Dogs are naturally pack animals, so being an only dog, especially when left home all day, can be quite depressing for some dogs. By selecting the right dog and introducing them properly, you can find your current dog a companion. Here are some tips for successfully bringing home a new dog.
1. Know your dog. The personality of your current dog is very important when considering getting a new dog. While you may want a large playful dog, your Chihuahua may appreciate a small to medium sized dog that is gentle. If your dog is aggressive outside of its territory (neighborhood/home), you will likely need to hire a professional dog trainer to help you introduce a new dog or curb the aggressive behavior. You may also need to reconsider.
2. Selecting the right dog. Generally speaking, if you have a male you should get a female and vice versa. While two males or two females can definitely get along and bond, it is generally easier for opposite sexes. Consider your current dogs energy level and style of play. Try to find a dog that matches it and is of similar size. While you can have two dogs of different sizes, there is always the worry of the smaller dog being injured, even accidentally. If you have an old dog, he may not be too happy about you bringing a puppy home. Dogs of similar age tend to play well together.
3. Fostering a dog. Fostering is a great way to figure out the type of dog that your current dog will love. You can try out different breeds and personalities without making the commitment and you can always adopt if it is the perfect fit!
4. The introduction. The introduction should ALWAYS take place on neutral territory. Do not attempt bringing a dog directly into your home to meet your dog. This is asking for trouble. When introducing, be sure to have both dogs on leashes and separate from one another. Allow them to get used to one anothers presence at a distance, before trying to bring them together. They should both be calm before allowed to greet. This could take 10 minutes or more, but that’s worth a lifetime of companionship. Do not initially bring them together for a head on greeting, instead walk side by side slowly coming closer together. Allow short sniffs here and there, but redirect the dogs (by saying their names excitedly, moving away and giving a treat) if they are posturing or showing any negative body language. Before doing your introduction, brush up on some basic canine body language. Know what to look for that is good and bad.
5. Prepare your home. Have your home prepared to be able to separate the dogs if needed especially during meal times initially. Baby gates work well to keep dogs separate and test whether or not they feel the need to guard their toys, food, and bones from one another. Be sure to get new toys, bed, bowls etc… so your old dog won’t have to share. When you finally bring your new dog home, show them around on leash (rather than allowing them to roam freely) in order to teach them any places they shouldn’t go, or things they shouldn’t pee on :).
Remember: It can take days or months for the dogs to become completely comfortable with one another depending on compatibility and how social your old dog is. Be patient and keep them separated when you can not supervise until you are sure they are buddies.