So you have had a positive dog introduction at our animal centre and now you are ready to take your new dog home. Here are some tips to ensure the experience continues to be positive for both your current dog and the new dog. It is important, however, to take the time to carefully plan and manage the first meetings between new and existing dogs and to make sure that each animal is given plenty of time and space apart during the settling process. By planning in advance, you are much more likely to be able to build successful relationships. Both dogs will need time to build a bond in order to feel comfortable around each other


Before your new dog comes home

Before your new dog comes home, set up your home in a way that gives both dogs the best chance of getting used to each other on their own terms.



Feeding dogs in the same area can put unnecessary pressure on them which can lead to spats. Prevention is always better than cure, so where possible, feed each dog in a separate room and have a few water bowls dotted around the house. Be sure to separate the dogs when giving any treats as dogs are more likely to guard from each other.



Settling into a brand-new environment can be very stressful for a dog. Think about safe spaces for each of your dogs; places that they can retreat to when they want a little “time out” from one another. Not all dogs want to cuddle up together to sleep, or even be in close proximity. Dogs are at their most vulnerable when they’re asleep, so bear this in mind when thinking of what type of bed to get your new dog and where to place it in relation to your existing dog’s bed.



Some dogs love them and some dogs aren’t particularly bothered by them. It may be fine leaving doggy toys lying around with only one resident dog, but a lack of supervision around toys could lead to spats in a household with more than one dog. Think about getting sealable boxes for your different dogs’ toys and where you would place these in different places to prevent issues.


Time alone

Whilst it is important for social dogs to spend time together, they will also need some one-on-one time with you and will need to practice some time apart. Your new dog will need to build a bond with you to feel safe and secure, and your existing dog will still need love and attention to feel secure despite the change. This is especially true when a puppy or juvenile dog comes home to live with an adult dog. The younger dog will need a lot of training and input to develop into a well-rounded dog and the adult dog will need some breathing space so they’re not being pestered to play 24/7. Using baby gates in the home can be a great help with this, as they act as a physical barrier but not a visual one.

You should always supervise dogs when separating them with a baby gate to ensure neither attempt to jump over it or bother the other dog through it. Once your new dog is home you can spend some time playing with or training one dog while the other is on the other side of the gate kept occupied with a toy or chew. This helps each dog to relax around the other in a low- pressure setting.



Your Journey Home With Your New Dog

Will you have your current dog with you? If so, you will probably need an extra pair of hands to help with the journey home. We do not recommend both dogs travelling in the boot of your own vehicle, on the back seats or in the same crate unsupervised, so consider how you will keep both dogs safe, secure and separated for the duration of the journey.