“I know cool tricks like fetch, speak and play dead! I also know how to put away my toys on command!”
So you’ve brought a new dog into your home and your existing dog, who is always friendly with other dogs, is being very aggressive. Every time the new dog gets close, your dog snaps and growls, and you’re worried there’s going to be a fight. Get your new dog on a leash, immediately! The biggest mistake I see dog owners make is assuming that just because two dogs are dog-friendly that they’re going to know how to immediately coexist with each other in a home environment. That would be like you having a stranger move into your house unannounced. You too would feel overwhelmed, defensive, scared and upset that suddenly your personal space is being invaded. Keeping a leash on a dog while indoors is an underutilized tool. It’s important you don’t let your new dog overwhelm your existing dog until they get a chance to really get to know each other, which could take up to a few weeks. It’s best that if you cannot physically be holding the leash of the new dog that you utilize a crate, baby gate or outdoor kennel area to keep your new dog secure when you cannot directly supervise. By using a leash indoors to help control your new dog’s movement, you can teach him how to give your old dog space during mealtimes, how to share your affection and quickly re-direct your dog from things like counter surfing, getting into trashcans, and other behaviors that are off limits. If you can demonstrate to your existing dog that you will keep him safe from this new “intruder,” chances are they will develop a friendship without the need for conflict. But if you just turn the new dog loose and hope for the best, you very well could have a fight on your hands.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
› Dee Hoult is the owner of Applause Your Paws, South Florida’s largest privately owned pet dog training company. Have a question about your dog? Email Dee@ApplauseYourPaws.com or send a DM on Instagram @ApplauseYourPaws.