Resident Dog Aggressive to New Dog – Why & What to Do Next

Here are a few common reasons that may explain why a resident dog may act aggressive when a new dog gets introduced to the household. This could be confusing to dog owners, especially if the resident dog never had aggression issues with other humans and animals (not part of the family).

1. Introductions need to be gradual

Aggression could be somewhat expected when a resident dog finds out a new dog is being introduced to the ‘pack.’ Try to look at it from your resident dog’s perspective. You’ve been chilling at home and going about your usual day. Suddenly, a stranger appears and takes an interest in all the resources you value, including food and toys.

For this reason, it’s important to have a gradual introduction between the resident dog and the new dog. Each dog should have their own area for the first few weeks. Start with short visits at a ‘neutral’ ground. Make this interaction an amazing experience by introducing new toys and treats.

2. Resource-guarding behaviors

Don’t encourage resource guarding behaviors by letting the new dog touch or sniff at the resident dog’s possessions. Treat both dogs equally and give them treats separately. You shouldn’t have toys and treats just laying around as one dog might become too possessive.

3. Both dogs feel stressed

Naturally, both the resident dog and the new dog will feel stressed due to what they see as an unusual situation. Elevated levels of stress will lead to changes in behaviors. Both dogs may be on the defensive while they acclimatize to the new environment. Don’t rush the introduction of a new dog. It could take weeks or even months. A lot depends on the personalities of both dogs and how well they have been socialized.

Disclaimer: The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a veterinarian when in doubt.

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