The key to introducing your Pit Bull (especially if they already have a tendency for dog aggression) is to have the dogs meet by taking a walk in a neutral area (i.e. somewhere either dog has ever been before). By walking in a neutral area you minimize, if not diminish, the risk of one dog exhibiting any type of territorial behavior. Before going out for the walk, be sure that each dog is properly fitted with a properly fitted collar and sturdy leash. It is not recommended to use choke chains or prong collars when going through the introduction, as you risk injury to your dog if a fight does break out.
While walking, make sure to let the dogs naturally walk next to one another. Both handlers should maintain a firm hold on the leash, but the handler should try and let the leash have a slight U-shape to allow the dogs to get close to one another. A tight leash communicates tension to your dog, and can lead to issues depending on how sensitive the dog is to this type of walking. Face to face contact between the dogs should be avoided at first, and you should walk parallel to one another, allowing each dog to take the lead at regular intervals every few minutes. Never allow your dog to greet another dog if they are dragging you on the leash, this will just reinforce a negative behavior and tell your dog it is ok to misbehave when approaching new dogs. You need to make it clear to your dog that you determine the who, where and when of meeting.
If the dogs appear to be tolerating one another, you can allow them to briefly sniff one another – not face to face, but using a “T shape” where one dog is able to sniff the midsection of another dog, being called away by their owner after a few minutes or at any sign of aggression. Signs of aggression to watch out for include stiff posturing, lunging, lip curling, growling, lunging, hair standing up on back, air snapping, tail between legs, submissive urinating, and freezing. The introduction should be stopped immediately if either dog exhibits any of these signs of aggression toward one another.
It might be necessary to take multiple walks, in different locations, over a prolonged period of time before the dogs adjust to one another. Multiple introductions in this manner give you a better read for how the dogs will do, and this process should not be rushed if the dogs seem unsure in any way. Stop the introduction if either dog is showing signs of fear or aggression. By interrupting the dogs before things become highly elevated, you can preserve the possibility of a successful interaction at a later time.
Once the leash walk introduction proves successful (remember – this can takes a long period of time, not all dogs adjust to one another after one walk) you can move on to a fenced area and begin to introduce the dogs off leash. One handler might work obedience with the leashed dog, while letting the other dog roam around, allowing them to get used to each other’s presence and scent. The best way to go about this is to have the resident dog is loose, while the new dog remains leashed. This gives one dog the ability to safely check things out and move away as needed while you maintain control of the other dog. Make sure the yard or fenced area is free of items that may possibly trigger a fight such as toys, food, bones, etc.
Timothy Frazier says
A tried and true method I’ve used over the years as a trainer: swap their collars before they meet. They both smell something familiar on each other and it lessons the stress. Full article about this at my site.
stacey faber says
im buying a husky lab at six weeks tommorrow and i already have a stafforshire pit bull terrier and i was just wondering if i should be concerned about any specifics. The pit bull has been socialized and isnt aggressive at all.
I have a 7 month old catahoula that just made a move with us to Florida about 2 months ago. We just adopted a 2yr old pit bull (both female). How can I calm the aggression and dominance that my catahoula shows towards the new sibling?
I have a 4 year old female Pitbull who can be aggressive. My boyfriend has a 7 year old male Pitbull who is friendly. They have been introduced but my female wants to be aggressive and the male is submissive and lays down. How do we intergrade them safely into the same home?
I have a 2 year old mix dog and my husband brought home a 3 month old pitbull. My dog met him once, but when he was smaller. Now I am afraid hell attack my dog whenever I’m not around when we get my dog back. What should I do?
I used to have 2 female pit bulls…long story short i had to rehome one as i could not keep them together (very aggressive towards each other). Its been almost a year and she is lonely (she is 5 years old now) We are wanting to get a 6 week old
male puppy as a friend. Do you think its a good idea and that she will be ok with a puppy or we shouldn’t get another dog at all. Thank you
Hi I too would like to know if it’s a good idea to bring home a new pup…Have you perhaps received an answer yet?
Tina rodriguez says
I have a 12 1/2 year-old multi-Pooh how would a bully pitbull get along with her ? should I get a male or female or neither??
I have a 5yr. Old blue male pit. We r about to get a 6wk. Old female pit. My dog spartacus is very laid back been around 10 grandchildren n large family unit. How can we get this female pit to react in the same manner?
I have a female Pitbull who’s sweet and mellow but I recently found a stray male Is it a good idea to introduce them while he stays in the back yard until his owner is found?