We’ve been entertaining the idea of getting a third dog. Since our beloved Shepherd-Husky died, life in the house has a little hole in it. The hole is big enough for another dog, but I’m not sure how Willie and Suzie will handle the addition. They have been the kings of the house and are sometimes feisty when other dogs come to visit. I’ve researched some tips to getting that third dog.
How to Introduce a New Dog to the Pack
Dogs form their own society with you and with each other. Status within the group changes as dogs mature and age. This “dominance hierarchy” establishes order and promotes cooperation among members, who soon learn their place in the canine order.
Here are actions you can take to help a newcomer transition smoothly into its new pack.
- Introduce the dogs one at a time, so that the pack doesn’t gang up on the newcomer.
- Introduce the dogs on neutral territory that’s unfamiliar to all members of the pack, like a neighbor’s yard. That way, the dogs will be less likely to view each other as territorial intruders.
- Keep each dog on a leash with a separate handler during introductions. If a ruckus erupts, handlers can separate the dogs, let them cool off, and try again.
- Use a calm, happy voice when introducing dogs for the first time. Let them briefly sniff each other, then issue an easy command like sit, and reward their attentive compliance with a treat. Do that often during the first visit, so the dogs begin associating the new pack member with pleasant things.
- Beware of aggressive body posture. If one of the dogs bares teeth, growls or stares for long time, then bad things are likely to happen. Interrupt the negative energy immediately by distracting the dogs with commands followed by treats. Then, try again, but for a shorter time.