When One Dog Just Isn’t Enough: Bringing a Second Dog Into the Home
No matter how experienced you are with dogs, and no matter how well-mannered your current pet is, introducing a second dog into the home can be a sensitive matter. Of course, we’re not advocating against having more than one dog in your family. On the contrary, if you have the time and space, two (or even more) dogs can provide great companionship for each other and enrich your life even more. In another blog post, we went over some of the things to consider before you make the choice to bring a new dog into home. If you’ve already made that important decision, there’s just as much to consider when it comes to how to bring your new friend into the home.
If you live alone, it’s important to recruit someone to help you out on the day of introduction so you can have one person managing and handling each dog. Dogs are territorial and new meetings can be testy, so safety is important. But just as importantly is making sure both dogs are on equal footing. One dog loose and off leash and another controlled by you can lead to stress and anxiety and isn’t the right way to introduce dogs to each other.
Speaking of introducing dogs, it’s actually probably best that you choose a neutral location for the initial meeting. While your home may seem like the most comfortable place for a new meeting, remember that your current dog sees that as his/her home too. A situation like this can lead to territorial disputes that can best be avoided by having your two new friends meet in a place that doesn’t hold so much meaning. If you have a park or yard within walking distance of your home, that might be the ideal location.
Once you finally have the right setting, you’ll want to briefly introduce the two new dogs to each other. Let them approach each other and meet quickly. This might look a lot like when you meet a dog on the street while going for a walk. The important thing here is that you don’t want any escalation of activity between the two. There’s no question there will be a lot of excitement in the air, and that can quickly descent into aggressive action. It’s a great idea to have treats around to give out for good behavior in between these short little meeting sessions as well. This is why it's important to have the emotional support animal on a support leash.
Finally, it’s time to bring your two new friends home together. Start off by taking them for a walk around the block before you go into the home. Then, while still on leash, lead them calmly into your home and see how they do. Some introductions take longer than others, but if things have gone well so far, you can try taking them off leash and keep a close eye on how they do together. It may seem difficult at first, but just like with any friendship, things can take some time. Before you know it, the three of you will settle into a groove and your home will be that much richer.