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How to Introduce Dogs to Each Other

Dog Training Programs Help With Socialization When Introducing a Second Dog

Dog TrainingBy nature, dogs are both inquisitive and territorial.  In the puppy stage, their snooping can be amusing to both the dog and its owners – and at times perhaps not-so-cute too. Then the dog quickly settles into its new home/surroundings and may often demonstrate its protective instincts by barking at the doorbell, at a cat that wanders into the yard, or at another dog that is simply walking by the home.

Many of these types of behaviours can be curtailed or controlled through a dog training or dog obedience school program.  But what about those instances when a second dog is introduced into the home many months or even years after the current dog has been, in a manner of speaking, the only canine on campus?

Although the most common reason for getting a second dog is to provide companionship and a playmate for the resident dog, it is important to recognize that there could/will be a degree of jealousy and/or resentment during the initial co-habitation period.  While the relationship will likely develop amenably and compatibly over time, the introduction and training of a second dog should be done with a good amount of attention and patience.

Before introducing the second dog to the resident dog, the owner-family should consider these key questions:

  • Researching various breeds – will the pairing be more compatible or antagonistic?
  • Spaying/neutering – are actions needed to avoid conflict between unaltered dogs?
  • Obedience school – past/future plans to expose either dog to formal training?

When the time arrives to physically bring the dogs together in the home, adhering to the following actions or steps is recommended:

  • Leave the resident dog at home while picking up the second dog or puppy
  • Introduce the dogs in a neutral location – a park or a neighbour’s property
  • For the introduction, the dogs should be handled by different family members
  • Both dogs should be on leashes but allowed to move about freely/unrestrained
  • Always use positive reinforcement (praise and treats) and an encouraging tone
  • Do not force the dogs to meet/socialize – let this happen at their own discretion
  • The first interaction (or sniff) should be brief – then separate and praise/reward
  • Allow for repeated interactions – when tolerance is apparent, walk them home

If one or both of the dogs show any aggression toward the other during this introduction, it is advisable to move them apart or separate them, firmly but without physical force or verbal anger, and to give them independent attention – this is one reason for dedicating a specific handler to each dog for their first meeting.

Some of the signs of such aggression would include the following:

  • Hair standing up on a dog’s back
  • Prolonged staring (trance-like)
  • Deep or guttural growls
  • Salivating/baring teeth
  • A slow, stiff/stilted gait

If the resident dog has participated in an obedience program in the past, this would be a good time to reinforce that training with the dog by revisiting some basic commands before attempting to introduce the two dogs again.

From a socialization perspective and a corresponding lack of aggressive behaviour, with each other and any other dog they will likely encounter throughout their lives, it will be beneficial to enroll both of the dogs in formal training or obedience programs as soon as possible after their respective arrivals in the home.  Such programs are available from the dog training professionals at Alpha Paws in Newmarket.

In-Home Assessments of Dog Obedience or Aggression Control Training Needs

Whether you are facing challenges in introducing a second dog into your home or having obedience or behavioural issues with your current dog, the specialists at Alpha Paws can recommend/design a training program to specifically address your needs/concerns.

There are several benefits to working with Alpha Paws for all your dog training needs:

  • All programs are delivered as private sessions – specific to your dog(s) only
  • Training begins with an in-home consultation – in the dog’s own environment
  • Onsite obedience programs include daily drop-off/pick-up
  • Dog owners are provided with a series of five post-training follow-up lessons

For more information on the in-home assessment and dog training programs offered by the Alpha Paws team, click here

Are you experiencing frustration in trying to train your dogs to get along?  Are your dogs exhibiting signs of aggressive behaviour either between themselves or with another dog or dogs in your neighbourhood?  Call the training professionals at Alpha Paws today at 905-830-9500 or toll-free at 1-877-868-PAWS (7297) to discuss the best option for dog obedience or aggression control training for your dogs.

One Response(s) for “How to Introduce Dogs to Each Other

  • Erikka Verma says:

    Its The Vermas, Athenas parents. We have been working with Athena and she is amazing. We have seemed to iron out the wrinkles and continue to work with her. As we discussed, we have our second puupy arriving and we are doing as you suggested having you over to teach some good strategies to ensure a smooth transition.
    Is there a time in the evening or weekend in the next few weeks you could make it down?

    Many Thanks,

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