Introducing a New Dog to the Family

According to the ASPCA, approximately 70-80 million dogs are owned in the United States as of 2014. Roughly 37-47 percent of all households have a dog. About 10 percent of the dogs that are acquired each year in the U.S. are given up because of behavioral issues. New dog owners can help to prevent behavior issues, including dog bite incidents, by introducing the new dog to the family in a proper way.

Introducing Dogs to Children

Before bringing a dog permanently into a home, all human members of the family should meet the dog. To prevent children from behaving in a way that will upset a dog, children should be taught to show the dog respect and never harm or tease the dog. Children should also be taught to refrain from getting too close to the dog’s face. Once the dog has been introduced to children outside of the home and displayed a positive attitude, the dog can be brought into the home. Children should be supervised at all times when interacting with the dog to prevent bite incidents.

Introducing Dogs to Other Dogs

Bringing a new dog into a home that has dogs must be done carefully to avoid aggressive behaviors. Dogs have a pack mentality and any new dog that is brought into a home will automatically upset the currently established ranking. It is important to handle the interactions between the dogs delicately and be vigilant for signs of aggression or fear. Dogs should never be introduced to one another in a car, as there is the potential for injury to humans and dogs if the dogs do not interact well.

Introduce Dogs on Neutral Ground

Before bringing a new dog into a home, the dogs should meet at a location that will not be considered territory by the currently owned dog. Dog parks and areas where the dog is often walked may be considered territory, so these should be avoided. When introducing the dogs, both dogs should be leashed, with leashes held by different people. This will be helpful in quickly pulling the dogs away from one another at the first signs of aggression. If possible, the dogs should meet prior to making any final decisions about ownership of the new dog.

Bringing a New Dog Home

After the dogs have been introduced and have interacted well, the new dog can be brought home. The dogs should be continuously supervised when interacting during the first few weeks and should be separated if tensions arise. Owners should allow dogs to establish a ranking without interfering when the dog claims certain toys or sleeping spots. During interactions, dogs may growl or snarl to set boundaries. Owners should be alert for aggressiveness, but should understand that growling is normal and is often necessary part of establishing boundaries.




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“Introducing Your Dog to a New Dog.” ASPCA. ASPCA, 1 Jan. 2014. Web. 13 Nov. 2014. <>

“Introducing Your New Dog to Your Other Dogs : The Humane Society of the United States.” The Humane Society of the United States. The Humane Society of the United States, 26 Nov. 2013. Web. 13 Nov. 2014. <>

“Pet Statistics.” ASPCA. ASPCA, 1 Jan. 2014. Web. 13 Nov. 2014. <>