Introducing a new pack member into your household is not as simple a task as bringing the new dog, letting them inside and seeing what happens! This method will let the dog assume there are no limitations, boundaries or rules to respect and follow. As a result, you may only get a pack-fight out of these circumstances!
On the other hand, it is not a hugely complex procedure either, as long as you are aware of the dog language and follow these steps with precision.
One of the best ways to achieve a proper introduction is by making it gradual and having a friend or another family member’s help.
What you can all do together is find a good spot outside of the house for the dogs to meet up for this very first time! The place should be neutral – which, your older dog does not frequent very often and does not feel in ownership of the territory, while your new dog should not recognize the territory at all!
A good walk is the best way to introduce dogs with each other and to allow them to find their roles within the pack!
Furthermore, the walk will also drain any excessive energy!
Walking with the Dogs
You should walk in front with your older dog or dogs, while your friend or family member should walk behind you with the new dog. After a nice walk like this, take a moment to stop and allow your older dog(s) to sniff the new dog’s rear, but it is not yet the time to let the dogs meet face-to-face.
Continue the walk as in the previous step, but now gradually allow the new dog to come and sniff the older dog’s rear.
Continue the walk, but now gradually bring the dogs together in the same line, while also keeping a nice distance between them. To keep the distance, you and your friend or family member should be in the middle, while the dogs should walk on your outer sides. When you notice the dogs walking in a calm and submissive motion, it is a good sign to bring the whole pack back home.
When you come home, let the older dogs enter the house first, of course together with you. Then bring the new dog inside.
In this way, the older dog feels like they are inviting the new dog into the territory they ‘own’.
The Next Day
Once the dogs have become a full pack, allow them to establish their roles within the hierarchy of the pack by themselves. You should always maintain the pack leader role. Do not try to push the older dog to take the position of the dominant dog in the pack if they genuinely do not feel like taking up that role. The dog should not feel overloaded with the responsibility of the older child if they do not want it. Do not force anything, only supervise!
They will let you know who the dominant one is, and who the more submissive one is. Sometimes, they may take equal positions, but all by their own will. Moreover, they will be genuinely happy if they set these rules by themselves.
On the other way around, you may only get anxious, insecure and resentful dogs, which in turn, can bring about many troubles and fights! To avoid such dangerous situations by letting them settle on their own, while you continue to maintain your focus as the pack leader! Happy times!