Try these tips to help a new dog settle into your home and bond with your dog.
- Try to introduce the dogs’ smells to each other before actually meeting – let them sniff each others’ bedding, for example.
- Make sure both dogs are well fed, as this will help them relax. Ideally, both should have had a really good breakfast in the morning, a couple of hours to digest and then another small but tasty meal 30-40 minutes before the introduction.
- Introduce the two dogs on the lead on neutral territory. Perhaps take them for a long walk together in a park where your dog does not normally go.
- Don’t force them to interact. Let them ignore each other if that’s what they want. They may show more interest after a short weighing-up period.
- If one of them immediately tries to attack for no apparent reason, separate them and try again later in the day in a different location. If a dog is injured, you will need to proceed with extreme caution and consider it may be best not to continue.
- In the home, make sure you remove any items that they might fight over before bringing them into the house. Provide them with their own bedding, which may be separated in different rooms, until you know that they are getting on well.
- Keep everything very low key and try not to give one more attention than the other. Don’t get involved in any small fights as they need to sort themselves out and it is usually just a lot of noise and teeth gnashing. Of course, you must step in if fights start to become severe enough to cause injury. Be very careful you don’t get bitten in the process. Keep leads on them if this is likely, so that you can pull them apart without getting too close.
- If fights happen over who gets to sit on the sofa or bed for a cuddle, don’t let either of them up. Always try to avoid situations that may trigger fights.
- Remember that there is always a period of adjustment when a new dog becomes part of the family and there may be the odd small scuffle, which you must try to ignore, but these should decrease over time.
- Until you can be sure that they get along fine, do not feed them in the same room, try not to leave them alone together and make sure that you remove anything that they may fight over.
Most dogs really benefit from having a canine companion and it can make a really big positive difference to their quality of life.