If you’ve been thinking about bringing home a new dog, you’ll need to know how to make two dogs get along. With the proper training, your current dog and the new family member can become friends. You can help by following our tips. We’re going to be teaching you the proper way to move things along quickly so your pets can cohabitate in peace.
How to Make Two Dogs Get Along
When you make the decision to expand your family, you’ll want to ease your current pet into the change. It’s a big no-no to bring a new pet home without first letting your pets get acquainted. Dogs are territorial of their home, and their owners.
If you bring a strange dog into their territory, they might become aggressive. You want your existing pet to accept the new member into their pack. It’s up to you, as the leader of this pack, to help both dogs learn to live together.
Follow these Steps to Help your Two Dogs Get Along
Before you bring your new puppy home, set up a meeting on neutral ground. Pick a family member that is familiar with your current pet to help you with the first meeting. You want to choose a place that your dog doesn’t see as his property.
Avoid the park where you go for your walks or your own yard. Instead, pick a dog park where you’ve never gone. Or you could use your neighbor’s fenced in yard. The location for your meeting isn’t that important, as long as it’s not a place your first pet will feel protective over.
When it’s time for your first meeting, have them arrive separately. Keep both pets on a sturdy leash so that you have control in case things don’t go well. You should handle your own pet since she’s already used to taking commands from you, while your assistant handles the new addition.
While your dogs are restrained, you’ll be able to safely let them interact together. Never let your pets meet for the first time without both of them being on leashes. It’s harder to keep control of them if they have a free range of movement.
Let Your Two Dogs Interact
While you have both dogs on their leashes, let them interact with each other. They might sniff or walk around each other. These are good signs. Talk to both dogs in a soothing manner, praising them for being nice to each other.
After a few minutes of sniffing each other, make them sit apart. If your new pet is a puppy, he might not understand commands like sit or stay so use your older dog to demonstrate the desired behavior. Get your partner to try getting his half of the duo to do the same actions. If not, it’s not that big a deal. He’ll learn later on as you continue training.
Once you’ve gotten them to stay apart for a few minutes, let them get back together again. Repeat this process a few times until they seem well adjusted to each other. Once they’re getting along, take them on a walk. Keep them separated with your bodies but allow them to walk together ahead of you if they’re getting along.
If at any time, you notice either of your dogs displaying symptoms of aggression like hair standing up on their neck and back, baring of teeth, lowered head, deep growls, stiff walk, shaking, or a prolonged stare, separate both dogs immediately. Forcing them to continue interacting can lead to a fight.
Bring The Two Dogs Home
Now that your dogs have gotten used to each other, it’s time to bring them home. The way that you enter your house can be tricky. Some experts recommend letting your current dog go in first and then letting the new puppy follow behind. Others say that you should bring both dogs through the door at the same time so there is no dominance issue.
Bringing them inside together seems like the safest option as it’s not putting either dog first. While your pets are adjusting to their new roles, it’s important to distribute your attention equally between both dogs. Although your new puppy will require a lot of attention, you need to make sure that you also show equal affection towards your prior family member.
If your pet starts to feel neglected for the younger pet, he can become resentful of the new family member. You might notice him acting aggressive or intolerant of the baby. Or he might start acting out behaviorally. Male dogs are especially bad about marking their territory when a new pet comes into the house.
When To Keep Your Pets Apart?
You want to give your dogs ample time to play together. But there are times when you’ll need to separate them. As your new puppy is investigating his new home, keep a close watch on his big sister. If she tries to stop your pup from moving around or touching anything, you might have to separate them temporarily while the new dog gets a feel of the house.
It’s also a good idea to separate them while they’re eating. Older dogs can have short tempers which can blow up if a strange dog gets into their food bowl. You can either feed them at separate times and keep one dog outside or in the crate while the other eats, or you can feed them at the same time in separate crates.
When you first bring a new dog into the house, you want to make sure to give your pets plenty of supervised interaction. However, you should not leave them unattended until they’ve had enough time to adjust to each other.
Younger Dogs Might Be Hard to Get Along With
Older dogs aren’t as energetic as puppies and it can often cause a conflict. If your senior dog uses low growls or barks towards your new pup, don’t panic. These signs are considered normal behavior. Your older dog is trying to establish boundaries.
If the new pup is too energetic, you can give him extra time outside to work off his energy. Or give him extra play time with you or another family member. But remember to give both dogs the same amount of attention and affection so there isn’t any resentment from your firstborn.
It’s Important for Your Dogs to Get Along
For the sake of your happy home, it’s important that your pets get along. The last thing you would want is for one of your dogs to become aggressive towards the other dog – or worse. Following these steps will ease the transition of adding a new member to your family dynamic. Now, you know how to make two dogs get along.
Kassidy Shepperd is the editor in chief for Canine-Prime.com. She is is a dog lover/trainer, a freelance writer and a volunteer at many pet rescue and shelter centers. Kassidy is based in Colorado and regularly writes for dog related magazines and blogs.