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Dogs, Quick Tips

Introducing a New Dog into a Home With Existing Pets

The Paw Print

Essential Pet Blog

1 black and white french bulldog and 1 black french bulldog on a leash, looking at camera, with woman's legs in the background.
Introducing a New Dog into a Home With Existing Pets

So you’ve decided to expand your pack. Congratulations! You’re excited, your human family members are excited, and your new pup is excited, but how will it impact your current four-legged family members? Introducing a new dog into your home when you already have pets can be a tricky road to navigate. It’s important to remember that not everyone in your home may be excited about this change, but the way you manage introductions can make all the difference in the world. If a new pet is in your future, don’t worry, we’ve got several tips for making this transition a smooth one.

How to introduce a new pet into a home with existing pets

Establish familiarity

Before making introductions, bring something with the new dog’s scent into your home. Your current pets will have the opportunity to “meet” the new pup through scent first. This slow introduction is a good way to establish familiarity gradually.


Location matters here. When you’re introducing a new dog, it’s important to do so in a neutral location to avoid territorial behavior. Your current dogs can feel threatened if you introduce the new pet on their turf.


Allow the dogs to meet each other in the neutral location you’ve selected. Each dog should be on a leash and should be allowed to make the introduction as they feel comfortable. Don’t force the dogs to meet, allow them to encounter each other as they are ready to. It’s important to be patient here, and allow the dogs to sniff and greet each other on their own time.

If the dogs sniff each other and are displaying good behavior, offer praise and positive verbal reinforcement and plenty of petting. Lead the dogs away from each other to give them a break, and then allow them to encounter each other again.

Bringing the new dog into your home

When you’re comfortable that all of the pets can get along outside of the home, it’s time to introduce your new dog into your home. Remove all toys, bedding, or any of your current pet’s favorite items to avoid any fights. Only allow your current pets and new pet to have their toys when they’re in separate areas of your home, at least until the new dog has settled in.

Allow your new dog to familiarize itself with your home under a close watch for the first few weeks until he or she learns the ropes. Use baby gates and doors to limit the new dog’s access to your home until you are confident that they are acclimated to their new environment.

Monitoring play

Not every dog plays with the same level of intensity, and even the most innocent and good-natured play can take a turn for the worst. Monitor your dogs play time, and watch body language for any signs of aggression (teeth barring, tensed mouth, growling, hair standing up down their back, prolonged staring).

Calming Aids

Transitioning a new pet into your home can be stressful for everyone. Sometimes it can be helpful to implement calming aids in the form of collars or chewables to ease the tension. Offer a calming aid as a treat to both pets to help them become comfortable around each other.

Bringing a new pet into your home is exciting, even though it can cause stress. With enough patience and attention, your current furry family members can learn to accept a new family member into their pack.

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