If you've decided to bring a new doggie home, you're probably worried about how Rover is going to react. Chances are, he might hate you a bit for it -- but only temporarily. Introducing two adult dogs can be a challenge and you need to be careful to avoid an all-out war. Hopefully, the pooches will eventually become friends and share lots of fun moments together. It's up to you to make that happen, though.
Your first responsibility is to your current dog. After all, you don't want to put him in a situation he'll hate or be miserable in. If Rover is a quiet, old dog, don't bring home a hyper teenage dog who will drive him crazy. When adopting from a shelter, always find out the past history of the new dog. If he was abused or has a dominant character, this might create problems with your doggie back home. Is Rover a high-energy, always-running pooch? Then getting a companion with the same level of energy could be great -- they can play together and tire each other out.
Always adopt a dog of the opposite sex if you have a choice. Males and females rarely have fights over dominance issues, since they are, technically, top female and top male of the household. Bring a boy into a home where another male lives and you might have to deal with alpha dog fights, where the boys battle it out to see who's the top dog. Of course, mixing up a boy and a girl can have unwanted consequences, so make sure both dogs are sterilized before the initial meeting.
Introducing two adult dogs is a bit more complicated than just letting both of them meet and run around in your yard or living room. If you want to avoid fights, the introduction should be a bit more "delicate" than that. For starters, make sure both dogs are on a leash the first time they meet. If you live alone, ask a friend to come around so she can hold the other dog. Allow the dogs to smell each other, but keep tight control of the leashes at all times. Even better, let the dogs meet outside your home, if possible. Even meeting on the sidewalk right in front of your house could be a good thing -- it's neutral territory, so your first dog won't feel the need to protect his turf.
For a while, make sure each dog has his own space. A "while" can be a week or a month, depending on how the original meeting goes and the personality of the two dogs involved. When you go out, put the dogs in separate rooms, so there's no chance of a fight breaking out in your absence. Don't leave food out for free-feeding, even when you're in the house. Instead, feed the two dogs separately -- in different corners of the kitchen or even in different rooms -- to avoid any problems.
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