Whether you are bringing a new pup into your home or you have a visitor arriving, acclimating dogs to each other can be an easy or daunting situation. Male and female dogs usually have the least conflict, while two female dogs are most likely to have the most conflict, and two males may (or may not) hit it off immediately. A controlled environment, supervision, observation skills and your continued patience are the key ingredients to help dogs accept each other.
Choose a neutral territory for the dogs to meet. Find a place near your home with little distraction. Get someone to assist you with the introductions. Before the dogs meet, put each one on a leash. Begin walking your dog while your friend catches up with the other dog.
Give the dogs a chance to smell each other. This is a natural instinct for dogs. Begin to walk the dogs together. Talk to the dogs in an enthusiastic voice to help the walk become an enjoyable activity. Walk the dogs to your yard.
Keep the leashes loose so the dogs can continue to smell each other. Give them a few minutes to interact before taking them into the house.
Prepare the inside of the house for multiple dogs. Make sure each dog has his own water and food dishes, his own bed and there are plenty of toys to avoid fighting over possessions.
Supervise the dogs in the house. Observe their body language. If their tails are wagging, you can let them off the leashes. Continue to watch their body language to see if a dog stiffens or shows his teeth.
Distract the dogs if they start to growl at each other. Give them toys or a treat. You may have to put one on a leash and move him to a gated-off area.
Feed each dog in a different room. Until they have acclimated to each other, food can be a motivator for a fight. Keep them separated so each can enjoy his dinner without any conflict.
Provide opportunities for play and interaction. If the dogs are still growling, keep the sessions short. Make sure you have plenty of treats to distract them.