We all love dogs. Their adorable eyes and unmistakable loyalty can melt even the coldest heart. Dog families come in all sizes. Some families adopt two dogs at the same time and they grow up together. Others don’t decide to add to their pet family until later. Adding a new dog into a family with resident dogs can be complicated. But, it doesn’t have to be. You take the necessary steps. In this post, we’ll share some best practices to ensure you are doing all you can to create a loving pet home.


When adding a new dog into a family, most people gravitate towards a puppy. Puppies are adorable and so much fun. They have seemingly endless amounts of energy. And while we humans find that rambunctiousness endearing, it may not be seen as a good thing by our resident dogs. Pups have a great capacity to learn and more mature pooches can help teach the new addition our social norms and the routine of your household.

When introducing your puppy to your current dog, it’s important to supervise the encounters. Try introducing them in a neutral place. Keep both dogs on a leash so that you can prevent the youthful pup from overstimulating your resident dog. And, when you do bring your new puppy home, be sure to have separate hideaways so that your resident dog has a place to retreat when the excitement becomes too much.

An age difference should definitely be a consideration when adopting a new pet but adding some youthful exuberance into the mix can help to keep your older pooch vibrant.

Adult dogs

While puppies are adorable, you may not want to take on all the work that comes with raising them. Adult dogs can also make a fantastic addition to any family. The process of incorporating an adult dog is different from a puppy but the introductions are very similar.

Similar to introducing a puppy, initial interactions are best done at a neutral location to remove any territorial inclinations. Keep them on leashes to control their interactions until you feel they can behave appropriately with each other. This process may take awhile but, it’s important to understand that these first few meetings greatly impact the long term relationships between both pets.

It is not enough just to supervise the first few interactions. You really need to plan and manage how your new and resident pets will get to know each other. Unlike puppies, adult dogs are familiar with what types of interactions they do and don’t like. Resident dogs can be territorial so, forcing them to share space immediately is never a good idea. It is important that both members of your pet family have their own space where they can feel comfortable.

Rescue dogs

Adopting a rescue dog can be one of the most rewarding experiences a pet owner can have. Even with no other pets, rescue pets can present unique challenges. If you are introducing a rescue into your home with a resident dog, strict adherence to the process is even more important.

Just like with puppies and adult dogs, monitoring how they interact is vital. When adopting, it is crucial that you find out the struggles your potential new pooch has endured. This will allow you to set the proper expectations for integrating the adoptee into your life.

Unfortunately, the chances are high that they will have experienced trauma and may be less patient in uncomfortable situations. The introduction phase may take longer but, taking the necessary time will make a difficult situation more manageable for you and your pets.


For many people adopting a pet sibling can be an intimidating dream. But, if we take the necessary steps to properly introduce a new dog to our resident dog much of that stress can be eliminated.

Planning and patience are the keys to success. It is important to empathize with your four-legged friends. Show them equal amounts of affections and set reasonable expectations. Remember, your pets will respond to your emotions. So, be sure to put on an encouraging face to aid in initial bonding.

Guest Blogger: Abi Pennavaria



Abi Pennavaria is a dog mom, avid vet volunteer, and co-author of Saved By The Bark blog. She enjoys sharing tips and tricks for dog owners of all breeds.