Hi, hoomans! Mozart here. We big dogs have a lot of love to give. Can you imagine two times the love? And dog hair, and slobbery kisses, and nuzzles, and bathroom breaks, too. There may come a time when you hope to introduce another dog to your pack so you can multiply the love, and we think that’s great! A lot of dogs would love to have another pup around for bonus playtime and cuddles.

Here are some steps to follow for the absolute best results.

If you’re thinking about adopting a new dog, there are some steps you should follow to make sure everyone is happy and healthy—you, your current dog or dogs, and the doggo you hope to bring into the fold. It’s a lot of personalities to mesh, so patience and understanding are key.

Find Neutral Ground

When meeting the potential new pup, make sure you’re all on neutral ground. This will help you avoid any feelings of possession and give all the dogs in the equation a chance to get to know each other while on the same level.

This might be a local park or perhaps even a friend’s backyard, as long as your friend doesn’t already have his or her own dogs. Make sure there aren’t any toys or snacks to fight over, too. If you bring treats along, keep them hidden until you distribute, and then give equal amounts to all the dogs.

Take a Walk

After the pups have met, it’s time to go for a little walk together. Now, the best way to proceed is parallel walking, but we know that not all dogs will move forward in a straight line. I don’t, and it drives George bonkers! Just do the best you can to make sure they’re a good distance apart so they don’t get tangled up.

Every once in a while, switch sides so that the dogs can sniff out information about each other. Give them some time to really dig their noses in—yes, even around the pee. We learn a lot about each other from sniffing pee.

While we’re walking, keep the grip on the leash loose if you can. We can feel the tension, and it might make us tense, too.

Give Some Face Time

Once you’ve given the pups a chance to really gather some info on each other, it’s time to let them really meet face to face. They’ll probably already know by this point if they’ll like each other.

Pay close attention to their body language when they meet, and keep them on the leashes for extra protection. Watch for aggressive posturing, with upright ears and curled lips to expose the teeth. The dogs’ forehead might wrinkle up, and the tail will be raised. Watch, too, to see if any of the dogs are feeling intimidated. They may dart away, tuck their tails, or lower their heads. A scared dog may still defend itself if he feels like he’s about to be attacked.

Dogs that are aggressive or intimidated may still learn to get along, but you’ll have a tough road ahead of you. It’s better for you and your pack to seek out a good match up front rather than trying to squeeze the wrong puzzle piece into your picture.

Wagging tails and bodies are what you want to see! If you see that the dogs are excited and ready for some fun, let them take a few moments to play together. You’ll see the famous “play bow,” when they put their elbows on the ground and rear end in the air. That means they’re ready to connect. They’ll still sniff things out, so be ready for stops and starts.  

If you get this far, you’ll be ready to introduce a new dog into your home. George will tell you all about that next time.

Expect big things!