If you've decided to bring a new doggie home, you're probably worried about how Rover at home is going to react. Though there's a chance he might resent your decision a bit -- this should only be temporarily. Introducing two adult dogs can be a challenge and you need to be careful to avoid an all-out war. Hopefully, the pooches will eventually become friends and have lots of fun together. However, it's up to you to make that happen.
Your first responsibility is to your current dog. After all, you don't want to put him in a situation he'll hate or be miserable in. If Rover is a quiet, old dog, don't bring home a hyper teenage dog who will drive him crazy. When adopting from a shelter, always find out the past history of the new dog. If he was abused or has a dominant character, this might create problems with your doggie back home. Is Rover a high-energy, always-running pooch? Then getting a companion with the same level of energy could be great -- they can play together and tire each other out.
Consider adopting a dog of the opposite sex if you have a choice, as dogs of the opposite gender tend to fight less with one another. Of course, mixing up a boy and a girl can have unwanted consequences, so make sure both dogs are sterilized before the initial meeting. The same goes for two dogs of the same sex even though they can't reproduce, as spaying and neutering can help counter any aggressive behavior, making introductions easier.
Learn Proper Introduction Techniques
Introducing two adult dogs is a bit more complicated than just letting both of them meet and run around in your yard or living room. If you want to avoid fights, the introduction should be a bit more "delicate" than that. For starters, make sure both dogs are on a leash the first time they meet. If you live alone, ask a friend to come around so she can hold the other dog. Allow the dogs to smell each other, but keep tight control of the leashes at all times. Even better, let the dogs meet outside your home, if possible. Even meeting on the sidewalk right in front of your house could be a good thing -- it's neutral territory, so your first dog won't feel the need to protect his turf.
For a while, make sure each dog has his own space. A "while" can be a week or a month, depending on how the original meeting goes and the personality of the two dogs involved. When you go out, put the dogs in separate rooms, so there's no chance of a fight breaking out in your absence. Don't leave food out for free-feeding, even when you're in the house. Instead, feed the two dogs separately -- in different corners of the kitchen or even in different rooms -- to avoid any problems.
By Tammy Dray
About the Author
Tammy Dray has been writing since 1996. She specializes in health, wellness and travel topics and has credits in various publications including Woman's Day, Marie Claire, Adirondack Life and Self. She is also a seasoned independent traveler and a certified personal trainer and nutrition consultant. Dray is pursuing a criminal justice degree at Penn Foster College.