|Photo from @MarkyDoggett with his new & existing dog|
We've gone through our fair share of dog introductions during our time, a situation which can cause a few teething problems. Fortunately for us our pet dog Taylor is absolutely golden with other dogs, in fact I could bring 99% of any dogs into my house without Taylor causing a problem. We're also extremely lucky in that we've been able to practise introductions lots & lots of times. However, for people getting an additional dog it's not so easy & very often it'll be the first time they've ever had to do it. They get one shot to get it right, so there's lots of pressure attached to bringing a new dog into the home.
|Amazing what a bit of time can do from @MarkyDoggett|
Doing what we do means we have dogs & puppies coming & going regularly, so Taylor has just got used to new dogs popping up & disappearing. As I said, I don't think you'd find a better dog than Taylor for accepting a whole host of other dogs into his home (I know I might be a little biased!)
That said, we always do whatever we can to make the introduction as smooth as possible. It's a massive thing for a dog to have to welcome a fellow four legged friend into their house, along with the natural competition for attention that goes with it - especially when you're bringing in a demanding 6 week old puppy.
|Is this one hanging around?? Taylor meet PD Arragon|
We also do a lot of work with the handlers who have our puppies. Very often they will have their 'old' dog & will have to make sure the new dog gets along with their existing dog too.
Suffice to say we've had to introduce different dogs to each other on many occasions. Fortunately it's always seemed to work out . . . . . except for one of our pups - yes you've guessed it . . . . .PD 'Mad' Ozzy. Sadly he never managed to get on with his handler's pet dog. Sometimes, just like humans, the dogs just don't mix & get on with each other, however there are a few things which can make a really big difference when introducing two new dogs to each other.
I will give Ozzy his due though & in his defence he was bitten quite badly by a Spaniel when he was a baby which required a few stitches to his chin. Never underestimate the effect a bad experience can have on a puppy.
|Taylor meet PD 'Mad' Ozzy|
These are not the only ways nor is this Blog the "complete guide to introducing a new dog", however here's a few little hints & tips that have worked really well for us over the years.
I did a bit of Google research on the subject & saw one piece of advice . . .
"Take a piece of food in each hand. bring one dog into one hand, the other dog into the other hand & then slowly bring the 2 hands together & as such the 2 dogs together"
As they say . . . please do not try this at home. If there was ever a situation that could potentially end in disaster - it's this method - especially if you have a dog a little bit possessive over food!! One of the most common causes of problems with dogs at home is over food or toys. Even Taylor & the pups can sometimes have a little pop at each other if there's food involved!!
|Great care needs to be taken when food or toys are around|
I've also read 'help' which went something along the lines of "just throw the dogs in together & let them sort it out for themselves." WRONG - again please do not try this method under any circumstances. Once a dog has been attacked it's very, very difficult to get the dog over it 100%.
The first and most important thing, as with anything dog related, is time. It can take time for dogs to adjust & get used to anything - especially having to welcome a new dog into their home. Never, ever try & rush anything. Always try allow the dogs enough time & space to adjust to each other in their own time. It can take a matter of hours, days, weeks or months for dogs to finally come round to sharing their home with another dog. There is no definitive guide to the length of time it will take. So it's vitally important not to rush. You'll spend many years (hopefully) with your dogs together, so why rush?
|PD Arragon meet PD Cooper|
The process is pretty much the same whether you're introducing a puppy or an older dog. It's all about getting the dogs used to each others scent & them becoming acquainted.
If we're bringing a dog to our home we'd try & get some of their bedding. Just a little cut off that carries the other dog's scent. By bringing this home & putting into Taylor's crate it's getting him used to the scent of a different dog in his crate.
We'd also get a towel, rub the other dog with the towel - especially around the dog's back end - & then take it back & rub the towel around the neck of Taylor & also vica versa. Get the towel, rub Taylor & then rub the other dog.
As well as this cross contamination of scent, when we're handing our dog's over to a handler. We will go for a walk around a neutral field, let the dogs see each other - but not interact - at a distance. We slowly move the dogs together but still without interacting. Just so they can get the scent of each other. The dogs don't need to be right next to each other in order for the scent to drift across. It's always important not to let the dogs interact straight away - because any bad reaction could do some really serious damage to the process.
The key when walking together is to keep moving. Keep the dogs focus on the person walking.
Once the dogs have been for a walk, we'll very often put the dogs in the other dogs car crate. Again, cross contaminating the scent between dogs. For example when we introduced Bandit to Pace, we went for a walk then at the end of the walk I put Bandit in Pace's car crate, and Pace's handler put Pace into Bandit's car crate.
|PD Bandit was 5 months old when we got him|
Once they got used to each others company it's time to bring them home together. This is where things get interesting! The biggest thing I could ever recommend is a crate. Using a crate is an invaluable tool whether you've got one, two or 22 dogs. Each dog should have their own crate.
Being able to use a crate has enormous benefits. Again, you can swap the dogs between crates to mix their scent up & the crates obviously act as a 'time out' zone for the dogs when things get too much.
My views on Crate Training can be found here:-
Benefits of Crate Training
|Taylor & PD Sear didn't quite grasp the swapping of crates|
If there are any teething problems in the home, take things slowly. Keep rubbing the two dogs with a towel & keep putting them in each others crates. Try to give them as much space & distance between themselves as possible. Don't push them together.
There's a whole host of different things you can do to help make the transition easier. Hopefully this Blog gives you a quick couple of things which may help make the process a bit easier. I'd always say, if you are having serious problems don't panic, don't rush anything & if it's really difficult seek professional help.