How to Introduce a New Dog to Your Dog

How to help dog guests and new adoptees get off to a good start with your resident dog.

Jolanta Benal, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA
5-minute read
Episode #035

Problem # 2: Territory

You hold the title or the lease, sure, but the house belongs to Dogalini, too. Like people, dogs vary in how comfortably they can share their space. We might find it startling, at best, to come home and see our fun new hiking partner sitting at the kitchen table. But dogs often respond more calmly if they enter to find the newby already there.

You’ll need two people for this. If you have a yard, that’s usually a good place to start. One person should bring Newby into the yard on leash and let him poke around. Then the second person brings in the resident dog, also leashed. Since you’ve already introduced Dogalini and Newby and you know they get along, you can unclip the leashes as soon as you see they’re ready to greet each other in a friendly way. Greetings may be perfunctory if the two dogs have just been hiking or playing someplace else.

Next step – the great indoors.

Problem #3: Enclosed Space

After you’ve had the two dogs spend some time together outside, Newby should enter the house first and get plenty of time to look around and get comfortable. Wait for the running-around-madly-sniffing-everything phase to expire; then bring Newby, on leash, into the most spacious room. Now it’s Dogalini’s turn. Assuming the dogs have enjoyed each other’s company up to this point, just step aside and let them say hi. You can have them trail their leashes for a few minutes if you feel better knowing you can grab hold in an emergency. But your preparation has made that unlikely.

Leave as much air as you can around the dogs--nothing heightens tensions like a small crowded space, especially if any of the humans present are the nail-biting type. And try not to stress over a quick snark or three. As long as spats end in a hurry, nobody gets hurt, and tensions decrease as the hours and days go by, they aren’t cause for concern. As a bit of extra insurance, you can separate the dogs in your absence for the first few days. Some people make this precaution a habit if one dog’s much smaller than the other.


About the Author

Jolanta Benal, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA

Jolanta holds professional certifications in both training and behavior counseling and belongs to the Association of Professional Dog Trainers and the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. She also volunteered with Pet Help Partners, a program of the Humane Society of the United States that works to prevent pet relinquishment. Her approach is generally behaviorist (Pavlovian, Skinnerian and post-Skinnerian learning theory) with a big helping of ethology (animal behavior as observed in non-experimental settings).

The Quick and Dirty Tips Privacy Notice has been updated to explain how we use cookies, which you accept by continuing to use this website. To withdraw your consent, see Your Choices.