So, you’re thinking about adding a new dog to the family, or maybe you already have, and you are wondering how your current dog will react.
Generally speaking, dogs can develop a feeling of sadness when any new family member is added or lost from the family.
Keep reading to figure out why your dog is sad and some ways to prevent that sadness. We will also look at other emotions that your dog may exhibit when a new dog is added to the house.
Why does your dog feel sad when you get another dog?
Dogs are often referred to as children because their behaviors are very similar.
Just as children react when a new sibling is brought home, dogs also react when a new dog is brought into its home.
Do Humans Project Feelings on Their Dogs?
There is no way to know what feeling a dog is experiencing scientifically.
They may be showing symptoms of what we deem as sadness, but there is no way to know if that is what the dog is feeling.
If you ask multiple different people the definition of sadness, you will get multiple answers.
This is because sadness is felt differently by everyone. Dogs do exhibit signs and symptoms of sadness and depression, but it is difficult to conclude that the dog is feeling sad.
Unfortunately, we do not know how other animals truly feel. We simply imagine that they have the same feelings as us because they display similar signs.
Is the Dog Feeding off Your Emotions?
Dogs are very intelligent creatures. It would make sense that if dogs can sense seizures, anxiety attacks, and more in humans, they can also feed off our feelings.
Research has shown that dogs’ stress levels are affected by their owners. This study showed that the dogs’ stress levels were greatly influenced by how stressed their owners were.
Sounds a bit scary, but what does this have to do with bringing home a new dog? Your current dog knows you, and therefore they know when you are stressed, nervous, or anxious.
If you are freaking out about your old dog meeting the new dog, the odds are that the old dog will be stressed too.
Four possible emotions your dog feels when the new dog comes
Not all dogs will be stressed when a new dog enters the house. There are a few other emotions that your dog may exhibit.
Some very high-energy dogs are going to be excited to have a playmate. You may even feel like your dog loves the new dog more than they love you.
If your dog is wagging its tail, trying to play, and even sharing toys, this is a great sign.
If your dog is exhibiting one of the other emotions, do not worry too much. With proper rewards and introductions, the two can learn to play and live with each other.
Dogs that are not used to being around other dogs or have had bad experiences with other dogs may be more anxious or nervous.
Since not every dog is used to being around another dog, anxiety can be seen in either the new or old dog.
Do not force the two dogs out of their comfort levels if anxiety is observed.
Some severe cases may require the help of a trainer. If you are uncomfortable, the dogs will feed off your energy, making the situation worse.
The current dog may be protective over its home or owners. Protection can lead to aggression, but do not think that the current dog hates the new dog.
When a dog is protective of its home or owner, it is because they are afraid someone or something will cause harm.
Your dog does not hate the new dog. They simply do not know if this new dog is going to hurt you or not.
Protective tendencies can be harmful to the other dog and other people in the house. Keep an eye on the dog and consult a trainer if things feel out of control.
Sad, depressed, or replaced
Your dog is used to having you all to themselves, so they can feel sad, depressed, or even replaced when a new dog comes into the house.
Signs of sadness and depression in dogs include being lethargic and not eating or drinking. It is essential to know that these signs are also associated with sickness in dogs.
Many people recommend taking your dog to a vet to rule out any underlying health problem.
A dog that feels replaced may start to resource guard or revert to destructive behaviors to get your attention. Some dogs will also start going potty in the house.
If you notice behaviors like this, your dog is simply telling you that they need more of your attention and more alone time with you.
How to prevent sadness when introducing dogs?
There are several different ways to reduce the chance of your dog feeling sad when introducing a new pet to the family.
When bringing home a new dog, you should consider your current dog’s personality.
If your dog is very laid back and relaxed, bringing home an energetic, rambunctious dog could cause problems.
Introduce in a neutral area
Choose a neutral place to introduce the new pet to the existing pet. The existing dog sees your home as its territory, and they can often become defensive and protective of the home.
Both pets should be leashed at all times during introductions. This allows you to easily direct the dogs and pull them away from each other if one is being aggressive or too rambunctious.
Should They Have Their Own place?
Both dogs should have their own specific place inside the house. This allows either pet a place to retreat if they feel overwhelmed or tired.
A dog should never be sent to its safe place as a form of punishment. You want each dog to feel comfortable retreating to its safe place.
Punishing a dog by sending it to its safe area makes them associate that place with negative emotions.
The safe place should be a happy, relaxing place that the dog can retreat to without fear of punishment.
Should you punish Behaviors?
It can be very nerve-wracking introducing two new dogs to each other. They are both going to test each other’s limits, especially if the new dog is a puppy.
The new dog will be learning from the existing dog what is acceptable in the house. Both dogs will also learn from each other and what works for them.
Both dogs should learn what the other dog accepts and what they don’t.
When you punish either dog for growling or showing its teeth, you are telling the dog that what it is doing is wrong.
Dogs have warning signs that they show each other. When a dog is punished for showing these signs, they learn it is better to attack than warn the other dog.
It is much safer for both dogs and the people involved to let the dogs test each other’s limits.
If the reactions get too out of hand, you can try redirecting both dogs or giving them a break from each other.
Spend One-on-One Time With Each Dog
It is crucial to spend alone time with the existing dog. This may seem simple, but it shows the existing dog that they are still a part of your life.
Spending time with the existing dog can help decrease the risk of the dog feeling replaced.
It is also a good idea to spend alone time with the new dog so they can bond with you.
This is a great time to work on training or get some energy out of the dog before letting the two play again.
How long does it take your dog to accept another dog?
Unfortunately, it is not an overnight process for your dog to accept another dog. It can take weeks or months for them to get along.
The length of time depends on how compatible the dogs are and how they are introduced to each other.
If the dogs are introduced to each other in an anxious environment, it can take them longer to accept one another.
Is There Anything That Can Help the Process?
One of the best ways to help the existing dog warm up to the new dog is to offer a reward when they tolerate the new dog’s presence.
Treats make dogs happy, and they associate the treat with positive actions. Therefore, when the dog is given a treat for sitting near the other dog, they begin to associate the new dog with a good thing.
You should also be mindful of each dogs’ body language and allow them the opportunity to back away and relax.
Either dog can become overwhelmed quickly as both of their worlds are changing. Give them both time to cool down and adjust instead of forcing them to be near each other.