Dogs are pack animals with a dominance hierarchy. One dog leads and the others fall in rank behind him. If you’re introducing a new puppy to your dog or other pets, he’ll need to find his place in the pack and you can help him out.

The Introduction

The Introduction

It is best to prepare for the introduction with a barrier such as a crate to be used in the initial introduction process.

When you arrive home, allow your puppy to first go to the toilet in front of the house. Bring the puppy inside in the crate and place in the middle of a room allowing your existing dog to sniff and bark at the new addition. Leave the puppy in the crate until the existing dog has lost interest (usually takes no longer than half an hour), then take the crate outside and open it for the dogs to meet face to face.

When the dogs meet face to face, one of them is going to establish dominance. This is a normal and necessary step in a dog-dog relationship. The dogs will maneuverer 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. A scuffle is a dog trash-talk argument and are brief. 

Once the dogs are playing well together you can bring them inside and keep an eye on the dogs by watching their body language. Do not leave the dogs alone together for the first few hours until you are sure they are confinable with each other.


Keeping Order

Keeping Order

Although the dogs must develop their own social order, they must remember that you are still in charge. This means being fair on reprimands as well as affection. Any misbehaviour, regardless of who started it, must be handled equally (and with consistency). When play gets too rough, all must be separated until calm is restored.

For the first few weeks, keep an eye on the dogs in situations that might trigger aggression, such as when you come home, when guests come over, going out to the backyard, preparing to go for a walk, mealtime (theirs and yours), and playtime. It is very important that you spend time with each dog alone so that the resident dog continues to receive one-on-one attention and the new dog develops a bond with you.

Reward your existing dog for her calm behaviour in the puppy’s presence. Never physically punish her for reacting with a growl or snap. As long as she doesn’t actually harm the puppy, she should be allowed to set boundaries by growling and even snapping. If she doesn’t correct the puppy for rude behaviour, you have to step in and correct the puppy with a stern “no.”


How to Tell if Your Dogs Play Well Together

How to Tell if Your Dogs Play Well Together

Good dog-dog play can involve chase, wrestling, or tug over a stick, but in all cases you’re looking for more of that loose, wiggly movement. In healthy play, you’ll see the dogs switch off–they’ll take turns chasing each other or being on top.  Big dogs with good social skills may handicap themselves by lying down when they play with smaller dogs.  If one dog’s tail is tucked or he avoids the other dog, he’s not having fun.


Positive Reinforcement

Positive Reinforcement

Reward your existing dog for her calm behaviour in the puppy’s presence.  Never physically punish her for reacting with a growl or snap.  As long as she doesn’t actually harm the puppy, she should be allowed to set boundaries by growling and even snapping.  If she doesn’t correct the puppy for rude behaviour, you have to step in and correct the puppy with a stern “no.”

Don’t forget to:

For the first few weeks, keep an eye on the dogs in situations that might trigger aggression, such as when you come home, when guests come over, going out to the yard, coming in from the yard, preparing to go for a walk, mealtime (theirs and yours), and playtime.

It is very important that you spend time with each dog alone so that the resident dog continues to receive one-on-one attention and the new dog develops a bond with you.

What not to do: 

Do not hold the puppy in your arms for the existing dog to greet. This may cause the puppy to feel trapped and threatened. Instead, stand with your feet slightly apart so the puppy can take refuge between your feet if he feels overwhelmed. Do not permit the older dog to trample, bowl over, or otherwise intimidate the puppy. 

Do not put the dogs in small spaces together, such as a car, crate or small room, before they are completely comfortable with each other.