes. I am not confident if I should let them loose. I am sure the Great Dane will enjoy a tasty prey afterwards. Please help!

  6. Sounds like a challenging situation. Have you thought of trying a electronic training collar? They are safe and effective in deterring unwanted behaviors. This way you can control the interaction should it turn into a meal for the Great Dane ;)

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  7. I have a poodle/bichon frise mix who is somewhat agressive. He barks at EVERY person and every dog. He seems to bark more at bigger dogs but is sometimes ok with small dogs. I would like to introduce him to more dogs but he always lunges. I have him sit and stay and let the other dog(s) come to him. He barks and barks. Please help.

    1. Hi Karen,

      Sounds like you have been doing a good job trying to work with your dog. Wondering if you might be interested in trying an electronic training collar? You can teach your dog not to bark around other dogs as well as not to lunge. Here is an article which tells you how to use a dog training collar: http://www.trainingcollarsource.com/page/934686

  8. Hi I just got a 1 year old aussie/golden retriever mix she is great! My boyfriend already had a 10 month old cane corso mastiff here. They seemed fine when we introduced them but his dog gets very excited around new dogs so she wouldnt really leave her alone when lily was trying to check things out. They have not gotten into a fight but anytime his dog walks by her in the house she growls a little. Is this okay she also did it when his dog got near my son. Right now they are both laying on the same rug together fine I havent even had her a full 24 hours and I know one of them is going to assert dominance I just dont want my kids to get hurt in the process. She is an amazing dog any sound my kids make she is right there any tips. whats normal and whats not

  9. Hi,

    Sounds like you are doing a good job introducing the two dogs. At this stage your constant watch is most important. All dogs are different and what works for one may not work for another. Who knows what is normal?! Keep up the good work!

  10. Hi! My 4 yr old Sheppard/Retriever/Border Collie Mix (Moomoo) shared most of her life with an 8 yr old Cocker Shnauzer. Last year, I had to give up the Cocker Shnauzer and 2 weeks later Moo got attacked by my neighbors Shitzhu. Since that time, Moo cannot tolerate small dogs and shows extreme aggression. My best friend sits her and in that house there are 3 golden retrievers with no problems whatsoever. I used to let her run off leash in the dog park with other dogs but she has had 2 mild altercations so now I've stopped going. This hurts me because she so good with people, children, cats, and some other dogs. I really want to have her visit dog parks again. Is there hope?


  11. Hi Pammie,

    Yes, there is hope! Keep monitoring your dog around smaller dogs and give positive reinforcement. Your dog will pick and choose which dogs she wants to be around. Just like us humans when it comes to picking our friends.