Introducing a new dog into a household where there is already another pet, whether a dog, cat, bird or small mammal, can be quite tricky. How to accomplish this without squabbles or bloodshed is a question often posed to animal behaviorists. The character of any new dog you plan to integrate is an important factor. Where possible, you should take into account the sex, age, breed, and past experience of any dog you plan bring home before making a commitment.
The impact of obtaining a new dog can be strenuous on the other pets in the household. However, once the initial stress of introductions has passed, the new arrangement can turn out to be a happy one!
Dog to Dog Introductions
If the incumbent dog has lots of energy for playing, obtaining a puppy or young adult dog is appropriate. However, if your present dog is unlikely to tolerate the antics and energy of an adolescent dog, consider getting an older dog that will not be trying to compel your old faithful to play all the time.
It’s best to choose a dog of the opposite sex to add to your household. This will decrease the chance of aggression. Begin by reading books that give unbiased opinions of breeds to choose the one that has the best chance of getting along with your resident dog.
Avoid breeds known for aggression to other dogs as a breed characteristic (e.g. pit bull terriers). Don’t get upset when the resident dog tells the newcomer to “bug off.” This is how the new dog learns the house rules. A hierarchy will develop over the first few weeks, and in general, the older and incumbent dog will and should occupy the “alpha position.”
Here are some tips on how to introduce two dogs:
Dog to Cat Introductions
Age and sex of a dog are not major concerns when adding a dog to a household where there is a cat. However, a puppy will naturally be more inclined to want to play with the cat, so if your feline will not tolerate a pushy puppy, consider an older dog.
There’s an advantage, however, to adding a puppy to a cat-dominated household: the puppy will learn to tolerate or even like cats as he grows up.
If you are obtaining an adult dog, find out whether the dog has a past history of living amicably with cats, or has been tested with cats. If you are looking to obtain a dog from a breed rescue or professional breeder, take special care when considering a breed that has a reputation for being aggressive to cats.