top of page

"Introducing a New Dog or Pup: Tips for a Smooth Integration with Existing Dogs"

Many Dog owners come to me to ask me if they get a new young dog how are they going to do the introduction, I have many times explain the procedure and ay to go about it, I just found an article in Leerbug Site I really liked what he wrote and it fully explains in depht this situation, I combined his article which Im giving credit to and input many of my ideas and advices. this is a long article, because it covers many important points and nothing could be left to the unknown, we are always trying our best to bring the most information possible for a better Dog Sense and understanding!


Amazon disclosure

This Post may contain affiliated Links which means I may receive commissions at no cost to you if you make a purchase or choose to sign up for a Program through that link.


Welcoming a new dog into your home is an exciting and joyous occasion, akin to adding a new family member or guest to your household. While there is abundant information available on introducing puppies to a home environment, there is relatively little guidance on the process of bringing new adult dogs into your family. In this article, we aim to provide insights and guidance to help facilitate a smooth transition.



pack behaviour introduction
Introducing a new pup or dog

It's crucial to acknowledge that pet owners often underestimate the potential challenges that can arise during this process. If not handled correctly, introducing a new adult dog into your home can lead to difficult and even dangerous situations.


Some individuals mistakenly believe that they can simply bring a new dog home and let the dogs sort out their relationships on their own. While this approach may occasionally work without issues, more often than not, it results in conflicts and leaves pet owners wondering what went wrong.


Understanding the fundamental differences between dogs and humans is essential. Dogs are pack animals, and humans are primates, each with their unique ways of interacting within a social structure. Unfortunately, many pet owners underestimate the profound influence of the genetic pack instinct that underlies the behavior of their beloved family pets. The introduction of a new dog, whether as a second or third addition to the family, can trigger a genetic pack drive or RANK DRIVE. It is not uncommon for people to be taken aback by the level of aggression their otherwise gentle family dog can exhibit.



Dogs in a wood area pack
Dog Pack Behaviour

Multiple factors can contribute to these issues, including territorial behavior, rank or dominance disputes between the new and existing dogs, and inter-male or inter-female conflicts leading to aggression.


One important aspect to consider is that when you have three dogs, they form a pack, and this can lead to heightened territorial behaviors, similar to wolf packs. Within such a pack, a ranking order naturally emerges, with one dog assuming the role of the pack leader. This hierarchy is well understood among the dogs in the pack. In cases where there isn't a clear human pack leader, one of the three dogs will inevitably step into the leadership role.


The introduction of a new dog into this established pack dynamic necessitates a renegotiation of individual ranks within the family pack. This re-establishment of rank can lead to confrontations and dog fights.



three dogs German Shepherds running free
teaching dogs to live together

It's worth noting that the most intense dog fights often occur between females. Female dogs can be particularly fierce when it comes to rank-related disputes. Moreover, in larger packs of three or more dogs, fights often result in all the dogs ganging up on the weakest member, causing physical and psychological trauma.


It is essential to understand that a dog can love you without necessarily respecting you. Love and respect are distinct aspects of a dog's relationship with its owner. Most dogs do not naturally aspire to be pack leaders. When forced into such a role, they may become stressed and anxious.


However, when dogs have a strong human pack leader who clearly establishes boundaries and enforces discipline, such aggressive behavior is typically kept in check. A human pack leader also demonstrates that they will protect their dogs from potential threats posed by other dogs, reinforcing their role as the pack leader.



Person Leading a pack of German Shepherds
Pack Leader

The goal when introducing a new dog into a household with existing dogs is to seamlessly integrate the newcomer into the family pack while avoiding violent conflicts. The initial weeks of your relationship with the new dog set the tone for their future interactions with other dogs in your home. Dogs begin evaluating you as a leader from the moment they meet you, so it's essential to establish yourself as the pack leader.


Caution is of the utmost importance during this process, and it's advisable not to rush or skip steps. Taking your time and following the correct procedures is far preferable to risking a dog fight that can have dire consequences.


One crucial tool for introducing a new dog is the use of dog crates. Each dog in the household should have its own crate. Even if your current dogs are not accustomed to using crates, it is still advisable to employ them during this transition period. Placing the new dog in a crate within your home allows the existing dogs to approach and smell the newcomer. If any of the resident dogs growl or display aggressive behavior, it is crucial to intervene immediately with a firm correction.



human 'pack leader' training German Shepherds. The scene captures the engaging and focused interaction during the training session
human 'pack leader' training German Shepherds. The scene captures the engaging and focused interaction during the training session

As the pack leader, your role is to demonstrate that you will not tolerate aggression towards the new pack member. You decide when and how conflicts are addressed, reinforcing your authority and maintaining peace within the pack.


When it's time for the new dog to be out of the crate in the house, your existing dogs should wear prong collars, remote collars, or dominant dog collars. The new dog should always remain on a leash while indoors until they are thoroughly trained in obedience and can be reliably called away from potential distractions.


If the new dog exhibits growling or aggressive behavior towards you or the other dogs during this process, you are equipped to respond appropriately, either by returning the dog to the crate or by employing the necessary tools for correction.


Before introducing a new dog, it is essential to address any rank-related issues that may exist between you and your current dog. These issues should be resolved before initiating the introduction.


It's vital to remember that there is no need to rush the introduction of a new dog into your home. The process can take weeks or even months. During this period, it is advisable to use crates strategically and not leave your dogs together when you are not present. Rotating your dogs throughout the house, their crates, and the outdoor yard during the day is a practical approach.



 German Shepherd dogs resting comfortably inside their crates. You can see each scene captures a serene and cozy environment for the dogs.
German Shepherd dogs resting comfortably inside their crates. You can see each scene captures a serene and cozy environment for the dogs.

While introducing an adult dog into your home, there will be times when your existing dogs are in their crates while the new dog is on a leash inside the house. This is the time to establish your relationship with the new dog through grooming, walks, playtime, obedience training, and pack structure training.


The objective is to convey to the new dog that you are the pack leader, achieved by controlling all aspects of their life.


When it comes to the actual introduction of the dogs, during the initial weeks, the only time they should be near each other is when one is in a crate while the others are free. Progress is evident when the dogs start to ignore each other, indicating an acceptance of the new pack member. Once this acceptance is established, you can begin considering how to introduce the dogs outside of their crates.



 two German Shepherds being introduced to each other in a park, each controlled by a human. The scene captures the careful and positive interaction between the dogs.
two German Shepherds being introduced to each other in a park, each controlled by a human. The scene captures the careful and positive interaction between the dogs.

Introductions should be handled with caution, with both dogs on leashes equipped with dominant dog collars. These introductions are best conducted outside of the house to minimize territorial aggression. It is essential to be observant of the dogs' body language during these encounters.


Understanding dog body language is crucial:


- A stiff-legged stance with a high-held tail may signal dominance or assertiveness and the potential for aggressive behavior.

- If a dog hesitates to make contact and lags behind you, they are looking to you for protection in a potentially nerve-wracking situation.

- A wagging tail with a lowered front indicates an invitation to play and is generally a positive sign


During the introductory walks, it's essential to maintain a loose leash. If the dogs pull, it's an indication that they need a gentle correction, often referred to as a "POP correction." A tight leash can lead to frustration in the dogs and potentially trigger redirected aggression.


A stern warning: DO NOT consider taking your dogs to dog parks. Dog parks are a breeding ground for dog fights and can result in perilous situations for both dogs and owners. Even if the initial walks with your dogs and the new addition go smoothly, it's crucial not to rush the process. You have all the time in the world to allow your dogs to adjust to each other. Hastiness during this stage can lead to conflicts from which some dogs may never fully recover.



During the introductory walks, it's essential to maintain a loose leash. If the dogs pull, it's an indication that they need a gentle correction, often referred to as a "POP correction." A tight leash can lead to frustration in the dogs and potentially trigger redirected aggression.  A stern warning: DO NOT consider taking your dogs to dog parks. Dog parks are a breeding ground for dog fights and can result in perilous situations for both dogs and owners. Even if the initial walks with your dogs and the new addition go smoothly, it's crucial not to rush the process. You have all the time in the world to allow your dogs to adjust to each other. Hastiness during this stage can lead to conflicts from which some dogs may never fully recover.  Once you've had successful walks with the dogs and feel they are getting along well, you can introduce them on either side of a chain-link fence. In this scenario, one dog goes inside the yard alone, while the other remains on a leash outside the yard. They can safely sniff each other through the fence without feeling overly confined, and the risk of a real fight is greatly reduced.  A crucial step during this process is ensuring that your new dog has an ID NAME TAG as soon as they arrive. This tag is essential in case your dog were to get away from you and not respond to your calls. It provides a way for people to identify you as the owner when they catch your dog. However, it's essential to stress that leaving a new dog alone in a fenced backyard is a terrible idea and a recipe for losing your new companion.  As the introduction progresses and you see positive signs during walks and interactions through the fence, there comes a time to allow your dogs to meet face to face without you holding their leashes. During this meeting, let them sniff each other while maintaining a firm, commanding, and neutral voice. Keep these initial meetings brief, and then take them for a walk together. If any growling or tension arises, respond with a VERY STRONG VERBAL NO to assert your authority.  Be prepared to use a dominant dog collar correctly if necessary. This entails lifting the dog's front feet off the ground by pulling on the leash. Dog fights often erupt suddenly and can be extremely fast-paced.  In situations where you are uncertain about the dogs' reactions, it is wise to have both dogs wear muzzles. We recommend wire basket muzzles for added safety. These muzzles ensure that, even in the event of a fight, the dogs will not injure each other, and you can intervene without risking bites.  Properly fitting the muzzles is of utmost importance. If a dog fight does occur, NEVER attempt to break it up by grabbing both collars, as this can result in severe injuries, and you may find yourself needing immediate medical attention. There is a specific protocol for safely breaking up dog fights, which is well worth learning.  It is crucial to understand that dog fights are extremely hazardous events. Always prioritize safety and be aware of your physical limitations.  When introducing two adult dogs, allow them to sniff each other but discourage dominant posturing, often referred to as "T-ing" off, where the dominant dog places its head over the other dog's top shoulder and presses down. Once the backyard meetings are proceeding well, you can consider allowing the dogs to be loose together inside your home.  During these indoor interactions, it's advisable to keep control by having them wear drag lines and ensuring they do a "down stay." This prevents them from engaging in erratic or potentially aggressive behavior.  Fights over food and toys are common causes of conflicts in the home. To avoid such issues, feed the dogs separately in their crates or different rooms. Remove any uneaten food after 15 minutes. You'll be surprised at how quickly your dog adapts to finishing their meals within this timeframe.  Never allow your dogs to be together with toys, as toys can trigger dog fights. It's essential to convey to your dogs that all toys are your property, and you occasionally permit them to play with these toys. Always retrieve the toys after playtime. If you're looking for durable dog toys, consider checking out the selection on our website, where we offer only toys that we trust and use with our own dogs.  Establishing house rules is a vital component of creating a harmonious environment for your dogs. Sit down with your family members and create a written list of these rules, ensuring everyone agrees to follow them consistently. Consistency is key in dog training, and any deviation from the established rules can disrupt the entire process.  Sample house rules may include determining who will feed, exercise, and train the dog, specifying rules regarding furniture usage (e.g., allowing dogs on furniture only when invited), and clarifying who is the primary trainer. If questions or uncertainties arise during this process, don't hesitate to use muzzles as an added safety measure.  A word of caution: Using a remote collar for addressing dog aggression should only be attempted if you are thoroughly knowledgeable about its usage. Incorrect application can provoke dog fights that are challenging to manage.  Lastly, it's crucial to acknowledge that there are instances where certain dogs will never reliably accept another dog. In such cases, it's wise to keep an open mind. If you cherish both dogs and are not willing to re-home one of them, consider keeping them separated using two dog crates. In reality, this separation is not as significant an issue as it may seem.  It is disheartening to hear stories of individuals contemplating harming their dogs due to persistent fighting. Keep in mind that there are alternatives to find peace, such as separating the dogs, which is a much more humane solution.  Additionally, it's essential to exercise caution when heeding advice from individuals who suggest putting dogs together and allowing them to work out their differences. Such an approach is imprudent and fails to recognize the potential for serious injuries that can result from dog fights. The dog bite pictures on our website serve as a stark reminder of the consequences of uncontrolled aggression.  To sum it up, dog parks are strongly discouraged due to the risks involved. If you decide to use a doggy daycare, ensure that it employs proper practices, including the use of crates and a gradual introduction of dogs. Always prioritize safety for both your dogs and others.  In conclusion, it's essential to understand that, despite any previous missteps in introducing your dogs, you can start anew. While success is not guaranteed, it is worth attempting a fresh approach.
During the introductory walks, it's essential to maintain a loose leash. If the dogs pull,

Once you've had successful walks with the dogs and feel they are getting along well, you can introduce them on either side of a chain-link fence. In this scenario, one dog goes inside the yard alone, while the other remains on a leash outside the yard. They can safely sniff each other through the fence without feeling overly confined, and the risk of a real fight is greatly reduced.


A crucial step during this process is ensuring that your new dog has an ID NAME TAG as soon as they arrive. This tag is essential in case your dog were to get away from you and not respond to your calls. It provides a way for people to identify you as the owner when they catch your dog. However, it's essential to stress that leaving a new dog alone in a fenced backyard is a terrible idea and a recipe for losing your new companion.


As the introduction progresses and you see positive signs during walks and interactions through the fence, there comes a time to allow your dogs to meet face to face without you holding their leashes. During this meeting, let them sniff each other while maintaining a firm, commanding, and neutral voice. Keep these initial meetings brief, and then take them for a walk together. If any growling or tension arises, respond with a VERY STRONG VERBAL NO to assert your authority.



Dominanat Collar
Image of a Dominant collar

Be prepared to use a dominant dog collar ( The Dominant Dog Collar is a slip collar, meaning that it closes as a dog lunges at a target or when a K9 handler pulls back on the leash. While the collar doesn't constrict the dog's airway or cause any harm, the closing of the collar indicates that it's time to release their powerful grip.) correctly if necessary. This entails lifting the dog's front feet off the ground by pulling on the leash. Dog fights often erupt suddenly and can be extremely fast-paced.



German Shepherds meeting in a grassy field, both wearing muzzles.
German Shepherds meeting in a grassy field, both wearing muzzles.

In situations where you are uncertain about the dogs' reactions, it is wise to have both dogs wear muzzles. We recommend wire basket muzzles for added safety. These muzzles ensure that, even in the event of a fight, the dogs will not injure each other, and you can intervene without risking bites.


Properly fitting the muzzles is of utmost importance. If a dog fight does occur, NEVER attempt to break it up by grabbing both collars, as this can result in severe injuries, and you may find yourself needing immediate medical attention. There is a specific protocol for safely breaking up dog fights, which is well worth learning.


It is crucial to understand that dog fights are extremely hazardous events. Always prioritize safety and be aware of your physical limitations.



two German Shepherds sniffing each other during their meeting, with each dog being controlled by a human.
two German Shepherds sniffing each other during their meeting, with each dog being controlled by a human.

When introducing two adult dogs, allow them to sniff each other but discourage dominant posturing, often referred to as "T-ing" off, where the dominant dog places its head over the other dog's top shoulder and presses down. Once the backyard meetings are proceeding well, you can consider allowing the dogs to be loose together inside your home.


During these indoor interactions, it's advisable to keep control by having them wear drag lines and ensuring they do a "down stay." This prevents them from engaging in erratic or potentially aggressive behavior.


Fights over food and toys are common causes of conflicts in the home. To avoid such issues, feed the dogs separately in their crates or different rooms. Remove any uneaten food after 15 minutes. You'll be surprised at how quickly your dog adapts to finishing their meals within this timeframe.


Never allow your dogs to be together with toys, as toys can trigger dog fights. It's essential to convey to your dogs that all toys are your property, and you occasionally permit them to play with these toys.

Each dog is engaging with a different toy, creating a joyful and energetic scene.
German Shepherds playing with toys in a park.

. If you're looking for durable dog toys, consider checking out the selection on our Amazon website, where we offer only toys that we trust and use with our own dogs.


Establishing house rules is a vital component of creating a harmonious environment for your dogs.

Sit down with your family members and create a written list of these rules, ensuring everyone agrees to follow them consistently. Consistency is key in dog training, and any deviation from the established rules can disrupt the entire process.


Sample house rules may include Determining who will feed, exercise, and train the dog, specifying rules regarding furniture usage (e.g., allowing dogs on furniture only when invited), and clarifying who is the primary trainer. If questions or uncertainties arise during this process, don't hesitate to use muzzles as an added safety measure.


A word of caution: Using a remote collar for addressing dog aggression should only be attempted if you are thoroughly knowledgeable about its usage. Incorrect application can provoke dog fights that are challenging to manage.


Lastly, it's crucial to acknowledge that there are instances where certain dogs will never reliably accept another dog. In such cases, it's wise to keep an open mind. If you cherish both dogs and are not willing to re-home one of them, consider keeping them separated using two dog crates. In reality, this separation is not as significant an issue as it may seem.



 German Shepherd in a veterinary clinic with a vet examining the dog.
German Shepherd in a veterinary clinic with a vet examining the dog.

It is disheartening to hear stories of individuals contemplating harming their dogs due to persistent fighting. Keep in mind that there are alternatives to find peace, such as separating the dogs, which is a much more humane solution.


Additionally, it's essential to exercise caution when heeding advice from individuals who suggest putting dogs together and allowing them to work out their differences. Such an approach is imprudent and fails to recognize the potential for serious injuries that can result from dog fights. The dog bite pictures on our website serve as a stark reminder of the consequences of uncontrolled aggression.


To sum it up, dog parks are strongly discouraged due to the risks involved. If you decide to use a doggy daycare, ensure that it employs proper practices, including the use of crates and a gradual introduction of dogs. Always prioritize safety for both your dogs and others.


In conclusion, it's essential to understand that, despite any previous missteps in introducing your dogs, you can start anew. While success is not guaranteed, it is worth attempting a fresh approach.

family with three German Shepherds in their house.
family with three German Shepherds in their house.

Comments


GERMAN SHEPHERD BREEDERS

bottom of page