23 Sep 2014
A few words about how to introduce a new dog at our home. The situation gets a bit more complicated when we already have a dog at home If we have this opportunity and another dog is our conscious decision and not a coincidence (e.g. a dog found somewhere during our holiday or adopted), we’d better consult a specialist and choose such a dog that will match the temper of the dog that already lives with us.
One of the common solution is choosing a dog of the opposite sex, however, sometimes it may not be enough. It’s always better to choose well-balanced dogs, but this may not always be possible. If we already have a nervous, dominant or fearful dog, and we choose a similar one, we may expect a lot of trouble. It’s advisable to choose a calm dog if we have a nervous one, and a compliant one (do not confuse with fearful) for a dominant one.
For a well-balanced dog a newcomer even with some issues may not pose any threat.
There’s a number of puppy personality tests which often vary only in certain details. There are tests aimed at 6- or 7-week-old pups (I prefer doing tests at this age), pups up to 5 months of age and older ones, too. The older a dog is, the more difficult it is to assess its temper at first glance and distinguish between its genetic predisposition and acquired behaviour.
In this case experience may be more useful that certain patterns from books.
Dogs shouldn’t get to know each other at home, especially during feeding time. One of the best ways is to take both of them for a long and exhausting walk so that they can have a chance to meet each other in the most convenient way (body posture, position, letting the other dog smell them). Physical activity helps to release tension and walking together creates the right atmosphere for getting to know a new friend.
Right after the walk, a new dog shouldn’t look around the whole flat. They should be provided with their own bed, bowl with water and food given at regular times in the same place. The bed should be from the beginning associated with safety, shelter and place for relaxation.
In case of separation anxiety, nervousness or messing, a kennel crate may come in handy. The dog is gradually getting used to it and begins to create only positive associations with it. As a result, they will always look for shelter and rest there. It is not allowed to lock dogs inside the kennel crate as a form of punishment.
After two days of getting accustomed to the bed, we may show the dog around the house as if we were showing the flat to another person, that is calmly but without allowing the dog to jump on our bed etc.
If we have more dogs at home, it’s better not to create nervous atmosphere during feeding. We often tend to let dogs wait at the bowl full of food, which is not always good. We may introduce such methods, but as soon as the dog relaxes, we should give them the food. If the dog its too fast and starts to swallow the food, we may interrupt them and repeat the process all over again. It’s a good idea to feed both dogs at the same time to control their behaviour or possessiveness.
I have two dogs at home: Rocky (rottweiler) with a positive attitude towards other dogs and Wafel (Pit Bull) with strong and stable psyche. It would be very unreasonable to introduce a new dog without being able to control dogs’ behaviour. My friends often visit me, I organise residential trainings during which a dog stays at my place together with my dogs 24/7. If I didn’t apply all the suggestions mentioned above myself, I could be in trouble
Start educating your dog from day one!
Thanks for reading the article and let me wish you a lot of successes when it comes to working with your dogs.