Shopping for, finding and bringing home your first dog is probably one of the most fun things that adulthood entails. Buying your second pet, well, it’s awesome too, but getting your new furry friend and your original acquainted…that can be quite a challenge.
Dogs are territorial by nature. The last thing you would want to do is drive your oldie but goodie out of the house because it feels threatened, or drive the newbie under the bed because it gets scared. Although there’s no foolproof way to ensure a Hollywood-approved encounter and there’s no definite say whether your two pups will immediately hit it off and run into the sunset, there are things you can do to make the grand introduction as drama-free as possible.
Make Sure You’re Getting the Right Dog
OK, this is important. You wouldn’t want to pair apple strudel with Swiss cheese, would you? Probably not. These two foods don’t complement each other. When picking a dog, always remember your pup back home. If it’s very happy-go-lucky, energetic and playful, get an equally upbeat dog, and vise versa. An older, more laidback dog should be paired with one that will compliment that personality. If you pick out a dog that you know the one back home won’t approve of, you’re going to have two clashing characters and one messy situation.
Take Them to a Neutral Location
Before you even think of taking your new pet home, set up a meeting spot for the two dogs. Intro-ducing them at a location away from home, such as a park, decreases the over-protectiveness of your old dog toward his turf. You can even take your dog with you when you go to pick up your new one. This way, they both see that they are part of the same pack immediately.
Show the Love
Introduce your new dog to your resident dog by holding him in your arms, crouching down to dog-level, and keeping the new puppy close to your chest. If your dog sees you lovingly holding your new pup close to you, he will realize that the new arrival is a part of the family and you will be protective over him. Giving the new pup the same love and care you give the old one will make him understand that you will not tolerate any shenanigans.
Let Them Be
It can be a nerve-wracking experience, but eventually you will have to simply allow the dogs to be dogs. Your new puppy will probably want to jump all over your resident dog, exploring him from tail to muzzle. In response, your dog will probably get annoyed and may snap and growl. This is normal. Make sure not to intervene unless you see actual, dangerous aggression. This is their way of getting comfortable with each other and the older dog’s way of teaching the new pup its manners to live among him.
Bringing home a new dog can be as much of an anxious experience as it is wonderful. Dogs are extremely protective over their home and the people in it. But if you follow these guidelines and stay calm, loving and patient, you can integrate a new pet into your home, giving your dear old dog a best friend for life.