When we brought our new 4-month-old Great Dane puppy home to meet his already settled in year and half old sister Rosie, a stubborn bulldog it was quite a scene. Rosie was already acclimated and content. Clarence however was a full of nerves and scared of everything, that poor puppy had never even been outside. We tried to get him settled in, his crate placed closely next to hers so the two could bond and bond they did! A few days after Clarence’s arrival into the family we went out for dinner, when we came back mayhem had occurred. This massive yet gentle puppy had broken out of his crate breaking his nose in the process. He didn’t stop there; he also somehow someway sprang his sister. After he freed himself we can only assume that he pawed at the latch on her crate until it opened. You can imagine our surprise when we came in to find them both lying together on the carpet, crates hacked and vacant. After that they were bonded for life, best friends, siblings, however you want to look at it. Point being you can plan as much as you want but sometimes things just happen.
That is not to say you shouldn’t prepare. Here are some useful tips. When you go to pick up the new dog leave the other dog at home. You want to keep pick-up as low key as possible. When you do arrive home introduce them to each other on neutral territory outside of the home. The lawn, a park, driveway, sidewalk anywhere, but not inside. Introduce them with leashes on (loose) and keep the meet and greet lighthearted. The dogs will sense your apprehension and nerves so keep your voice happy with friendly tones. Keep food bowls separate. To this day Rosie and Clarence (they are 10 and 11) have their bowls on opposite sides of the kitchen and his is raised on a level where she can’t reach. You want to avoid competition. This goes for food, water and toys. As far as toys go I always had two of everything. Rosie still tried to hoard everything for herself, but that’s just her. Give them each their own sleeping space (we tried) they don’t have to be too close to each other. Everyone needs his or her own space.
Remember do everything gradually, especially the first introductions. Dogs can be territorial so you need to respect that. Everyone will find his or her place within the family. Make sure you have the proper resources and enough time and energy to treat both equally. If that’s all good then having more than one is double the fun!