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Introducing dogs. —

Entries Tagged 'Introducing dogs.' ↓

Introducing dogs

Guide to introducing your new dog into your current dog family.

Be pack leader to your dog/dogs. The first step to introducing your new dog into your current dog family is to understand what it means to live in a pack and to make sure you are the pack leader of that pack. If you are the current pack leader of your dog pack then you will have the ability to stop the stages leading up to aggression should they occur among the dogs. You should be leader to both your current dog and your new dog before you begin the introduction. Read the article “Being Pack Leader” to learn more at

Tight collars can cause aggression. It is important to note that any time your dog is greeting another dog you should have their leash and collar loose. Having a tight collar can actually cause aggression in dogs. Using a Gentle Leader Head Collar or body harness can be a great solution.

Be Calm. You need to be calm during all the introductions. If you feel nervous or anxious then the dogs will pick up on that feeling and it will not be good. It is really important that you feel calm during this process.

Introduce them on a neutral territory walk. If you are sure you are pack leader to your current dogs then you can begin to introduce them. One of the best ways for dogs to initially meet is NOT face to face but on a walk. The walk you take should be a walk in a new territory that your current dog has never gone on. A new walk is neutral territory and will be filled with new and interesting smells. So you’ll need another person to help you with this so you walk your current dog and your partner walks your new dog. You can walk next to each other so that they are accustomed to each other’s smells but keep moving so they are too busy walking to do anything else.

Use a Crate at home. At home, you can put the new dog into a crate and allow your current dog to sniff it. If you are not familiar with how to crate a dog go to for more info. If your current dog shows signs of growling or other aggressive moves you need to step in as their leader and let them know it is not acceptable. To do this, have your current dog on leash with the leash dragging so that you may step in and get a hold of the leash to correct your dog for exhibiting signs of aggression. When the dogs are able to turn their attention off of each other and relax you may be able to introduce them in person without the crate.

Do not pet a dog showing signs of aggression. If a dog is showing signs of aggression; growling, barking, etc and we pet them because we think this can calm them, what we are actually doing is telling our dog they are good for being aggressive. Only pet or show praise towards your dog when they are calm and acting in a way you like.

Take your time. Introducing dogs to each other within the home can take time. Every situation is different. Don’t rush it. If you feel calm and ready and your dogs have been able to be relaxed near each other on the walk and with the crate then go ahead and begin the next step of the introduction. If you have a concern about the introduction there is nothing wrong with muzzling your dogs to be safer.

Familiarize yourself with dog body language. When you do decide to introduce your dogs fully then you should first understand what a good greeting looks like and what the steps towards aggression look like. A good greeting is when two dogs meet by coming to each other in an arc, not a straight line, then they move to smell each other first in the area to the side of their mouth then on to their genitals. Then they continue to move without any long pausing or freezing (no movement at all). If a dog puts its muzzle over another dog’s shoulder and postures itself into a higher position then this is a sign the dog is showing dominance over the other dog and the pack leader (you) should step in and separate them. If the dogs continue to smell each other and do movements without long freezes that is a good sign.

Observe. If your dogs are doing well together continue to observe for a period of time before leaving them alone.

Julie Bjelland Lokhandwala is the founder of webDogTrainer, LLC and has created the Online Dog Training Guide and Consultation: