Introducing Dogs--The Best Way?


Honored Member
Staff member
So, purely out of curiousity, I wanted to see what everyone thought of the "right" way to introduce dogs to each other. I have heard maaany different opinions on this.
For instance:
--Keep new dog kennelled for the first 2+ weeks so that new dogs can investigate, but not interact. New dog and current dogs are not loose together or even on-leash together for a while. Then walk dogs together. Then have one dog fenced and other on the other side so they are safely separated, but can interact some. Then have both dogs loose in yard. (All over a couple months' period of time.)
--Just walk dogs together.
--Just put them together and "let them work it out."
--Also, if they DO fight, let them at first. If you stop them from having a tiff, they have not worked out their pecking order and therefore will have arguements continuously until you allow them to figure out who's on top.

NONE of these are my opinions, by the way. These are just a few of the things I have heard about introducing new dogs.

SO, what does everyone else think? How do you introduce new furry additions to the household?


Staff member
When I introduce a new dog to my home, I take the new dog and Oliver, my reactive dog for a walk first... starting far apart, and working up to walking close together... within 15 minutes, Ollie's walking right beside the new dog, and he's not trying to attack, then we walk calmly into the house, and meet my other dogs who dont care if there are other dogs around or not, one at a time to not overwhelm the new dog. I keep both Ollie and the new dog on leash for a few minutes, then let the new dog off to check things out. I always make sure to pick up any bones or toys that are laying around, beforehand, so as not to start a fight over posessions. The new dog is always crated when I am asleep, and when I'm not home, at least for the first few weeks. I also have a training session or 2 in the first day, working with each dog individually, but each dog gets to watch the others work. (mine are trained to lay down and wait for their turn, and the new dog is crated when it's not her/his turn). Feeding is carefully supervised. and I do everything in my power to prevent a fight, and I break up fights if they do. I watch the dogs very carefully in the first few weeks, to make sure everyone is ok with eachother, and adjust things as needed.

this is a good thread, as I am bringing in a new foster soon, a little female adult Westie, and she'll be mixing into my pack of 4. Ooooh I get to think of a new name!!! and YAYYY new dog to teach tricks to! I'm a nerd, I know it! LOL

Thing is tho, every dog and every household is different. I know what is ok with my dogs, and what isn't. one thing does not work with everyone. I know Ollie will be a jerk at first, which is why the walk first. I know Mouse'll be happy to have a new friend, I know Scout'll be pissed at me for bringing a new dog in and will ignore it, or correct the dog if it gets too pushy, and I know Zoe'll greet the dog, but will not play, or really interact with her except to tell her off if she's too bouncy/in her face. the new dog is the unknown, so that's where I have to watch closely, and be careful to keep everyone safe.


Experienced Member
I home-board dogs of various sizes and temperaments, often for weeks at a time, and have done for nearly two years now. During this time, I've learn a lot about introducing different dogs together. Touch wood, I've never had a bad experience yet.

For all the science and the theories, I've learnt the following key points that always remain constant:

1. Let the dogs meet off leash. This is vital. On leash, the dog(s) cannot use the flight option if they need to and so you force the only other option - fight.

2. Let the dogs signal. A snarl does not always mean that a fight is about to ensue. It can mean that this is my space and I'm telling you that so back up. Let the dogs exercise their language freely.

3. It is not in a well-balanced dog's interest to fight - they really do avoid it at all costs. Even when there is aggression, it lasts very fleetingly and can be made much worse by our intervening. Give it up to ten seconds to end before you step in. Dogs are incredibly quick at sorting their order out when allowed to do so.

4. Stay upbeat. When you are worried about the meeting, this seems to be detected by the dog(s) in your tone and odours that you emit. Try to stay as normal as possible.

5. Give the meeting dogs as much space as possible to avoid each other. An enclosed hallway, for example, is not a good meeting spot!

6. Keep toys and food out of the equation of newly meeting dogs. It will almost always end up in conflict. Introduce them only after the meeting has gone well.

Hope that helps!