A lot of dog people think that getting their dog a puppy or another adult dog for companionship is a terrific idea, and it IS! But then it seems like fights break out, or the two dogs together seem to feed off each other’s misbehavior. Or even worse, the initial meeting goes awry and you end up with one very angry and territorial established pet.
In an effort to help smooth things out for you, I’ve compiled a list of Do’s and Don’ts for that first meeting, and thrown in a few of the later frequently asked questions as well.
Meeting for the First Time
The very first thing you should do, is make sure that the established dog is at least somewhat agreeable to other dogs. If he tries to annihilate every dog he meets though, maybe getting him a canine playmate is not such a good idea.
It is also recommended that you get a dog of similiar energy and in some cases, temperament. Two easy-going, hyper dogs will co-exist better than a somewhat sour, couch-potato dog and a hyper dog combination.
- Always take both the established dog and the new dog to a neutral setting. A parking lot, a park, down the street, a friend’s house… This will circumvent the first territorial instincts.
- Keep both dogs on leashes and approach slowly. You’ll need a friend, or keep one dog confined in a car or crate.
- If all is going well, bring the dogs home, but leave them outside for a while and keep an eye on their interaction. This will help reduce the chance of any territorial marking that may happen indoors.
- Allow the dogs to establish their pack order, do not attempt to intervene if male posturing occurs. One dog will most likely back down, and it will be up to you to reinforce that order.
- Do NOT try to force sharing of toys, beds, or dishes. Each dog should have his own, and the dominant dog should be fed first.
Hopefully all goes well these critical first few days and dog number two becomes a permanent and welcome fixture in the family.
When Problems Arise Later: Commonly Asked Questions
My dogs are fighting, how should I stop them? Don’t stop them at all, unless there are actual injuries occurring. If you see blood, pull the dogs apart and secure at least one in a room, and keep them separated while tending to the cuts. Most fights are just play, dogs do play a lot rougher than we do, or they are working out the pecking order. One dog should be higher up in the ranks than the other, and they’ll need to establish this in order to have a peaceful household.
One of my dogs is sick with diarrhea, how do I tell which one it is? The easiest and most sure way by far, is just to take the dogs out separately on leash, and examine the end product. Another way that is simple enough, is feed one dog carrots, the other corn. That shows up very well, and color-coded poops will make identifying the culprit easier.
I found worms in the stool of one dog. Will the other dog(s) catch them too? Yes, worms are extremely contagious to other pets, and sometimes even humans. You will have to take your dog to the vet with a fecal (stool) sample for a positive worm identification. Then the vet will give you enough medication for all the pets in your household that have fur. It is very important that the right worm medication is given, and that the directions are followed exactly.