Are dogs sad when you get another dog?

Getting a new dog is an exciting event for any dog lover. However, if you already have a dog at home, you may worry about how your current furry friend will adjust to the new arrival. Will your dog feel jealous, sad, or resentful if you bring another dog into the house? Understanding how dogs perceive change and new pack members can help you introduce a new dog in a way that minimizes stress for all.

Do dogs get jealous?

Dogs are social animals that thrive when they’re part of a cohesive pack. As domesticated animals, they view their human families as their packs. When a new dog joins the family, your current dog may show signs of jealousy such as acting aggressively, whining, barking, hiding toys, or following you more closely than usual. Jealous behaviors are natural as your dog tries to understand their new place in the pack hierarchy. With time and proper introduction, jealous feelings typically resolve once the dogs establish a relationship.

Why do dogs react negatively to new dogs?

Most dogs won’t immediately accept a new canine companion with open paws. Negative responses are normal as they try to adjust to sharing your affection, toys, food, and space. Specific reasons dogs may react badly to a new arrival include:

  • Fear-based aggression: Some dogs may become fearful and lash out at a new dog they perceive as a threat.
  • Resource guarding: Dogs can become possessive over items, space, or people and show aggression toward a new dog near their “resources.”
  • Lack of proper socialization: Dogs without much experience around other dogs often react more severely to new housemates.
  • Pack hierarchy disputes: Both dogs may challenge each other to establish their place in the newly blended pack.
  • Change aversion: Dogs are creatures of habit and introducing a major change like a new pet can create stress.

With patience and proper precautions, these issues can be overcome in most cases.

Do dogs get sad or depressed when a new dog arrives?

In addition to negative emotions like jealousy or fear, some dogs may become sad or depressed after the arrival of a new canine housemate. Signs your dog is feeling down include:

  • Loss of interest in toys, food, or activities they previously enjoyed
  • Uncharacteristic irritability or restlessness
  • Excessive sleeping or lethargy
  • Hiding or seeking isolation
  • Loss of housetraining
  • Excessive whining, barking, or howling

If these symptoms persist more than a few days after the new dog’s arrival, talk to your veterinarian. Sadness and depression can occur due to feeling displaced or the stress of adjusting to change. Most dogs bounce back quickly once the initial transition period passes.

How to Prepare Your Current Dog for a New Dog

Bringing home a new dog doesn’t have to be a source of sadness or stress for your current pup. Follow these tips to help your dog accept the new arrival with minimal anxiety.

Give your current dog extra attention first

Before bringing home the new dog, focus extra quality time and affection on your current dog. Take them for extra walks, give new toys, play their favorite games, and reinforce training. This helps reassure them of their importance in the family so they don’t feel displaced when you introduce the new dog.

Bring an item with the new dog’s scent

If possible, introduce something with the new dog’s scent to get your current dog used to their smell. This could be a toy, blanket, or brush freshly used by the incoming dog. Let your dog inspect it closely on their own terms and offer praise when they display polite interest.

Set up separate spaces at first

Expect some initial curiosity, barking, or even posturing from both dogs when they first meet. Have a crate, baby gate, or leash on hand to separate the dogs if needed. Provide your current dog their own safe space during the adjustment period.

Take introductions slowly

Don’t just throw the dogs together and hope for the best. Allow brief, structured meetings on neutral territory at first. Keep both dogs on leash and let them sniff each other’s blankets or toys before face-to-face interactions. Increase contact gradually under supervision over multiple days or weeks.

Reassure your current dog

Verbally reassure your current dog and give appropriate praise or treats when they display polite, tolerant behavior around the new dog. Remain calm and positive during interactions to ease any anxiety they may feel. Proper introductions require patience, so be prepared to invest plenty of time.

Maintain normal routines

As much as possible, stick to your dog’s regular feeding, walking, play and training schedule. This sends the message that while things are changing, their place and routine in the family remains secure. Avoid lavishing attention exclusively on the new arrival.

Be alert for signs of stress

Watch both dogs closely for prolonged displays of stress like whining, trembling, hiding, or inhibited bathroom habits. If stress persists beyond an initial adjustment period, you may need to slow down the introduction process. In extreme cases, dogs may need to be kept separate. Consult an animal behaviorist if aggression lingers.

Adjust resources for harmony

Provide multiple food bowls, toys, and beds so the dogs don’t compete over resources. Feed and walk the dogs separately at first to avoid conflict. As they become accustomed to each other, relaxed shared play and activity times will naturally occur.

Bonding and Coexistence Tips for Both Dogs

Here are some additional tips to help your current dog accept the new arrival and facilitate a harmonious multi-dog household:

Walk the dogs together

Once tensions begin subsiding, start walking the dogs together on leash, with one person handling each dog. Outdoor adventures are neutral experiences where they learn to coexist cooperatively.

Engage in group playtime

Organize play sessions with multiple people so each dog receives individual focus and attention. Toss balls or toys to keep them positively occupied. Praise signs of amicable interaction.

Practice combined training

Enroll the dogs in group obedience classes for socialization and joint training. Or do short training sessions at home with both dogs present. Reward gentle, tolerant conduct between the dogs.

Feed dogs separately but nearby

Place food bowls a few feet apart so the dogs eat “together” but don’t feel competitive over food. Being near each other during mealtimes promotes routine bonding.

Give affection, but limit resources

Pet and speak to both dogs equally when together. But avoid triggering resource competition by limiting high-value toys or attention. For example, don’t simultaneously pet both dogs on your lap.

Be patient and consistent

Some dogs adapt faster than others, but most dogs can learn to coexist peacefully. Stick to routines, reinforce desired behaviors, and don’t force interactions. With time, supervision, and effort, tensions tend to resolve.

Signs Your Dogs Are Adjusting Well to Each Other

When your current dog starts accepting the new dog, you’ll notice some of these positive indicators:

  • Playing together energetically and amicably
  • Snuggling or resting together voluntarily
  • Displaying relaxed, loose body language around each other
  • Eating meals or treats within view of each other
  • Taking walks or participating in activities without conflict
  • Lack of aggression over toys, food, or space
  • Your resident dog’s mood and behaviors return to normal

These signs of friendship and tolerance indicate your efforts to integrate the new dog are succeeding. But remember dogs can still have occasional disputes, so continue supervising interactions – especially high-arousal play.

When to Get Help for Multiple Dog Adjustment Issues

Consult a professional if introducing your current dog to a new dog results in:

  • Ongoing or intense aggression that risks serious fights
  • A persistent lack of interest in food, toys, walks, or activities
  • Elimination issues like housetraining lapses or marking
  • Physical issues like vomiting, diarrhea, or loss of appetite
  • Hiding, tremors, or other signs of extreme stress or fear
  • Aptoically lying around, loss of energy, lack of joy or playfulness

These may indicate a dog is having significant psychological or emotional issues adapting to the change. A certified applied animal behaviorist can assess the situation and provide customized training guidance to address problem behaviors. In rare cases, rehoming one of the dogs may be considered. Don’t hesitate to seek help sooner rather than later.

Will Dogs Adjust to a New Dog Over Time?

Yes, in most cases, dogs will adjust to the arrival of a new canine housemate given proper introductions over time. But the adjustment period can vary widely based on factors like:

  • The dogs’ ages and personalities
  • Their history of socialization and experiences with other dogs
  • Whether the new dog is a puppy or adult
  • The pet hierarchy and relations that already exist in your home

Puppies and younger dogs often adapt more quickly as they look to older dogs for guidance. But adult dogs can learn to accept newcomers of any age through careful desensitization. Get professional help if aggressive tension persists so you can enjoy a harmonious multi-pet home.

Transition duration examples:

Dog Ages Adjustment Duration
Puppy and adult dog 2 weeks to 2 months
Two adult dogs under 7 years old 1 to 3 months
Senior dog and adult dog 1 to 6 months

Preparing Kids When Getting a New Dog

Children often eagerly await a new pet. But some kids can benefit from advance preparation too so they understand how to interact with the incoming dog respectfully.

Tips for preparing kids for a new dog:

  • Explain the dog will need quiet time and space as they transition
  • Set clear expectations for gentle handling and petting
  • Designate rooms or areas that will be off-limits to the dog
  • Review rules for not disturbing a dog that is eating or sleeping
  • Practice waiting for the dog to approach vs. rushing over to pet
  • Remind them dogs aren’t toys and could nip if annoyed or scared

Children old enough to understand should be included in introductions and training so they become caring, responsible dog owners.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take dogs to get used to each other?

It usually takes 2 weeks to 3 months for most dogs to adjust to a new canine housemate. Puppies and more sociable dogs often adapt faster. Littermates or dogs raised together may get along right away. Adult dogs that are territorial require more time getting used to sharing space and resources.

Will my dog feel sad if I get another dog?

It’s common for dogs to feel somewhat sad, lonely, or displaced at first when a new dog joins the home. Signs include loss of appetite, less interest in play, low energy, and following you more closely. Providing ample affection, individual attention, and warm introductions can minimize sadness and jealousy. Most dogs bounce back within 2-4 weeks.

Should I get two puppies at once?

Some experts advise against adopting siblings, warning it makes training more difficult since the puppies can bond too closely to each other instead of their human family. But raised with effort, littermates can learn to be loyal companions. Consider your ability to give each pup individual attention before deciding.

Can older dogs adjust to a new puppy?

Yes, senior dogs can accept a new puppy with proper introduction. Let them sniff blankets or toys first to become accustomed to the pup’s scent. Use baby gates to give the older dog their own safe zone. Supervise carefully and separate the dogs if the puppy’s energy overwhelms your senior dog.

How do I introduce a new dog to a jealous dog?

If your resident dog has jealousy issues, take introductions very slowly. Give them extra love before bringing home the new dog. Feed and walk them separately at first so they don’t compete for your attention. Use leashes during initial meetings and provide firm verbal corrections if they act aggressively. Pointedly praise friendly behavior.


Bringing home a new dog inevitably causes some degree of stress for current pets as everyone adjusts. But dogs are resilient, adaptable animals. With time, patience, proper introductions, training, and TLC during the transition, both your existing dog and new arrival can become comfortable, bonded housemates that bring you years of joy and companionship.

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