I recieved a comment suggesting that I explain how to bring a new dog into a home of existing dogs. I thought that was a marvelous idea for a blog entery, especially following the latest.
 
I know there are a lot of people out there that will bring home new dogs without even thinking about it. Some people get tired of having the same ol’ predictable dogs around the house and are looking for a change, others have a craving to nuture something small and helpless, while others simply feel bad that the poor dog has no home. That’s fine and dandy, however, do not just pick out a new dog because he’s cute, or because you feel badly for him. One thing I neglected to menchion in my previous entries is that it is important to make sure the new dog you have picked out – gets along with the others at home.
 
Most places that sell or adopt out dogs will usually let you bring your own dogs to meet the new dog and make sure they connect. If they won’t… then be very wary. There may be something wrong with that dog. You always want to make sure that the little pack you have at home will get along with the new member, or you are in for a long hard road of complication.
 
That said, I know there are those of you out there that have already brought home the new dog and are having problems with the others. For you people, here is some advice seasoned with a bit of knowledge and a hint of experience.
 
Usually, the problem is with a dominant dog at home. Dominant dogs don’t like it when their people (whom they see as pack members) bring a new dog onto their turf. They will generally attack the new dog, and will even send the rest of the pack after him (assuming you have more than one already). This is because the alpha (dominant) dog didn’t clear the dog to join the pack, you did, and he sees the new dog as a threat to his territory. If this is the case in your home, I have news for you… you are not the leader of your pack, the alpha dog is. The alpha dog is the one that gets pampered, spoiled, or generally gets his way.
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Sometimes, the reverse happens. The pecking order in your home is already established and everything is fine… until the new dog comes in and tries to take over. Even if you are the leader to your dogs, the new dog may be challenging another dog for his place in the pecking order. In example: Say your pecking order is so: You are "A." Your existing dogs are "B" and "C." and the new dog is "D." Ok, stay with me… you are over your dogs. Dog "B" is over dog "C" and dog "D" is trying to take dog "B’s" place. Follow me? So if dog "B" is not submissive he will fight to keep his place in the pecking order. Make sense? This causes chaos, and sometimes dog "C" will even fight with dog "B" against dog "D." Got it?
 
Ok, so now you generally know why they are fighting, but how do you stop it? Well, you need to get the dogs on neutral territory. Some place they don’t often visit like a park. This way, there is no reason for the dogs to fight over territory. If you have more than two dogs, then get someone to help you. Now you need to walk the dogs together, but you can’t let any of them get infront of you because that is where the alpha (leader) should be, and that should be you. Walking dogs together helps them form a bond and they become a pack. You can tell a lot about who’s incharge of their dogs and what the pack structure is just from watching people walk their dogs! Submissive dogs will not walk infront, they walk behind, or beside you. If your dog is pulling you, he is the boss and is in control of the walk. Anyway, do this everyday so that the bond is formed tighter between you and your dogs. The new dog will learn his place in the pecking order without having to fight for it.
 

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One other thing to do is, keep the dogs apart at home. Let one of them out at a time to get used to the smell of the other(s). If you have multiple dogs that need to get used to a new dog, it is fine to let all of them out together while the new dog is in another room. Then switch them every few hours. This way, they can all get used to the smell of the other dog(s). You must do this in conjunction with the walking exercise or it will take longer to resolve the fighting. 

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You’ll also want to feed all of the dogs at the same time, preferably after you are finished eating. Why? Because leaders eat first, everyone else eats second in the canine world.
 
So let’s review what you’ve learned. You learned that the best way to keep your new friend from fighting with the dogs at home is to make sure they all get along before bringing the new guy home. You also learned that walking plays way more important roles in a dog’s world than simply releasing energy. It also helps build the canine social structure. Hopefully you learned that playing the leadership role with your dogs is incredibley important to keeping the peace between your dogs, and is not just used for getting your dogs to listen to you.
 
Keep in mind, most behavioral problems can be solved simply by establishing yourself as the leader of your pack. If you can do that, everything else will fall in place.
 
 

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