When it comes to dogs, one is not enough. Depending on the dogs that you already have, a new addition to the pack could have different outcomes. You could end up with a happy bunch of canines, or an out of control pack. To help you bring a new puppy into the house, there are a few safe ways of introducing him or her to the pack.
A gradual introduction
When adding a new puppy to an established pack, take it slowly. Don’t just bring the new pup home. This will upset your existing dogs, and confuse the new pup. The end result might be a pack that fights and competes for everything.
Let the new dog meet your existing dogs on neutral territory that is unknown to all the dogs. Take someone who knows your dogs to help you. Then, take all the dogs for a long walk. Take your existing dogs in the lead, and allow your friend to walk the new pup behind.
Gradually allow the entire pack to walk together, with humans on the inside and dogs on either side. When they’re calm, you can take them home.
Take your original dogs into the house first, with your friend and the new dog entering behind you. Look out for signs of aggression. These can include prolonged staring, bared teeth, growling, raised hackles and stiff legs. Use treats and praise to reinforce positive behavior.
Another way of introducing a puppy to the house is to use the crate method. This involves bringing the puppy home in a crate and allowing each existing dog to meet the pup one at a time.
At this early stage, it is important for you to allow them to set up their own hierarchy. You and the other humans in the house must be the pack leaders. Don’t interfere in the hierarchy the dogs establish. It might be natural to favor the oldest dog as the leader, but things often don’t work out that way.
If you try to force a dog that tends to be submissive into a dominant position, he or she will become anxious and insecure. The dominant dog will become resentful. Watch and learn who is dominant and who is submissive. Supervise all interactions between your existing dogs and the new puppy for at least the first couple of weeks.