Introducing a New Dog to an Existing Pack


| 8/18/2015 10:19:00 AM


Tags: dogs, pets, animal behavior, Bruce McElmurray, Colorado,

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Introducing a new dog to your existing dog or pack depending on how many you have is not always as easy as it seems. I am neither a professional dog behaviorist nor a trainer but I do observe our canine members and believe there is a proper way to bring in another furry family member so the chances of success are greatly improved. I have done this over the years on several occasions and found if the new addition is properly introduced that blending new to established pack is easier and more successful. While it is not complicated it is like putting a jigsaw puzzle together one piece at a time.

Bringing a new member home and bringing them into the living quarters can not only diminish the chances for success but also can be hazardous to your fur friends as they seek to find their order within the pack itself. It takes time to put together a jigsaw puzzle and it takes time and effort to introduce a new family member. Some may mistakenly believe that because theirs is a rescue dog that it is just grateful to have a new forever home and will seek the approval of the existing pack members. It can take a great deal of vigilance on the new owners part and requires forethought, careful planning and preparation. Anything less may work one time depending on the dog's personality, but not consistently in the long haul.

I am not saying my method works any better than other methods but it has consistently worked for us over the years and may be worth considering. Our canine friends understand more than many think they do. Ours are German Shepherd  Dogs and they are highly intelligent and may already suspect there is a new family member coming. We prefer to tell them and it is clear that they fully understand that the pack will soon be increased.

Introduce New Dogs Slowly, On Neutral Grounds

It is best to understand your existing canine friends individual temperament and behavior in a realistic light and not put human characteristics on them. We recently introduced a new pack member to our pack and now have four furry-friend family members. The first and one of the most important steps is to arrange the first meeting on neutral ground.

As we approached our newest member's home, we stopped and waited about two hundred yards from our property. Carol then brought our dogs one at a time to meet the newcomer. Since the newcomer (Bosley, or "Boz") was male, she brought our female, Sarah, first, our senior male second and our younger male last. After a respectful round of sniffing and checking out personal parts in a neutral area, they all seemed to accept each other as friends. While you may know your canine companions well you most likely don’t know the new addition that well so you especially need to be very alert as this step of the process is very important. Tail up, ears back, head lowered or low growl are an indication that there may be conflict brewing. Being distracted at this point could end in injury to one or both dogs.




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