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  • A New Canine Companion for your Family and Family Dog

    Adding a new canine companion to a home with a dog can be great fun and offer extra companionship for both your dog and your family. The dogs need time to build a good relationship. The following tips are suggestions for safety and will help the relationship get off to a great start.

    Introduce the dogs outside your home in a neutral area. Take a short walk in the neighborhood, or at a park nearby.

    Pick up all toys, chews, bones, food bowls, and the resident dog’s favorite items. When dogs are creating a relationship these items (resources) may cause rivalry. They can be introduced after a couple of weeks.

    It is very important to avoid quarrels during these early stages of the “sibling” relationship.

    Also, you must double your supply of water dishes, food dishes, dog beds, and dog toys.

    • Do give your new dog his/her own confinement area
    • Do keep all dog play and socializing positive and brief. This will help avoid over-stimulation or quarrels which may erupt with overly rough or extended play
    • Do feed dogs in separate areas, completely closed off from one another
    • Do spend time with each dog individually
    • Do keep dogs separate when you cannot supervise interactions
    • Do supervise dogs when around family members, toys or resting areas
    • Do use a “Happy Praising Voice” whenever the dogs are having positive interactions.
    • Do use a “Strong Voice” to interrupt any growling or bully type behavior. Use a phrase such as “Too Bad” and separate the “bully-dog” to a different area for a few minutes then try again.

    DON’T give chews, rawhides, or bones (even if each dog has his/her own) when dogs are together. Wait several weeks, please! The dogs should enjoy these fun chews but only when they are separated, in their own crate or individual confinement area.

    DON’T use your hands or body to intervene during a dog quarrel. Use your voice, a loud noise or water to stop the fight. If the dogs do not stop, use a chair or other large object to insert in between them, or pull them apart by the rear legs or tail to separate. Be aware that, when dogs are fighting, they are highly aroused and it is never safe to use your hands to attempt separation.

    Reprinted with Permission of The San Francisco SPCA

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