We recently decided for some reason to add a new puppy to our pack of Boston Terriers. Well, we have two Boston Terriers and a very old Miniature Schnauzer. Our future daughter inlaw is also over a lot with her Frenchton. So you can guess how much fun it was adding a few-month-old Great Dane to the mix.
Slowly and on neutral ground is the answer for how do you introduce a new dog to your current dogs. Make sure you take them both outside the home on a leash for the initial introduction. Then slowly work your way up to the backyard and the home. Be careful, it takes around a month for dogs to really accept each other.
If you would like to learn more on how to introduce a new dog, we will go through all the steps you should use. We will also go over all the ups and downs we have had introducing our new puppy to the pack. So please read on if you are curious.
The First Step is to Not Give Home Field Advantage
Your home is also your dog’s home. I know that sounded like an obvious thing to say but think about how you feel about your home. It’s a place you feel safe and want to protect from anyone taking it from you. A dog who lives in a home has these same types of feelings about their home.
How protective of the home and how aggressive they will be depends on the type of dog. It also depends on how many dogs are in the home. If you have a pack of dogs meaning more than one it will change how they react because they will follow the leader or Alpha of the pack.
So when you consider how to introduce a new puppy to your dog or established pack, don’t do it in your home. Instead, you will need to bring the dogs together outside of the home and outside of the yard. Don’t forget when they are running around peeing on everything outside they are claiming it as theirs.
The Alpha goes first
When you are about to start introducing your dogs think about which one is the Alpha dog. It’s usually easy to figure out as it’s the dog you are most concerned about. For us, it was our female Boston Terrier. We know that our other two would eventually accept the new puppy but she would not like him taking away cuddly time from mom.
I have seen people on tv and on youtube show you introducing the entire pack to the puppy in order to just let the natural process work itself out. I am not interested in letting my new puppy get hurt so I much rather do the introductions slowly and in a safe manner.
Have a way to split them up other than your hands
Before you introduce the dogs remember it may go south. You need to have a way to split the dogs apart without having to put your hands in harm’s way. I recommend a leash so that you can pull them apart if needed and you can also use it to walk the two dogs next to each other.
The last time I had a dog bite me was due to this exact situation. My mother-in-law has a Boston Terrier who is a little aggressive with other dogs. My daughter-in-law has a dog that doesn’t understand personal space. So when they both came over at the same time it did not go well.
I forgot to add that I had baby gates up in the house because I also had just got my Boston Terriers and they were getting used to not peeing all over my house. This gate is the only reason I got bit but the dogs didn’t hurt each other.
As you would expect these two puppies did not get along well. The one dog tried to play and jump on the Boston Terrier, then the Boston Terrier tried to destroy the aggravating new dog. The only thing that stopped them was the baby gate, which also made them much madder.
As the two dogs were trying to kill each other through the gate I had no lease or way to split them up. Of course, there are tons of family around and a good amount of them are very nervous about the situation. This energy is picked up by the dogs and they also think something is wrong but they don’t realize it’s them making others nervous.
I went to reach down and grab the Boston Terrier to get him away from the gate. The plan in my mind was to grab his back legs and pull him away a little until it broke his stair so that I could then get the situation under control. Well, he was much faster than I gave him credit for.
As I reached down he felt me moving to grab him. Before I could get my hand on his leg he got me. It was in less than a second he had turned and caught my finger in his mouth, bit me, and then went back to trying to kill the other dog. My reaction was well now that I was bit, I wasn’t as worried about being bit. I also wasn’t trying to sneak up on him anymore. So I was able to pin him to the ground and get him to calm down.
To this day the Boston Terrier who bit me and the Frenchton are still not friends. As a matter of fact that Boston Terrier has not only bitten me but he attached another dog of mine while he was staying at my In-law’s house.
I say all of that to say you should make sure to socialize your puppy early when you get them and ensure they do not become dog aggressive. Also, use a leash to introduce dogs so you don’t become a chew toy.
What to Expect on the Introduction
If you are curious about what to expect when you introduce a new puppy to your current dogs, the answer is everything and nothing. Each dog is different and they react differently. Sometimes you know that your dog will be aggressive but sometimes they will surprise you.
Our female Boston Terriers introduction went just about like I expected. My wife had the new puppy on a leash which could have been the problem now that I look back on it. When I walked out of the door with the female Boston Terrier on the leash her hair stuck up.
I am not sure if it was because there was another dog in front of our house or because it was being held by my female dog’s favorite person in the world. Either way as I expected as soon as we were close enough our female jumped at the new puppy trying to bite it. The new puppy ran.
Over the next hour or so we walked up and down the street constantly praising both dogs when they would give each other a sniff or ignore each other. After what felt like forever we moved from the natural area to the backyard. This is a good next step as it isn’t the house but it is very close.
We watch them close and after a while let them run around off the leash. For the most part, they did not have many more issues. She ignored him and he only aggravated her once in a while. For the next step, we had to move this into the house and knew that was going to be a very hard transition.
We knew that if we just threw them into the house it would not go well. So what we did was put the female dog in her kennel and put her in the middle of the room. We then just let the new puppy run around and got her used to being in the house with the puppy and showed her it was ok.
Lastly, we let her out and watched them very hard. There were a few corrections needed and most times it was when all of the dogs tried to get close to mom.
After this, we introduced each dog in the same way. All of them had similar results but took significantly less time than the alpha dog did.
What you need to watch out for when all of the dogs are together the first time
The energy in the room is what you need to watch out for. All of the dogs are trying to see if it’s ok to let this new intruder in. They are all waiting for the sign one way or another. For the most part, they are just waiting for one of the other dogs to get excited and they will all jump on the puppy.
So watch the play and watch each dog. Make sure none of them are getting a little too excited. The energy level can quickly get out of control and the next thing you know is playing changed to lets get rid of this new puppy.
How long does it take for a new dog to be accepted into the pack?
When you bring home a new puppy at first you will watch it like a hawk. You are looking to make sure it doesn’t pee and watching so that your other dogs are being nice to it. Over a little time you will find that you get more comfortable with the puppy and of course will watch it less and less.
It takes most dogs 2 to 4 weeks to for your current dogs to fully accept a new puppy into the pack. Once you get past a month you will be able to feel safe leaving the dogs unsupervised for much longer periods. Every dog is different and some accept them from day one but others will take the full month.
When you decide to add a new puppy to your home it is a happy time. Everyone is so excited to see this new addition to the family. Well if you have dogs already maybe not everyone.
Depending on your dog’s temperament and how well it was socialized with dogs for its entire life may change how easy it is for them to accept a new puppy. This doesn’t mean you can’t add a new puppy it will just change how long it will take.
If you have dogs that will not run up and be so excited to accept the new puppy you need to start very slow. Follow all the steps we wrote out above and make sure everyone is comfortable and accepting before the new puppy is let into the house. This will keep him and you safe from any accidents.
One final item to think about when you are introducing your new puppy to the pack is your own reaction. If you are a very nervous person it may be a good idea to let someone else be involved in the introduction. The reason being is that dogs can feel when their owners are not comfortable.
So if your dogs feel you are very nervous and scared they will not know what they will just know something is wrong. So if you take that feeling and combine it with this new puppy in the house you can quickly see why they will attack it.
As far as they understand you are freaked out and they want to make you calm and safe. So they will remove the threat. So stay calm and take your time with the introduction. Don’t try to rush it or force it.
Also, it may be a good idea to remove the favorite toy from the area. My dogs have a few bones they love to chew on. I know just from watching them they don’t like when anyone takes their bone away. So I knew if I did not pick up the bones there will be some fights. If you are looking for a few more tips check out the AKC page on introducing dogs HERE.
I hope this post has helped and I would love to see your new puppy. Find us on Twitter and send us a picture. So we can welcome them to the new pack. @BostonterrierNa is our Twitter handle.