Goldendoodles are fun-loving, social beings. But what if we are bringing a new Goldendoodle home to be a member of a family that already includes another dog? A commenter asked this question.
The first thing we’re going to have to remember is to control the environment. That is always the first step in training. Limit distractions as much as possible and remove things that can cause injury to your dogs. In the case of bringing a new dog home, this is going to include bedding, food dishes, and toys about which one dog may be protective or territorial.
Walking them together
You may wonder why we’re going to walk the dogs together before bringing them in the house. The reason for this is simple. Your house is going to be your first dog’s territory. He is going to have his scent all over it. The couch in the living room, the mat by the back door, the carpet, everything is going to be his. Remember, you are going to control their environment. This means picking a spot neither of them can lay claim to.
Once you have selected the spot, keep both dogs on a leash and remember to look for tell-tale signs and body language that things may or may not be going smoothly. If the dogs are reacting to one another like long-lost littermates with lolling tongues and wagging tails and bodies, this could be easy.
Start walking the dogs in the same direction. Stay far enough away they know the other dog is there but not trying to make contact. Switch sides. Let each one smell where the other dog has been. When they start being more relaxed, bring them closer. Do not walk them so they meet face-to-face as this can be stressful.
If you notice their bodies are tensing up or seeing hard stares, frozen postures, or a tucked tail, keep a buffer between the two. When they can be close and are still relaxed, select an enclosed area like a fenced yard and allow them to be together with a dropped leash. Keep the leash attached in case their body language changes and you need to keep them apart.
Bringing the new dog into the house
You should introduce the two dogs to each other in a neutral location outside the home. Once that has been accomplished, you are ready to bring the new dog into the house. It is best if you leave the leashes on.
Control the environment. Bring the new dog in first. This gives her a chance to get used to the area and know the scent of the dog she met outside. When you bring in your other dog, make sure the new dog is in an open area in the house. Tight spaces can be stressful.
Watch for tense body language and intervene before it escalates. If this happens, separate them and let them have a cooling down time. Keep to your schedules and give them alone time. This could be crating them at different times or taking them for separate walks.
For the first few weeks, don’t leave them home together without supervision. And if they do get in a spat, keep them separated for a few days before bringing them back together. At some point, if they can’t seem to get used to one another, you may have to enlist the help of a trainer.
Controlling the environment and watching for stressed body language are the best tips you can have when introducing a new dog into your house.