Introducing a New Dog to Your Current Dog
There are some tactics for general dog introductions that serve well for dogs of all ages! Here are our favorite ways to introduce puppers together and reduce agitation on all sides.
Scent Swapping Before Meeting
One of the first things a dog wants to do when meeting another dog is to smell them! Animals can learn so much from scent alone, and can even turn against an animal they know if their scent has recently changed or been masked.
Before introducing your new dog to your current dog face-to-face, consider doing a scent swap. To do so, you’ll take an item from each dog and swap them so that each dog can smell the other dog’s scent.
You can do this before you take the new dog home for the first time if the shelter you’re adopting from allows a few days between the adoption agreement and take-home day.
Scent swapping also works when introducing both dogs and cats! This method serves to expose your pets to each other’s smells and let their surprise of a new animal settle in slowly.
Definitely more preferred than getting hit with new smells and a physical body at the same time!
Neutral Meeting Area
One large benefit to introducing dogs over cats is that dogs are more easily able to travel and move around! Every dog needs a walk at least once a day (more like three times on an easy day!)
Instead of bringing your new dog directly home to your house, where your dog is territorial, consider first introducing them at a dog park or a friend’s house.
You’ll definitely need a friend to help with this, as you’ll want to keep both dogs leashed to make sure that they can be pulled away from each other if need be.
While a dog park may be the only option here, using a friend’s house (or maybe a room in your house that the original dog doesn’t have normal access to) will allow you more flexibility in giving both dogs slack in their leashes.
This can help reduce tensions while still allowing you and your friend the ability to grab the leashes quickly if need be.
Other than that, there isn’t much to do except watch them interact! Watch for signs of aggression or mismatched energy.
While one dog, looking unhappy, isn’t always a sign of upcoming aggression, you can typically see tension building slowly in one party after a while.
When this happens, divert their attention away from the other dog with the offer for a walk.
Walking together is a great way to have them associate good things with each other’s presence while also exiting a potentially high-tension situation.
Senior Dogs and New Puppies
While all the above concerning introducing two pets applies to senior and younger dogs as well, there are some specifics in having older dogs to keep in mind.
We wish we could stay young forever with our dogs, too, and thankfully it seems like dog lifespans are lengthening in parallel with the human lifespan.
Our older dogs are ones to be treasured even when new dogs are being introduced! Here are some things to keep in mind.
Identifying Aggression vs. Correction
One of the hardest parts in introducing a new pet is reading the language of your original pet’s actions. When it comes to a younger pet being introduced to a senior dog already at home, this can become especially difficult given your older dog’s temperament.
While dogs in similar age brackets may be more prone to compromise on a play style, older dogs are more likely to have their personalities, likes, and dislikes already decided. Maybe they just will never quite love how your new dog zooms across the room at 1:57 a.m.!
Unfortunately, this can make your life a little harder than you’ll have to identify if a swat of the paw or small bite from a senior dog means trouble for your new dog friend or if it’s a simple act of playing.
If possible, try to revisit how your current, older dog plays with all kinds of toys before your new dog comes home. Do they bite their favorite toy semi-aggressively?
Do they chase after fast-moving balls or prefer to sit and be sedentary? Your older dog is more likely to continue its current play style on newer dogs and toys.
If you see a typically sedentary dog suddenly become active in a strangely biting way, this could mean trouble for your younger furry friend.
Monitor their moves and attitude to identify areas best left alone vs. ones that need intervention.
Older Dogs May Adjust Faster
Older, senior dogs can actually serve for faster, easier introductions compared to younger dogs depending on their temperament.
Their consistent personality prepares you to identify sudden aggression, but also allows you to prep ahead of time for an easier transition of a new pup.
Unlike bringing home a young dog to another younger dog, you will know ahead of time that your older dog is unlikely to change drastically from added socialization.
Have their favorite type of bedding material on-hand and make sure your older pet has access to their favorite hideaway spot.
Introduce your new puppy to a relaxing pet-free scent that your original dog enjoys before letting them meet.
Your familiarity with your elderly dog and their set attitude will allow for quick, painless introductions in most cases.
New Puppy Introductions to Senior Dogs
No matter the methods you used to introduce a new puppy to a senior dog, the most vital step is to keep in mind each dog’s personality (however much you know) and read their body language.
It is perfectly normal for dogs to sniff each other’s behinds in greeting and playfully lick each other, but it could take a few days or weeks for them to become best buds.
Now that you have more than one furry friend at home, give our blog a further read for ways to live a dog-filled life keeping their health, safety, and happiness in mind.