One reader, Leslie asked the following question on PetLvr’s article titled “How to Introduce a New Dog to Your Other Dogs”: “We have a dog who’s been with us for 9 months and we want to, hopefully, add another dog to our family. But we’re kind of scared because he’s so used to being the center of attention (and of course, dogs are territorial) so it’s kind of nerve-wracking.”
Leslie’s question is a very common one. While dogs are territorial, they are also pack animals. As such, a vast majority of dogs do very well in a multi-dog home. It’s quite rare to encounter a dog who is truly aggressive with all other canines.
I always encourage pet owners to look at it this way: being with another human is fulfilling in a way that’s very different from your interactions with all other species. Really, social animals — dogs and humans alike — tend to be happier with at least one close same-species companion. The same goes for your dog: while his relationship with humans is special, there’s something very unique about a close relationship with another dog.
That said, not every pair of dogs is compatible. Just as you don’t like each and every human you meet, dogs don’t like each and every other dog that they meet. Therefore, it’s important to find a new dog who is apt to complement your existing pet’s personality, energy level and temperament. If your dog is typically dominant in his interactions with other dogs, don’t get another dominant dog; seek a submissive dog. If you have a very subdued, quiet dog, don’t get a crazy puppy who’s apt to bounce off the walls and annoy him.
Bringing your resident dog to meet another dog who you’re considering adopting is always recommended. Generally speaking, compatibility is very apparent in a brief meeting. If the dogs get along well during this meeting, then they’re apt to do well together. If it’s an oil-and-water situation from the very first sniff, then it’s best to adopt a different pet.
Of course, when a new dog is added to the pack, there will be tensions. In tomorrow’s article, we’ll explore what to expect in terms of behavior when you get a second dog.
Photo Source: Bev Lloyd-Roberts on SXC.hu