Bringing a new dog home is an exciting time, and having two or more dogs is often considered preferable to keeping one alone. Dogs are pack animals, and keeping two or more together can go a long way to establishing natural behaviour patterns, keeping them well socialized, and giving them a permanent playmate who will entertain them when you are unable to.
However, introducing a new dog or puppy to your resident canine is something which needs to be approached carefully, in order to allow the dogs to get used to each other and bond as a pair rather than causing the resident dog to become stressed and potentially harm your new addition, or making both dogs unhappy.
If you’re ready to get an additional dog for your family but are not sure how to proceed, these tips may help you introduce a new dog to your resident canine safely and successfully.
Try and ensure that the dogs meet for the first time on neutral territory, and not in the presence of anything which the resident dog might consider ‘theirs’ or be tempted to guard, that includes the outside of your home. After all, your current dog has no doubt at one time or another marked that “territory’
Make sure that both dogs have a safe place which they can retreat to if needed.
Have a person who is familiar with each dog present during the initial meeting, but try not to have a lot of bystanders or other family members present, and keep outside stimulus to a minimum.
Keep both dogs on a lead initially so that you can intervene quickly if need be.
Don’t try to force the introduction, or push the dogs into each other’s personal space. This is counterproductive and can lead to future problems with their interaction.
Protect yourself and other family members from inadvertent harm. Take care if intervening between the two dogs that you don’t get nipped or bitten by mistake, and consider muzzling one or both of the dogs if you have any reason to believe that one of them may potentially become aggressive.
When introducing two dogs to each other for the first time, allow them to get used to each other and move at their own pace. They will need to be allowed to communicate with each other, and this may include sniffing, defensive behaviors and physical interaction. It can be extremely hard at this stage not to try to ‘manage’ the meeting, and to keep yourself from intervening between the two dogs, but you must keep out of things as much as possible.
Once both dogs are comfortable in each other’s presence, prepare to let them off the lead. Do this one at a time, so that you will be able to remove one of the dogs from the area quickly and with ease if needed to. Dogs tend to relax more when off the lead, and you may find that after initially establishing that they are going to play nicely in each other’s presence, you can accelerate their acceptance of each other by enabling natural play.
Once you have successfully introduced the two dogs to each other for the first time, it’s important to keep an eye on them while they are together for some time afterwards until they are fully comfortable in each other’s presence and come to regard each other as part of the same pack, rather than as resident and visitor respectively.
I realize that people have other ways that they have accomplished the above, but this method works and succeeds more often than not in allowing all dogs involved to become subservient members of the pack, especially if the interaction did not go as well as planned the first time you tried using other methods of introduction.
As far as greyhounds (sight hounds in general) go, this can be fairly easy most of the time as they seem to know their “own kind” and you probably will not have that big of an issue in most cases. Introducing a non greyhound into a “sight hound pack” can be a little more tricky and that is what most of the info above is for. There are always exceptions one way or the other and you never know until that time arrives how much effort it will actually take to make things work.