Introducing a New Dog to a Resident Dog

Introducing a new dog to a resident dog

A word before starting: when introducing dogs to one another, first impressions matter. How the dogs interact in their first few encounters can set the tone for their entire relationship, so care must be taken to set everyone up for success. Throwing them together in the back yard and letting them “work it out” can lead to heartbreak (if the integration fails) and occasionally serious injury. Follow these steps to help both dogs get to know each other slowly and carefully.

  1. Have the dogs meet on neutral territory first: this can be a neighbor’s yard, a training center, tennis court, etc. Have both dogs on-leash. Allow them to look at and sniff one another through a barrier, such as a fence, for up to 30 minutes. By then, the novelty of seeing a new dog has worn off, paving the way for a more positive introduction. Another option is to take the dogs for a walk together, keeping ten feet between them so that they cannot greet one another or stare. The idea is simply to acclimate them to each other’s presence without causing tension.
  2. Next, have the dogs meet off-leash on neutral territory. Avoid problem areas like gates, doorways or closely confined space: the more room they have to move, the less tension there will be. Wait 2 minutes while they sniff each other, then call them away and move around. If they start to play and it seems to be going well, let them play for a few minutes and then end the session. We want each initial interaction to end on a good note!
  3. Finally, have the dogs meet at home: first in the yard, then inside the house. Before the in-house introduction, take the resident dog out to the yard, then bring the new dog inside (bringing the new dog inside to meet the resident dog can create a negative reaction). Keep each interaction short and pleasant: if signs of tension arise, separate the dogs immediately and try again later. Remember that the introduction will set the tone for their relationship, so it’s important to set everyone up for success!
  4. Keep the dogs separate while you are away, either in separate rooms or crates. This is both to prevent injurious fights and the development of inappropriate behavior in your new dog (such as chewing and housesoiling).
  5. While the dogs can settle minor disputes with each other (such as growling the other off of a toy or their own food bowl), they aren’t allowed to limit each other’s access to you, your family and common areas of the home. In many multi-dog households, contrary to popular belief, there is neither a “dominant” nor a “submissive” dog, but individuals whose roles change depending on the context involved (ex: a dog that claims access to a favorite toy may let another dog claim the couch). Instead of “supporting the dominance” of any one dog, establish yourself as a benevolent leader, rewarding polite behavior and managing the environment to prevent conflicts from developing.
  6. For more information, see the booklet “Feeling Outnumbered? How to Manage and Enjoy Your Multi-Dog Household” by Karen London, Ph.D. and Patricia McConnell, Ph.D., available for purchase at the AHS Training School.

This material is copyright of Animal Humane Society and can only be used with written permission.

How Can I Become a Dog Trainer?

How can I become a dog trainer?

Many people express interest in the field of dog training, but are unsure of how to get started, or what qualifications are required.  This article aims to clarify the process.

Counter conditioning and desensitization

Counter conditioning and desensitization

These two techniques are often used to change unwanted behavior in dogs and cats. Just as the term implies, counter conditioning means conditioning (training) an animal to display a behavior that is counter to (mutually exclusive of) an unacceptable behavior in response to a particular stimulus. For example, a dog cannot be trying to bite the letter carrier and at the same time greeting them in a friendly, excited manner.  

Managing an Agressive Pet

Managing aggression

First things first: aggression is not a “do-it-yourself” project.  If your dog or cat has shown aggression toward people or other animals, it is critical to seek help from a qualified professional who can evaluate your dog and provide assistance with long-term behavior modification.  If your pet has bitten a person or another animal, we recommend contacting one of the following professionals to schedule a consultation:

Terri Derr, DVM (612-360-7227)

Recommended Reading List

Training School recommended reading list

Basic training for dogs and puppies

The Power of Positive Dog Training by Pat Miller. Pat Miller is a prolific writer for many dog magazines, including Dog Fancy and Whole Dog Journal, and this book is a must for every pet owner’s library.

Culture Clash (2nd Edition) by Jean Donaldson. A wildly popular and provocative book that challenges our assumptions about how dogs think and how we think about them.

Therapy animals

Therapy animals

Therapy animals and service animals have very different purposes. Service animals are trained to meet the disability-related needs of their handlers who have disabilities. Therapy animals provide people with contact to animals, but are not limited to working with people who have disabilities. For more details about the distinction, please see the Pet Partners website.

Introduction to Therapy Animals

Animals of almost any kind can become therapy animals. Join us for an Introduction to Therapy Animals class and find out what it takes to become part of an animal-assisted therapy team with your pet. You will learn:

  • What is animal-assisted therapy?
  • How do I know if my pet would be a good therapy animal?
  • What kinds of training do I and my pet need to be an animal therapy team?
  • How can I get involved with the Animal Airport Ambassadors, Canine Inspired Change, or another therapy visiting program?

This introduction is free, but registration is required. For more information or to register, call (763) 489-2217 or contact us online. Humans only, please!

Therapy animal classes for dogs

Does your dog enjoy people? Would you like to make a difference in your community? If you answered yes to both of these questions then volunteering as a therapy dog team might be just for you!

After your dog passes the Canine Good Citizen test you are eligible to enroll in the Therapy Dog Class. You will learn the skills needed to join Animal Airport Ambassadors, Canine Inspired Change, or another therapy group and practice visiting facilities of your choice (hospitals, nursing homes, libraries, physical therapy centers, and schools) in simulated situations.

Preview sessions

A free preview to the therapy dog class will be offered to CGC graduates once a month. Please contact the Training School at (763) 489-2217 to register for upcoming preview classes.

Therapy animal classes for cats, rabbits and guinea pigs

Does your pet always seem to brighten the mood as it snuggles and nuzzles everyone in the room? Then it might have what it takes to be a therapy animal. Therapy work traditionally uses dogs, but there are a number of facilities and programs in the Twin Cities seeking small critters to come and visit. In fact, cats, rabbits and guinea pigs are in high demand at nursing homes, senior centers, schools, hospitals and other places where therapy animals help make a difference in people’s lives.

As part of the class, you and your pet will go through mock scenarios that are similar to what you would experience in a hospital or school setting. There are 20 visiting exercises that your pet must demonstrate to become a therapy animal. The class will help teach your pet behavior that is reliable, controllable and predictable. To become registered as a therapy animal team, you and your pet need to pass a Pet Partners evaluation.

To learn more about therapy animals, attend an Introduction to Therapy Animals session (registration required, no cost) at the Animal Humane Society nearest you. Training classes are offered several times a year for Therapy Cats and Therapy Rabbits/Guinea Pigs. For more information, please call (763) 489-2217 or contact us online.

Upcoming therapy animal classes

Introduction to Therapy Animals (Humans only. No pets please.)

  • Wednesday, September 10, at 7:00pm
    Saint Paul Animal Humane Society (directions)
  • Wednesday, October 15, at 7:00pm
    Golden Valley Animal Humane Society (directions
  • Friday, November 14, at 7:00pm
    Woodbury Animal Humane Society (directions)
  • Wednesday, December 10, at 7:00pm
    Golden Valley Animal Humane Society (directions
  • Wednesday, January 14, at 7:00pm
    Saint Paul Animal Humane Society (directions)
  • Wednesday, February 11, at 7:00pm
    Golden Valley Animal Humane Society (directions

 

Therapy Dog Class
Call (763) 489-2217 or contact us online for more information.

Therapy Cat Class
Classes are held at the Golden Valley Animal Humane Society site (directions)  
Call (763) 489-2217 or contact us online for more information and upcoming class dates.

Therapy Rabbit and Guinea Pig Class
Classes are held at the Golden Valley Animal Humane Society site (directions)  
Call (763) 489-2217 or contact us online for more information and upcoming class dates.

Pet behavior resources

Pet behavior resources

Sometimes pet behavior problems seem overwhelming, but many can be managed with the application of a little knowledge and a little effort. Keeping pets in their homes in a manner that's comfortable for both pet and owner is one of our many goals at Animal Humane Society.

Pet Behavior Library

This online library contains tried-and-true methods for managing many common pet behavior problems as well as tools for evaluating situations that may require additional resources. Please browse the list of titles below and study the information that's relevant to your particular situation. Try the solutions that are offered.

Pet Behavior Helpline: (763) 489-2202

Need help right away? Call our Behavior Helpline. We’re here to answer your behavior questions about your pet, and we might just be able to help you resolve an issue that will keep your pet at home, with you. All messages returned within 24 hours.

Local animal behavior specialists

Canine and feline aggression is best handled by a professional veterinarian who specializes in behavior due to the potential for serious injury. Because phone counseling is inadequate for addressing a serious problem like animal aggression, we ask that you contact the following professionals for help:

Terri A. Derr, D.V.M.
Veterinary Behavior Options
612-360-7227
info@vetbehavioroptions.com

Margaret Duxbury, DVM
University of Minnesota
612-624-0797
Dana Ashlin-Emerson, coordinator

Lorna Reichl, DVM
Midwest Veterinary Behavior Services
lreichl@midwestveterinarybehaviorservices.com
612-300-1937

Dog training class schedules

Training School class schedules

Introduction to Dog Training sessions

Attend the intro sessions in person or online.

Complete list of October 2014 classes

Training School classes

Coon Rapids
Map and directions

 

Golden Valley
Map and directions
 
Now Boarding (South Minneapolis)
Map and directions
 
Woodbury
Map and directions
 


Questions?

Review our Training School FAQ, call us at 763-489-2217, or send an email.

Training School FAQ

Training School FAQ

Training school application and fees

Training School application and fees

Training School fees

Levels Program 2-month training pass $165
Levels Program 4-month training pass $285
Therapy Dog 10-week class $190
Reactive Rovers 8-week class $250

$20 discount for Animal Humane Society adoptees if registered within 3 months of adoption.

Training School application

There are two ways to submit your application:

  • Complete it online and pay the full amount for your class with your Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express on our Secure Site.

-OR-

  • Download and print a blank application (PDF), complete it, and mail it to us with your personal check or credit card information for payment. You can also bring the completed application to the Introduction to Dog Training session with you. 

Class registration will not be considered complete until both the application and payment are received and approved by our training staff. You will receive a confimation call to let you know that we have you enrolled in class. $20 fee for returned checks.

All students must attend the Introduction to Dog Training class at one of our locations or you may complete the Introduction to Dog Training class online.

PLEASE NOTE: Due to large demand, we currently have a waiting list for new students with dogs over 18 weeks old (we do have space in our puppy classes). Please call 763-489-2217 for more information.

Renewal pass application

This application is for current or past students wishing to extend their Training School pass. Complete it online.

Questions?

Review our Training School FAQ, call us at 763-489-2217, or send an email.

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