For the most, dogs are social animals, and it is natural for them to get along well with one another. That said, any dog may not get along with another dog, even when they have gotten along well for years. Here is how to set yourself and your dog up for success when living with another dog.
Keep things neutral at first
When dogs are just getting to know each other, is best to introduce them on neutral ground such as during a walk in the neighborhood. As dogs get to know each other, keep them separated by a baby gate so that they can interact and get to know each other and so that you can observe social signals without risk of a fight occurring.
This is even more important if either of the dogs has ever shown aggression in the past or if there is a significant size difference between them.
Never leave dogs together unsupervised until they have developed a positive social relationship. Even then, it is best not to leave dogs alone together when you are out of earshot. This is especially important if either dog has ever shown aggression with another dog before or if it belongs to a breed that may be prone to dog aggression.
Here are some things to look for as your dogs interact.
Positive signals to reward
- Invitations to play like play bowing towards the other dog. Encourage dogs to interact in playful ways and guide them so their play isn’t too rough
- Choosing to touch each other when standing or lying down. This should not be confused with dogs pushing against each other, but rather is distinctly both dogs choosing to be together
Things to watch for and discourage
- Pushing in between you or other people in the family and the other dog in a jealous way
- Stiffness or standing over the other dog or any signs of aggression
In order for you to train your dog to live with another dog, you need to carefully observe their social behavior and guide their interactions as well as encouraging what you want and discouraging what you don’t want from the moment they meet and throughout their relationship. Not every dog can learn to live with another dog, but if you take things slowly and carefully monitor interactions, most dogs can have positive relationships with other dogs in the household and will benefit from living with other dogs.