Introducing a New Dog to Your Dog

Fluffy, Meet Fido

“If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans” —James Herriot

Photo by Des Calhoun

Introducing a new dog to your old dog is a lot like setting up a blind date—you want to make sure it’s in a setting where both parties feel comfortable and safe. The experts at recommend a neutral, spacious setting like a dog park—but within walking distance of the house.

First things first, though: Prepare the house for the new resident. Pick up and put away anything that may cause conflict. Dog toys, treats, food dishes and even bedding are all territorial triggers. Once the house is ready, let the date begin.

At the park, bring the dogs in separately and allow them to casually interact—off the leash if possible. If one dog is a puppy, it likely will quickly show submission, at which point the adult dog will either play with or ignore him. If both dogs are adults, they will probably go through extensive social posturing, which may include attempts at dominating. The DogTime authors suggest allowing such behaviors to play out, and only interfering if they begin to fight.

Once the two dogs have reached an equilibrium, then it is time to walk them home together. Remain vigilant for the first few weeks, ensuring that one dog is not bullying the other, and be sure to give each dog quality time on its own.

But what do you do if the puppy you’ve brought home is a Jack Russell Terrier, whose boundless energy leaves your aging Yellow Labrador stressed out?

This is the question author and psychologist Rob Pasick had to resolve—and is the subject of a chapter in his book, Conversations With My Old Dog. Rob thoughtfully documents Lucy’s last few months in this slender volume, which is a lovely gift for dog owners of all sorts and a thoughtful comfort for those grieving the loss of a dog. This book captures several dozen mini-lessons Rob learned from his wise old dog through observation. Conversations With My Old Dog can be purchased through this web site or through

Print Friendly, PDF & Email