Introducing Dogs to One Another

two dogs meeting: a tense situation

You may think that the dog you want to adopt is adorable, but if the other dog(s) in your home don’t agree, the adoption will fail. To give you the best chance of making a successful addition to your household, be sure to bring your dog(s) to the meet-up and follow the advice shown below for making doggie introductions.

Dogs communicate through body language, so you need to know what to look for when introducing your resident dog to a new dog you are interested in adopting. Here is a quick step by step on how to successfully introduce two dogs, and what to look for.

  1. Make sure both dogs are on a leash. Do not allow them to rush into each other’s face. Take note of how they are acting (refer to the table below) and decide if you should move forward with the meet.
  2. If so, take both dogs, each being handled by separate people, on a walk together (dogs should be walking parallel to each other).
  3. After several minutes of walking, let one dog casually wander over to sniff the second dog’s rear end. This greeting should last no more than 3 seconds. Keep walking.
  4. Wait a few more minutes and allow the second dog to sniff the first’s rear end. The greeting should last no more than three seconds. Keep walking.
  5. Repeat this activity a few times until the dogs seem fairly relaxed.
  6. You can then allow your dogs to meet each other on leash. Leash handlers should stand facing each other, with the dogs in between. Keep the dogs’ leashes loose. Allow the dogs to greet each other, and look for the following signs:
Good Signs
  • Play Bows
  • Loose Tail Wagging
  • Wiggly Body Language
  • Relaxed Mouth
  • A Big Doggie Smile
  • Soft Eyes
Warning Signals
  • Stiff Body Posturing
  • Whale Eyes (Seeing the Whites of Their Eyes)
  • Dilated Pupils
  • Tail Either Tucked or Stiff and Erect
  • Tight Jaw and Mouth or Chattering Teeth
  • Growling/Teeth Baring
  • Hair Standing Up on Back

If everything went well, that is great! Before assuming your dog and the new dog are fast friends, be sure to read our guide to Introducing Your New Dog Into a Home with Dogs.

two dogs meeting: fast friends

Information and recommendations provided by the Certified Professional Dog Trainers of Tricked Out Training, which supports positive reinforcement training and behavior modification. To find a great trainer or behaviorist in your area, visit the Certification Counsel for Professional Dog Trainers’ website at