How to Introduce a New Dog to Your Household
It’s one thing to get your dog acclimated to the occasional visit from another dog, but it’s quite another if the goal is to get your dog a permanent canine companion. Vail advises that initial introductions be done outside the house. “The home is the current pup’s territory and an outside location like a park or a friend’s yard provides a neutral location,” she advises. “An initial introduction can last up to an hour and you’ll want to take your time.”
Once you’ve brought the dogs home, she says that they shouldn’t go unsupervised together until you know that they are compatible. She also recommends that all the toys and bones go away so that there is a clean playing field in the home for several days or weeks as the dogs get used to each other. This way, the pups won’t engage in resource guarding and fight over ownership of these items.
Where to Socialize Your Dog to Other Dogs
While dog parks can be a good option (if done responsibly) for dogs who are friendly around other dogs, Vail doesn’t recommend them for most dogs. “I’m not a fan of dog parks because I’ve seen too many accidents. You don’t know the status of the other dogs in there, their behavior, or their health history,” she says. Instead, she says that play dates in your yard or in enclosed tennis courts with other dogs who you know won’t behave aggressively around your dog are best.
Another option she endorses are doggy daycare facilities. “All dogs who are in these facilities are usually required to have all of their vaccinations and there are several people around to monitor the dog’s behavior,” she says. “Dog are also typically grouped by size, energy, and personality, ensuring a good experience for your dog.”
How to Socialize an Older Dog to Other Dogs
For those dealing with older dogs who didn’t have proper socialization as a puppy, the process could take a bit longer. “Socialization for an older dog should go slow and steady, based on the severity of their fear of other dogs.” One of the ways to do this is to participate in basic dog obedience classes. “Basic obedience classes build up their confidence level and having them around other dogs in a class while focused on learning helps acclimate them to other canines in a positive environment.”