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drClaw's avatar

Tips for Introducing a New Dog?

Asked by drClaw (4432 points ) December 17th, 2010

My wife and are temporarily taking in her brothers dog this weekend (divorce fall out) and are looking for guidance. Currently we have a full size Shih tzu who’s 4 years old. The puppy we’re taking in is also a Shih tzu, about 5 lbs smaller and under a year old.

A few things I’d like to know are…

Best way to introduce them?

We are only going to be this new dogs family for about 6 months at which time the in-laws will be taking him permanently. How will this affect the dogs to get them comfortable then to separate them?

Any other tips are welcome as well!

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8 Answers

the100thmonkey's avatar

Make sure your dog knows he’s the higher-status canine of the two.

It might run counter to your beliefs and wishes, but treating them even equally will result in a fight. Dogs are pack creatures; it’s in their psychology to stratify themselves. You are the alpha male in the pack; I strongly suggest you go to great pains to ensure that your dog does not perceive itself as the omega male.

marinelife's avatar

Introduce them outside (so that it is neutral territory).

Since the new dog is younger and smaller it is likely to be submissive to your dog anyway.

Blueroses's avatar

If they haven’t met before, ideally you could introduce them, both leashed, in a neutral area like a park and let them establish their play relationship without territorialism.

From experience, if you have the baby for 6 months, you will not want to give it up. Get used to having 2 dogs :-)

rooeytoo's avatar

With 2 little dogs of different ages I wouldn’t worry, I would just put them together and let them be. If you are nervous though, have them both on leashes then if there is a serious altercation you can pull them apart without losing an arm (or finger as the case may be)

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I agree with @marinelife
Introduce them somewhere on neutral ground.

drClaw's avatar

Great feedback! Any thoughts on whether getting them to live together for 6 months then separating them will depress any one or both?

marinelife's avatar

@drClaw It might if the situation means being an only dog again. But it might not. It depends on the dog.

jmbnjcl's avatar

I am a professional dog trainer. Most likely since one dog is a puppy, you will have no problem introducing them. However, it is best to introduce them in a neutral territory. It is best to introduce them in a large fenced in area and have the leashes loose on the ground. Once you pick up the leash, you are restricting the dog and its fight or flight response may come out, and the dogs would be more likely to fight. If you see any kind of aggressiveness, most likely this would only come from the adult dog, correct it with a verbal command. Never use any physical corrections, as that will encourage aggression.

In most cases, a puppy will get along with most adult dogs. Adult dogs give puppies extra leniency since they puppies, (kind of like we do for young children), however, it is around the age of 7 months or so, that adult dogs will expect puppies to act more like an adult dog. The adult dog may start “correcting” the puppy now for what the adult sees as inappropriate behavior.

You cannot decide which of the dogs is the alpha. They will decide it based on their individual temperments. In the beginning, though, the puppy, unless it has a very dominant nature and/or yours has a very submissive nature, will be below your dog. As the puppy matures it may change. You need to gain good leadership over both dogs, but also respect how they work out their hierarchy. If you favor the subordinate, that’s when you can cause a dog fight.

Verbally correct bad behavior, and give lots of high-pitched praise for good bahavior, and things will probably be fine. You also need to be a calm, consistent leader that follows through on every command you give.

In most cases, dogs are fine when you separate them unless them become extremely dependent on each other.

Good luck!

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