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Tis the season for bringing in a new furry bundle of joy in your home. Everyone seems to be in love with the new family member. That is everyone except your current dog.

You let the new puppy roam around the house freely. Claiming the comfiest spot on the floor and taking toys as they please. Feeling pretty confident about themselves they wonder over to your older dog, nipping and licking his face. You hear a high pitch yelp and automatically reprimand your old friend.

I’m sure this scene plays out in homes across the United States every holiday. So let’s skip the dramatics and introduce our new family member to our old family member the right way.

When bringing a dog into the home, I like the dogs to have their first meeting off of home territory. Meaning I’ll take my two pups on a walk or at the very least meet in the front yard. Reason being, your first encounter sets the tone for the rest of their encounters. I want to make sure their engagement with each other is positive and short.

Next step is to create a bubble around both dogs unless they engage in play. Typically, when I bring a new dog into the home, I will have leashes on both dogs. Reason being is so I can manage where the new one goes as they shouldn’t have free roam of the house yet until they learn the rules. It also allows my dogs to have space if they choose and I can manage one dog if they attempt to harass the other. Now if both dogs engage in play, I will leave the leashes on, but I will not be holding either leash.

Create private space for each dog. This step is pretty self-explanatory, you can use a crate or a baby gate to separate the dogs for quiet time. During this time, neither dog is allowed to badger the other one through the barrier. It should be peaceful and both dogs should feel safe and calm in their new area. I typically throw quiet time into my dog’s routine a couple times a day. It’s a good break for all to take moment and rest.

The final thing I must harp on is please don’t leave your two dogs along together. Creating a positive association between both dogs is huge when first introducing them to each other. So take it slow, allow for the relationship to grow within its own time. Before you know it, you’ll have the two best furry friends that a human could ask for.