Animal behavior – introducing two adult dogs

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Dear Your Own Vet,

My boyfriend and I are planning to adopt a 2nd dog in the next few months. We currently have a female JRT/Australian Shepherd mix named Lucy.

She’s a very energetic, smart and seems to be a dominant dog. She seems to get along better with male dogs, so we plan to adopt a male and are considering a Doberman. Do you have any tips on how to introduce the dogs? I’ve heard it should be on neutral ground and on a walk. Do you have any experience with this?

Marissa Keller-Gusman

North Carolina



Introducing a doberman into the household

Doberman males are dominant dogs

Dear Marissa,

Adopting a dog is very admirable considering the number of dogs in shelters. However, many dogs that land up in shelters have problems – behavioural and/or emotional. Not forgetting that they might not get on with your existing dog.

As you have a female there is no question that the new dog must be a male. Your female is half terrier and they are not always good with other dogs. If your dog has been well socialized then it shouldn’t be too much of a problem. An unsocialized dog might not accept another dog.

You must let the dogs meet on neutral territory. Both dogs on a lead at first and see what the reaction is. Walk around next to each other and if things are going okay, then try to take them off the lead and continue walking. The humans MUST be calm as any anxiety will go through to the dogs. The next step is bringing the new dog back to the home and see how they get on there. Remember that the existing dog could put the new dog in it’s place. She is just showing that she is the dominant dog and he needs to remember that and do as he is told! Hopefully the new dog will not try to show dominance back, causing a fight. This could happen as Dobermans can be dominant, especially males. If it is a shelter dog then it will be neutered as this is another essential to the whole thing.

Hopefully all will go well and your female will have a friend, and you will have given a home to a needs dog.

Adopting an adult Doberman

A male and a female dog work best together

As a foot note as a veterinarian, I’ve often found it helps to let the new dog get to know you well, i.e. take him for walks etc for about 1-2 weeks before you take him home so that a bond has developed and if there is trouble, he is more likely to listen to you. Also, taking some of the new dog’s blankets home beforehand lets your dog at home get used to the smell!

Good luck!!

Kathy Clayton.
Accredited Companion Animal Behaviourist &Professional Dog Trainer

011 783 3042   082 454 1750


Claire Demmer



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