Remember that dogs are territorial pets
Question: I've had my dog, Winston, for two years and am considering adopting a new dog. What can I do to ensure both can live happily together?
Answer: Dogs enjoy spending time with their own kind, but they are also territorial. Winston might see the introduction of a new animal as an intrusion.
If you are adopting from a shelter, look for a dog with the same energy level or lower than Winston. Bring Winston with you so the two dogs can meet in a neutral setting. A separate person should handle each animal.
Use positive reinforcement so both dogs have a pleasant experience. Let them sniff each other, which is normal canine behavior, while you talk to them in a happy, friendly tone of voice. After allowing time to investigate, get both dogs' attention and give them a treat for obeying simple commands such as "sit" or "stay." When they both seem relaxed around each other, drop the leashes and observe their behavior quietly.
The new dog can be taken home when both appear comfortable.
If Winston isn't the only resident dog, it might be best to introduce the new pet to his other housemates one at a time.
Q: If I decide to adopt a puppy, does the introduction process change?
A: An adult dog and a puppy are comparable to an older and younger sibling -- the younger usually pesters the older relentlessly.
Well-socialized adult dogs with good temperaments might set limits with puppies with a growl or snarl, which is normal behavior. If the puppy is less than 4 months old, he might not recognize the subtle body postures from an adult dog signaling he's had enough.
A puppy shouldn't be left alone with an adult dog who is not well socialized, as the older canine might attempt to set limits with more aggressive behaviors, such as biting. Offer the adult dog individual attention and quiet time away from the pup.
The Hawaiian Humane Society welcomes questions by e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org
. Indicate "Pet Ohana" in the subject line. Or, write "Pet Ohana," Hawaiian Humane Society, 2700 Waialae Ave., Honolulu, HI 96826.