Q&A: How do I introduce a new dog to my pack?

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Q: Any suggestions for introducing a new dog to my house? We have a male Bulldog and a female Mastiff, we will be bringing home a new female Bulldog this weekend. They are all around 5 years old and all spayed or neutered. All rescues, too. We want it to go as smoothly as possible. — Sue R.

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Meet 6-month-old Fiona at Newton, PA-based American Bulldog Rescue.

Mychelle Blake, CDBC, pet trainer and CEO of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, writes:

Here’s what you can do:

  • Have the dogs meet outside in a neutral space, such as
    the sidewalk or street in front of your home, or a nearby park.
  • Walk them near each other, side by side, with no frontal
    meetings (where their eyes are directly looking at each other), and then give lots of praise and rewards if they are calm. Try to remember to
    keep your leashes loose and tension-free.
  • If all goes well, then go back to your home and have them enter together on leash.
  • Make sure that you monitor the situation for the first few days
    and keep the new dog separate from the others when you
    leave the house.
  • Make sure that all the dogs get equal attention, and monitor
    them during feedings and playtime with toys to make sure there’s no
    guarding behavior.

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