Introducing Your New Dog to Your Resident Dog

Recently my roommate adopted a 5-month-old Corgi to move in with us. I already have a 1.5-year-old Collie/Shepherd mix who tends to be protective of her property. I’ll be honest; I was nervous about their first meeting! My dog can be rude when meeting other dogs, even when it’s not at our house. She likes to jump at faces and charge and herd other dogs when they run. We decide to take a few precautions to ensure a positive introduction, and I feel it made all the difference.

We started by doing some scent swapping. Sending a blanket, towel or old t-shift covered in the other dog’s scent allows the dogs to familiarize themselves with the new dog’s smell in the home before it even arrives there.

When the new dog arrives, have the resident dog away in its own safe space with a distraction. Do not let the dogs see each other or make eye contact. Have the new dog explore and get used to their new home!

When the new dog has settled in and finished exploring, swap them. Put the new dog away in a separate safe place and let the resident dog out to check out its environment.

My dog spent about 30 minutes sniffing around every inch of the house as well as her backyard. For some dogs it may be much longer, others much quicker – it all depends on your dogs. When the resident dog is finished and begins to relax and ignore the smell, repeat the process.

Continue repeating the process until the dogs aren’t interested in each other’s scent anymore. Once you reach this step, it’s time for the pets to meet!

Ideally, have them meet off the property and walk back into the home together. Be sure to have the dogs on lead – even if no one is holding the lead – in case they need to be separated it makes it much safer and quicker.

It’s been about a week together for our dogs, and they’re getting increasingly comfortable with each other. All toys and bones are still kept separate, and meals are fed in different rooms as well. These things can sometimes never be shared with some dogs, so it is best to go very slowly and introduce one thing at a time.

Written By: Brie Bingham, CCR