Adopting an Adult Dog When You Already Have a Dog

You may have inherited a dog that has lost his caregiver, or you may wish to provide your dog with an adult-dog companion while you're at work. To ensure that the dogs live together harmoniously, it's important to take some precautions.

First, you will want to introduce the dogs prior to moving-in day so that neither feels threatened and unduly surprised to discover another adult dog in the house. It's a good idea for the introductions to take place in a pleasant environment on neutral ground. Both dogs should be kept leashed during the meeting, with a caregiver for each dog. This ensures that it will be easy to separate them if they start to show signs of aggression. If there is growling, or other signs of aggression, separate the dogs, distract them each with play, and then try again. Keep the leashes loose unless issues arise. Remember to reward and praise the dogs when they behave correctly.

Don't scold

Don't scold either dog. It's important that you do everything possible to make the experience pleasant, as this is what they will remember about the other dog. The transition will be easier if they associate each other with treats and a fun day at the park, rather than being reminded of a scolding when they see the other dog. It is also important to make sure that the dogs are up-to-date on their vaccinations.

An older dog and a younger dog

If you have an older dog, and have brought a younger dog into your home, the older dog may feel that his turf is being invaded and be wary of the youngster. To help the older dog feel more comfortable, it's a good idea to wait until the younger dog is tired and calm before you reintroduce them. With loose leashes on both dogs, let the older dog sniff around the less mature dog. Also, make sure the older dog gets some quiet time alone with you during the first few weeks.

Two younger dogs

If you have two relatively young dogs, it is important that you spend equal time with both. Just like children, they may fight over food and toys if you don't take steps to prevent this behavior. The youngsters should always be supervised and leashed when they are brought together, and separated when they are left alone. This will ensure they don't have the opportunity to fight over toys or get too rough with each other. Also, make sure that they have their own eating areas. This will prevent fights from breaking out over food.

Using the preventive measures given above will go a long way in providing your dogs with a pleasant atmosphere, and lifelong canine companionship for both you and the dogs themselves.

--- Pedigree web site