Chewie and Simo(our first foster) waiting for a treat after a sit command.
- Before bringing a new dog home, be sure all animals are healthy, have current vaccinations and test negative for parasites. Even if the dogs met successfully on neutral turf, things can be different when you bring a new dog home. Make sure there's another person at the homecoming so the dogs can meet on-leash outside. Meeting directly at home can bring out your dogs territorial behavior.
- Prior to the introduction, leash-walk the new dog outside.
- Then bring out the other dog(s) on leash. Make sure you are relaxed, so you don't telegraph anxiety through the leash. Avoid keeping the collar pulled tight, since "restraint frustration" elevates tension and the risk of aggression. The dogs will be more relaxed knowing they have some room to maneuver. Watch carefully so you can make a leash correction if necessary.
- Make the meeting fun with a walk and some treats (timed to reward good, relaxed behavior). Introduce gradually, making sure the animals are calm. Pet the resident dog, assuring that everything's OK. If it's not OK, suspend introductions and resume the walk. Be careful to reward only good behavior.
- Keep the dogs within sight of each other. (For more than two dogs, introduce each to the newcomer one at a time.) If the animals are receptive to each other, praise each one and reward them with treats and petting to show that good things happen when they are together. If there is a negative reaction, move back to the distance at which neither reacted. Watch for warning signs such as fur raised on the back, staring or stiffening up. If one dog reacts aggressively, don't punish the aggressor; instead, take him in a neutral or less valued area to settle down and ignore him. If both dogs act aggressively, remove each to different, neutral areas. Try re-introducing later in the day.
- Be sure to give each pet 10 or 15 minutes of quality time alone with you each day - play, brush, massage, practice reward-able skills. Keep watch, and keep a spray bottle or whistle on hand to interrupt the pets if they begin to stare or otherwise misbehave. Continue rewarding good behavior with praise and kibble/treats.
Most of my fosters reacted well to chewie and so did he on their walk. The only ones he did not really warm up to were bossy girls. But they figured out their own spaces in the house within a day or two.