Day 1: The very first introduction of two dogs should be on neutral territory. Ideally, it is best to select a parking lot, yard, or park area which is not a place that the resident dog regularly spends time (off the usual path you go for daily walks.) Keeping both dogs on leash (DO NOT USE RETRACTABLE LEASHES), allow the dogs to greet by walking in a circle so they meet “nose to butt” and allow them to sniff each others’ rear ends. Next, take both dogs on a long walk around the neighborhood side by side. Finally, walk the dogs back to your home, allowing the resident dog to enter the home first. Coming into a new home is a stressful and exciting experience for any dog. This is NOT the best time to proceed with the introduction because the dogs are already highly stimulated. Introductions are most successful when everyone is calm and comfortable. Take a break. On day one, confine each dog to a separate area of the home. Give the new dog some time to get used to the new surroundings and to chill in his crate. Rub a towel or blanket on each dog and place it where the dogs sleep. This will get both animals used to the smell of the other. Give everyone 24 hours to calm down.
Day 2: Introduce the dogs on opposite sides of a door by letting them sniff each other under the door or crate the new dog and allow resident dog into the room so they can see each other and resident dog can explore the new dog safely. Feed the dogs on opposite sides of the door so that they associate the smell of the other dog with the positive experience of food. If these encounters go well, and you have a fenced yard, you can take them outside for some supervised playtime. Leave the leashes on both dogs, but let them go. Have a hose, bucket of water, or strong spray bottle on hand just in case the playing gets too rough and turns into a fight. If the dogs begin playing to rough, start with a verbal command, “Enough” or “Leave it” in a firm voice. Have each adult grab hold of the leash and walk the dogs away from each other until both have calmed down. If the verbal command is not successful and the dogs are too entangled to safely grab the leashes, dog fights can be interrupted with water from the hose, bucket or spray bottle. NEVER PLACE YOUR HANDS OR BODY IN THE MIDDLE OF A DOG FIGHT. If a dog fight does occur, make sure that no medical attention is required for either dog and contact us so that we can recommend a professional trainer to assist you with future introductions.
Days 3-7: If the outside encounter has gone well, you may begin to integrate both dogs inside the home. PICK UP ALL BONES, TOYS, TREATS, AND FOOD BOWLS BEFORE BRINGING BOTH DOGS INTO THE HOME TOGETHER. ONLY ALLOW TOYS, FOOD, AND BONES UNDER CLOSE SUPERVISION AND INITIALLY ONLY WHILE ONE DOG IS CRATED. Keep the leash on the new dog at all times in the house for the next week or two. This is only temporary but keeping the dog on leash, accomplishes two things. First, it is a precaution in case the dogs start to growl or fight, you have the ability to correct the dog and prevent them from harming each other. Also, tethering reduces a dog’s urge to react to the other dog because it makes him focus on the person as his leader. If the dog barks or growls at the other dog, stares intently at the other dog, or starts to “hump” the other dog, give him a vocal correction "LEAVE IT" in a firm voice, grab the leash and walk him in the opposite direction of the other dog. Take the dog out of the room, ask him to sit, stand with him and wait for him to calm down, then give him a treat and let him accompany you back into the room. If he starts looking for or barking at the cat again, repeat until you walk back in the room and he is calm, or interested in something else.
Day 7+: You can also practice the command "WATCH ME." Point to your eye and encourage the dog to sit and make eye contact with you. When he sits and makes eye contact, say WATCH ME and give him a treat. Once he has learned this command, you can transition away from using the leash and if he starts paying too much attention to the other dog, you just say “WATCH ME”, and refocus his attention on you instead of the other dog.