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Introducing your new dog properly to your existing dog(s) is an important step in building a successful relationship.

1. Preparing for your new dog: 

Please remove all toys, balls, and bones, as well as any food dishes. The reason for this is to make sure there are no items that create guarding issues, leading to conflict. 

Next thing is to set up a space for your new dog to have an area of its own. A great area is the kitchen, away from food prep area. Exercise Pens (x-pen) give more freedom than a crate. However, you can use either. The the larger areas work well for the dog to observe their new environment and people while still feeling safe, and having room to move around.  It also allows all the dogs to safely watch each other when not being supervised. Its best to keep them in this area, and not have free reign of the house for the first 3 days, allowing them to decompress and learn your routine. This is also helpful if they have any accidents. A water dish and bed are also in this area. Feed your new dog in the x-pen, and when they are finished eating, remove the food dish. 

2. Initial Introduction: 

Introduce dogs in a neutral location, outside, with both dogs on a leash. This can be right in front of your home if its not a place your dog considers their property. The person holding the leash of the new dog should be the favorite person of the resident dog. This shows the resident dog his favorite person is ok with the new dog, and all humans should be talking very sweet and happy. If more than one dog is living in your home, introduce the more passive dog first. Overwhelming the new dog is what we want to avoid. It can cause the new dog to feel stressed and lead to a negative response right away. It is very important to watch body language, if all goes well you will see sniffing and wagging tails. Don’t spend to much time with this part. Start walking.

3. Walking Together:

Begin walking the dogs, side by side with several feet distance between them. The object is for them to be aware of each other without being able to engage. It is important that people handling the dogs remain calm and in control. Praising both dogs is very important. Your walk should last for as long as it takes for both dogs to feel relaxed. They don’t need to be in contact with each other, but relaxed. 

If all goes well with one dog, do the same steps with your other dog.  It will take three people to walk three dogs. 

4. Interaction off the leash: 

When the dogs are interacting well on leash, go to a fenced in area allowing the resident dog(s) to enter the gate first.  Drop the leashes, but do not remove them. The dogs will resume sniffing one another and may begin to initiate play. As they play watch for any possible negative interaction. If this happens, step in immediately. Pick up the leashes and walk them again in the fenced area. If they become overwhelmed, give them a break from each other. If things are going well, allow the new dog to explore the backyard and pee spots.

5. Introducing new dog to the inside of the home:

 Allow the new dog to explore the inside of his new home without the other dog(s). It is better if they have an opportunity to sniff and check things out without the scrutiny of the resident dog(s). Have someone take the resident dog(s) on a walk while this happens. Once you are ready to bring the resident dog(s) into the home, lead the new dog into an open area away from the door. You do not want either dog to feel closed into a tight area, watch closely while they interact inside the house. It is best to limit the number of areas the new dog can enter for the first 3 days or longer. 

Remember that this is a very stressful change for both the new dog and the resident dog(s). Allow your new dog to have plenty of down time in his designated area, especially in the first 3 days. Baby steps are very important and it is necessary to watch body language very closely.

6. If you need us, we are here to help!

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