How to Introduce a New Dog to an Old Dog (Video Tutorial)

new dog greeting old dog

We call Tillie “the devil dog” – not because she’s crazy – she’s actually quite gentle. We call her that because her ears curl back at the tips. It’s very cute.

But one of them doesn’t curl back quite as much anymore. That’s because she got into a huge fight with Millie and Millie ripped her ear. Dog fights are terrible.

And they are especially likely to happen when you introduce a new dog to an old dog. However, using the proper technique for the first dog introduction can help a great deal with keeping your dogs calm and helping them get along in the future.

Here’s a Question About Dog Introductions That I Got From a Reader

Question mark on stack of cards on wooden table

My Lhasa poo, Sophie, will soon be 17 years old. However, she is in good health and fairly active.

I would like to get another dog, but I am worried about Sophie accepting the dog.

Sophie generally gets along well with other dogs, but she is not particularly interested in playing with them.

-Sophie’s “Mom”

This is a common concern with dog parents and understandably so. If you force dogs together sometimes there are problems. However, dogs are social animals and usually live together well.

Here’s how to do it correctly so that it goes as smoothly as possible.

How to Introduce a New Dog to Your Current Dog

This video from Petco shows you the step by step technique for dog introductions.

Important: As you move through the steps of introducing your dogs you want to take your time in the introduction and make the interaction positive by rewarding with treats and praise.

  1. Start by introducing your new dog to your resident dog in a neutral location away from your house – a park is a good choice. This helps your old dog be less likely to view the new dog as a threat to their territory.
  2. Put both dogs on a leash and have each dog be handled by a separate person.
  3. Begin walking past each other, leaving plenty of space between dogs and avoid walking directly toward each other – as this can be viewed as aggressive by dogs.
  4. Start decreasing the distance between the dogs as you continue to walk them past each other.
  5. Observe their behavior. If the dogs are acting aggressive or fearful then increase the distance between you. If the dogs are calm continue to close the distance.
  6. Continue passing at a safe distance. You don’t want to force the dogs to meet.
  7. Once the dogs are close enough without signs of fear or aggression then let them sniff each other. Sniffing is like a dog handshake.
  8. If they aren’t interested in sniffing each other that’s OK. Don’t force it.
  9. After a minute or so get both of the dogs attention and walk them away from each other.
  10. Give them each a treat for paying attention to you.
  11. Bring them back together and repeat steps until they both seem comfortable and happy.
  12. When you bring them home, keep them in separate rooms at first and keep interactions short (around 10 minutes) to give them time to get used to each other.
  13. Once both dogs are behaving themselves you can have them in the same room while you supervise.

The Bottom Line on Introducing a New Dog to an Old Dog

two dogs, one smaller one larger, sniffing each other in greeting

Dogs are social animals and in the wild they live in packs. That’s why most dogs like to live in pairs or small groups – even in a persons home. When introducing a new dog to your house it’s best to do it in a controlled environment outside of your home at first. This gives the dogs a chance to get to know each other without worrying about territorial issues.

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Hi! My name is Heather Hallman. I’m the mother of two beautiful girls and a MAJOR passionate pet parent. I can hardly wait to bring you the BEST resources and information that I've found for our fur-babies.

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