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  • Writer's pictureMeileen Yee

How to Introduce A New Dog to Your First Dog

Just like humans, dogs differ in personality and interpersonal habits. Some are very social, while others are more reserved; some are very friendly, while others are territorial or domineering. While we, the humans, don’t have a problem getting along with our furry friends, sometimes adding another dog into the family can cause some tension. If you decide you want to get another dog and believe that your dog is capable of living with another dog, here are some things to consider for finding a good match for your current dog and how to introduce them.

Tips on Choosing a Compatible Dog

  • Look for one that matches your current dog's energy. If both have the same energy, they will be more likely to get along when playing. However, there are some exceptions: if your dog is nervous then it will benefit from having a confident and calm dog around, and if your dog is hyper then having another hyper dog around will probably create chaos.

  • Look for one that is similar in size. Although there's nothing cuter than a St. Bernard getting along with a Yorkie, try to avoid the extremes so that a small dog doesn’t get hurt by a big one.

  • Look for one close in age. Sometimes senior dogs don't jive well with puppies because of the difference in energy. Additionally, it's easier to start neglecting older dogs in this situation because of the attention that puppies need.

  • Consider your needs and the practicality of having dogs with different needs. For example, if your current dog has low maintenance fur, you might want to avoid a Shih Tzu that will need to go to the groomer more often.

How to Introduce the Dogs

  • Before bringing your new dog home, have them meet in a neutral place (i.e., somewhere your first dog hasn't claimed as its territory). The best place to do this would be outside at a park.

  • Pay attention to the dogs' body language. Look for signs of happiness, like a wagging tail, and signs of anxiety or fear, like shaking or walking away. If one of the dogs looks like they want the meeting to be over, don't force it to continue.

  • When you bring the dogs together at home for the first time, remove anything that could cause tension like toys, food, and beds.

  • Allow the new dog to sniff around and explore without the presence of your other dog first.

After Introducing the Dogs

  • If the two aren't getting along in the same space very well, try taking them on walks together. That way they can get used to each other in a more relaxed manner. (While walking parallel to each other, they won't be face to face).

  • Feed them in different places so that they can both finish their food without interference or conflict.

  • Give both dogs their own bowls, beds, toys, etc. to avoid problems of possession.

  • Make sure to spend quality time with both separately.

  • Keep an eye on the two whenever they are together for the first couple of months. Then determine if they get along well to be left alone together.

Some dogs become good friends right off the bat, whereas others may need time to get used to each other. Don’t worry if they don’t get along right away or even in a couple of days (unless they are hurting each other). Just remember these points to help them ease into their new lifestyles together! We hope this was helpful!


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All proceeds from Thousand Hills Pet Resort support New Life K9s. New Life K9s provides service dogs to veterans and first responders with PTSD at no cost to them.




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