How to Introduce the Newest Addition to Your Pet Family

The dog trainer is in to answer your questions. Alexandra Macias, owner and operator of the Long Beach-based Alex Macias dog training, will be sitting down and answering readers’ pet-related inquiries.

Dear Alex,

My husband and I just adopted another dog. But haven’t brought him home yet. How do we introduce them, and make sure they get along?


Hi Josephine,

When introducing dogs to each other, it’s important to meet in a neutral location. We don’t want either dog to feel territorial or protective of the space. Follow these steps during the introduction to keep the peace:

  1. Have both dogs on leash, and approach each other slowly. Watch for the following signs of possible aggression:
    • Ears down and back
    • Stiff body
    • Stiff tail
    • Raised hackles
    • Gums/teeth bared
    • Body leaning forward
    • Lunging
    • Barking/growling
  2. If any of these signs are noticed, they may not be a good match.
  3. If none of the above are seen, keep walking by each other at a safe distance. Continue to watch the body language.
  4. If things are still running smoothly, let them briefly sniff each other’s rear ends. Nose to rear is how dogs check each other out, and is less confrontational than nose to nose.
  5. If we’re all still getting along, go on a walk together. Moving keeps their minds off of each other, and focused on something other than meeting a new friend. Continue to keep an eye on each dog’s body language throughout the entire walk.

Following these steps should set both dogs up for success. If you’re nervous, don’t hesitate to contact a dog trainer or behaviorist for help. WOOF!


Alexandra (Alex) Macias has been a certified Dog Trainer and Behavior Specialist since 2008, and is the owner of Alex Macias Dog training, a Long Beach-based dog training company. To ask Alexandra questions for a future article, leave them in the comments below, or email her at [email protected].

Above, left: file photo. 

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