What's the best way to introduce your dog to a new pal? Your approach is important, because a bad start can be tough to overcome. Here are four tips:
1. Don't bring one dog into another dog's home. This can result in territorial and aggressive behavior. Instead, choose a large, open neutral territory, like a park. The more the dogs can move around, the better they can get to know one another.
2. Don't put the dogs together until they show friendly body language. Try introducing them through a see-through fence or keep each dog on a loose leash during introductions.
3. Another option: Crate them both where they can see each other -- but not touch. When they are calm, let one dog out of the crate; then put him back and let the second out. They can sniff and get to know one another through the crate.
4. Never make an introduction that involves sharing of food or toys. This sets up competition that can cause anxiety, aggression, or fighting. It's OK to give the dogs treats – just make sure you give them in a way that is not competitive. And if the new pals are going to share a home, give each one lots of individual attention. It's the best way to ensure their emotional health!