How to Acclimate Two Dogs

When you decide to add an additional dog to your household, you must acclimate your dogs to one another, which can prevent them from fighting and displaying aggressive behavior. In most cases, the "old" dog that has already been residing in your home may feel territorial and defend their home against the "new" dog. With the proper introduction between your dogs, you can effectively acclimate your dogs and eliminate violence and aggressive behavior in your home.


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    Choose a neutral location for the introduction between your dogs. This will prevent both of your dogs from being territorial if they view the location as theirs. For example, if you introduce your dogs to each other at home, the old dog may display aggressive, territorial behavior toward the new dog.
    • Choose a location such as a park or a friend's backyard that both of your dogs have never visited.
    • If you obtain your new dog from a shelter, the shelter may require you to introduce your dogs to one another at the shelter before you are allowed to take them home.
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    Take your dogs to the neutral location.
    • Ask a friend or family member to meet you at the location separately with one of your dogs. This will allow you to keep the dogs separated until a proper introduction is made.
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    Attach leashes to both dogs. Leashes will restrain your dogs and prevent them from attacking one another if aggressive behavior is displayed.
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    Take your dogs for a walk in a single-file line. This procedure will stimulate a companionable hunting nature between both dogs and decrease the amount of emotional intensity that can be experienced with face-to-face introductions.
    • Instruct your partner to start walking their dog, then begin to follow them with your dog. You should be walking close enough so that your dog is walking directly behind the other dog.
    • Continue to walk until your dog begins to sniff the other dog from behind as they are walking. Although the dog in front may pause when they sense your dog sniffing, encourage all parties to continue to walk.
    • Trade positions with your partner after your dog has sniffed the other dog. This will allow the dog that was previously in front to sniff your dog from behind.
    • Continue to trade positions with your partner until both dogs have experienced the front and back walking positions several times. This will allow your dogs to become more acclimated and familiar with one another.
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    Walk your dogs side by side for at least 30 minutes. This will allow your dogs to establish direct contact as they continue to maintain a companionable relationship.
    • Give your dogs positive praise when you see them acting friendly with one another. Petting your dog and using verbal praise will encourage them to continue to get along with each other.
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    Take your dogs home. After the walk, your dogs will be relaxed and familiar enough with one another to co-exist in the same living environment without displaying aggressive behavior.


  • If you are still having difficulty acclimating your dogs to each other, consult with an animal behaviorist for assistance with how to train and manage both dogs to co-exist in the same environment.
  • Allow your dogs to sniff one another's excrement and urine after each dog has finished the act. This is a form of communication between your dogs and indicates that they are becoming acclimated and comfortable with one another.


  • If you are bringing a new puppy into your home, do not leave the puppy in the company of your adult dog unsupervised. Your puppy may unintentionally pester the adult dog and elicit bites. If unsupervised, keep your puppy separated from your adult dog until the puppy is at least 4 months old.
  • Do not allow your dogs to play together if they assume "play-bows" during the introduction walk. A play-bow is when your dog crouches down with the front half of their body while extended their rear end upwards. If your dogs play before they have completed the introduction walk, their behavior may become aggressive.

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Categories: Dogs