It's important for dogs to have a calm, slow, non-threatening initial meeting, otherwise it can set the tone for their relationship. Read our tips for introducing two dogs.
1. Begin by letting both dogs get to know each other slowly and carefully on a leash in a neutral territory
Putting two dogs together in the back yard and letting them work it out can lead to serious injury or fatalities, if the introduction fails. Begin by meeting on neutral territory like a neighbour’s yard, a training center, or a tennis court or a fenced oval. Have both dogs on-leash. Take the dogs for a walk together, keeping 2 metres between them so that they can't greet each other or stare. The idea is to acclimate them to each other’s presence without causing tension.
2. Next, have the dogs meet with leashes dragging
Keep this meeting on neutral territory. Avoid problem areas like gates, doorways, or closely confined space: The more room they have to move, the less tension there will be. Wait two minutes while they sniff each other, then call them away. If they start to play and it seems to be going well, let them play for a few minutes and then end the session. End each initial session on a good note!
3. Bring them to your Backyard at home, then bring the guest pet indoors.
First in the yard, then inside the house. Before the in-house introduction, take the resident dog out to the yard, then bring your new or visiting guest dog inside. Bringing the guest dog inside to meet your resident dog can cause a negative reaction. Keep each interaction short and pleasant. If signs of tension arise, separate the dogs immediately and try again later. Remember that a hostile tense introduction will set the tone for their relationship, so it’s important to set everyone up for success and to feel relaxed and not threatened.
4. Keep the dogs in separate rooms or crates while you are away
This prevents the guest dog from developing behavior like chewing and housesoiling and also prevent fighting and injuries.
5. Work to prevent conflict
While dogs can settle minor disputes with each other (such as growling the other off of a toy or their own food bowl), they shouldn't be limiting each other’s access to you, your family or common areas of the home. In multi-dog households, there isn't usually a dominant dog or submissive dog. Instead, dogs' roles change depending on the context involved. For example, a dog that claims access to a favourite toy may let the other dog claim the couch. Reward polite behavior and manage the environment to prevent conflicts from developing.
6. Always remember feed dogs separately.
If a fight is to break out, it will most certainly break out over a bone or mince. So ensure that both pets each get their own bone.
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