Just introducing a new dog to your old dog changes the balance of power. Suddenly, your old dog (or dogs) have a new dog to contend with. And the new dog is likely to try and become the new favorite. For this reason how you go about introducing a new dog to your old dog is critical in the first few days.
Keep the Ranks When Introducing a New Dog
Immediately after introductions, the new dog is going to try to assert his position in the family (or pack). The new dog will always try to go ahead of your old dog. If he can reach you first, the new dog will show your old dog that he is top dog. But by introducing a new dog in a manner that keeps the current order, your old dog can retain his position in the pack. Therefore, never let the new dog go out the door or back into the house before your old dog. Give your old dog his plate of food first. Make it part of the introduction that your old dog gets to sleep on his doggie bed first. In short, introducing a new dog to your old dog requires you to focus on the old dog more.
Keep Property Rights When Introducing a New Dog
When introducing a new dog to your old dog, you are also introducing it to everything your old dog owns. His doggie bed, his toys, his chew sticks will suddenly become fair game for the new dog to usurp. Therefore, it’s important to introduce the new dog not only to your home and dog, but to your old dog’s property. Make it clear that your old dog’s favorite toy is his, and don’t let the new dog steal it. Introduce the new dog to one toy at a time, clearly assigning the right of ownership to your old dog. In short, introduce the new dog slowly. Don’t let him take over everything in a heartbeat.
You’re the Biggest Prize When Introducing a New Dog
Dominating you is the biggest prize for the new dog. If he can get you to pay attention to him alone, your old dog will automatically lose his place in the pack. However, when introducing a new dog into the pack you run the risk that not only your old dog will lose his place, but that you will too. The new dog will naturally try to become the first dog. Therefore, don’t let the new dog dominate your time. Share your attention with your old dog too. Don’t let the new dog stand on you or walk over you in bed. Don’t let the new dog out the door before you and your old dog. In short, how the pack is ordered in action will affect how your new dog feels about his place in the pack.
What to Do About Aggression when Introducing a New Dog
A gruel or a nip are a dog’s way of challenging another. When introducing a new dog to your old dog, the new dog may try to show signs of aggression to challenge your old dog’s place in the pack. Introductory signs of aggression can be subtle, like being too forceful in play, or pushing your old dog out of the way. The best way to deal with aggression when introducing a new dog is to make him lie down on his back, with his stomach exposed. This is the most vulnerable position for a dog. Be aware that it’s hard for the new dog to assume this position on introduction. But by making him submissive as a response to his aggression, you will allow your old dog to reassert himself. In addition, when the new dog is introducing himself by being aggressive, let your old dog set boundaries by barking, growling or nipping. The new dog is testing your old dog’s willingness to depend his position in the pack, and his right to that position.