Ask The Trainer
Ask the Trainer: Introducing a New Dog to the Household
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Q: We have a Wheaten Terrier named Jack. He is 2 years old. Our daughter is moving back in with us with her Shepherd mix, Dusty, who's about 4 years old. Both dogs have been fixed. Jack is okay with other dogs, but we have never had another dog in our house or yard. He barks if other dogs pass our yard. Dusty lives in the city and sees a lot of dogs. I want to make sure Jack and Dusty get along. What do we do?
A: It's great that you're asking for tips and not just winging it! While I can't promise you that the dogs will get along, there are good ways to up the chances of success.
Jack's barking at dogs who pass your yard doesn't necessarily mean he won't enjoy having a canine housemate. This kind of barking is usually partly territorial and partly a result of "barrier frustration" — Jack would like to go investigate those passing dogs, but can't because of the fence (or because he's indoors). Though I'd expect to see this behavior in a dog who doesn't like other members of his species, we also see it in dogs who have plenty of dog friends.