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When bringing home a new furry family member, it is important to get things started on the right foot, or shall we say paw?  This can set the stage for future interactions which are hopefully peaceful and friendly between your two dogs.  Hopefully, you know your current canine and his or her body language well enough to notice if there is a problem about to arise during the introduction.  A few questions to ask yourself before attempting a meeting are: “Is my dog dominant or submissive? How has my dog reacted in the past to other dogs?  Do I know the warning signs if either dog doesn’t get along?”  Your Tempe pet sitter has a few suggestions to keep in mind when having 2 dogs meet for the first time.

Generally, you want to have your introduction in neutral territory that your own dog does not consider his home because this will alleviate many protecting and guarding behaviors. Ideally, you want to have each dog being walked by a separate person.  Bring the resident dog outside and maybe even walk a few houses down the street.  Have another person bring the new pup along the street so both dogs are under control.  Remember to stay calm and relaxed as our canine friends can sense tension and react to it.  There are different philosophies to dog intros, but if both are polite in their greeting style you can allow them to sniff each other at this point.

Signs to watch for that either pup is not reacting well:

Lip-curling

Bared teeth

Piloerection (raised hackles/fur standing up on the back or neck)

Growling

Snapping

Hard stares (focused, firm eye contact with other dog)

If either dog does not react well, take things slowly and back off as there is no need to rush the meeting.  Redirection may be necessary such as breaking the focus of a hard stare or a lip-curl.  But remember each dog is an individual and may react differently.  If in doubt, don’t push things and consult a trainer.  Hopefully you will have a positive first impression with tail wags, play bows, and lots of wiggly butts.  If so, it is recommended that you take a walk with both of the pooches so they establish their pack and continue getting to know each other.

Once you arrive home, the new pooch will want to sniff out all his surroundings, and the backyard may be the first place to go so he knows where to potty.  Remember not to leave both pups together unsupervised until you are certain they will have no issues.  Watch for resource guarding (over food, toys, or people) and interactions between any other animals or people in the home such as cats or kids.  Consider crate-training to reinforce desirable behaviors and prevent the dogs from interacting unsupervised when you are not home or are sleeping.

This dog sitter in Tempe wants you to have positive interactions between all your furry kids, so remember to consult a professional if you have any questions or concerns.  For further suggestions, visit http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/virtual-pet-behaviorist/dog-behavior/introducing-your-dog-new-dog.

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