Skip to Content

How to Safely Introduce a Second Dog – Crates & Gates

We added an 8-week-old weimaraner puppy to our family in 2016. It was helpful to have a crate for our puppy as well as a pet gate. Our senior dog Ace could be grumpy with puppies, so these products helped provide each dog with their own space when needed.

If you’re thinking about adding a second dog to your family, gates and crates can help keep all your pets safe and happier. This is especially true during the initial transition period.

This post is sponsored by Carlson Pet Products.

Carlson Pet Products is giving away a fold-up wire crate to one reader of That Mutt. This giveaway has ended. Congrats, Amara!

How to safely introduce a second dog to your family

If you’re getting a second dog or a puppy, I’m sure you’ve thought about finding the right “match” for your current dog.

However, even if both dogs are friendly in general, sometimes there’s still some grumbling and growling during that initial introduction process.

For that reason, I recommend introducing the dogs outside in a neutral area if possible vs. in the entryway of your home. Your first dog is more likely to feel protective or territorial at home. I suggest taking the dogs on a walk together right away.

How to safely introduce two dogs
Our past foster dog Morgan (left) and our dog Ace

My tips for introducing dogs:

  • Going on a long, LONG walk together if physically capable (helps to have another adult handling one dog)
  • Avoid head-on, nose-to-nose greetings at first. Start out side by side or one in front.
  • Stay relaxed! Tension in your posture or in the leash makes the dogs tense too.
  • Provide your first dog with plenty of exercise the day and morning before the new dog arrives.

If all goes well, you might be able to allow the two dogs to sniff and play in the yard after their walk together. However, sometimes it’s helpful if you have a crate set up inside so you can give the new dog some quiet time to decompress.

We have the large wire crate from Carlson Pet Products. Remy is modeling it below. It sets up in seconds and comes with a bottom pan that’s easy to remove and clean. View all of Carlson’s crates here.

Remy in his Carlson Pet Products crate
My dog Remy

A safe place for foster dogs

I like to volunteer as a foster home for dogs through a local rescue group. Fostering gives dogs time away from the shelter while they wait to be adopted.

When I pick a new foster dog up directly from the shelter, I find that most dogs need 24 hours to just rest and decompress after living in that kind of noisy environment.

My typical routine with a new foster dog is to go for a long walk immediately. Ideally, with my own dogs along. Then, we give the foster dog some down time in her crate.

How to introduce a second dog
Our past foster dog Lana (left) and Ace

I don’t always know if the foster dog will get along with my own dogs, so obviously we handle introductions slowly. Just because dogs get along outside on a walk doesn’t mean they’ll do well in the tight quarters of our apartment.

For that reason, a pet gate is also helpful. The dogs can sniff and interact through the gate while we watch their body language to make sure everyone is comfortable.

Note that gates and other barriers can actually bring out aggression in some dogs. This is why it’s best to do your initial greetings outside in a more open space.

Introducing a puppy to your adult dog

When we got our puppy Remy, we knew our older dog Ace was not going to tolerate being jumped on, nipped at or snuggled (grumpy old man). The good news is our two dogs snuggle up together today, but it took about a year to get to that point!

During that difficult “puppy stage,” it was important to provide our senior dog and our cats opportunities to get away from the puppy.

The easiest way to do that was using a pet gate in our hall.

The gate was a boundary that kept our puppy in the main living room area of our apartment. If our senior dog wanted to come or go, we just opened it and let him pass. Our cats could easily hop over on their own, and it also has an adorable little cat door.

Recently we upgraded to the gate with a lift handle. This is so handy because we don’t have to step over it every time we want to pass. Our “puppy” is now 2 years old, but we still keep the gate up. Usually it’s open so he can come and go like the others. But occasionally it’s still nice to keep the youngster to one area!

You can view all of Carlson’s gates here.

I like that Carlson’s gates are sturdy and made of steel. They are easy to set up using simple pressure mounts.

Visiting dogs – friends and family

Finally, we like having a pet gate for those rare times when our friends or family bring their dogs. It’s just less stressful for everyone if we put our own dogs behind the gate when the visiting dogs arrive.

The dogs can then sniff and greet through the gate for a few minutes before we let them run around loose together.

Ideally, we should head out for a walk with all the dogs but this isn’t always necessary if the dogs already know each other. The gate is more about convenience and managing our dogs so they’re not barging through the door or jumping on everyone.

Overall, I view these types of products as nice options to have on hand when you have a houseful of creatures like I do!

Here is a short video we made showing the different uses for a pet gate: Uses for a Pet Gate

Win a fold-up wire cratefor your dog

Carlson Pet Products is giving away a one double-door dog crate to one reader of That Mutt! UPDATE: This giveaway has ended.

To enter: Just leave a comment below so we know you want IN on the drawing. How could a new crate help your dog?

Must have a U.S. mailing address to win.

I’ll choose a winner randomly on Thursday Feb. 13 and notify the winner email. Then I’ll post the winner here too. Winner gets to choose the size of the crate. Congrats to: Amara!

Note that this post was originally written in 2018. Only comments from 2020 count towards entires in the new giveaway!

That Mutt’s $7/mo Patreon members also receive automatic entries into all the blog’s giveaways, including this one. We still have a few spots left. Join us here and support the blog.

Could your dog use a new crate?

Let us know in the comments, and please share this post if it will help a dog owner you know.

Thank you!


Related articles:

Is it mean to crate a dog?

Stop my dog from destroying my stuff

Aggression between dogs in same household

How to introduce dogs

Kelly Thuet

Friday 1st of October 2021

This looks like an amazing gate.


Sunday 9th of February 2020

Thanks for the super helpful article. We have a stray dog that comes around and this is great advice on how to introduce him to our dogs when trying to help him. The crate would also be very useful in this situation.


Sunday 9th of February 2020

This is a wonderful article with awesome tips! When we adopted Jaxon and introduced him as a puppy to max we introduced them in our kitchen with our back door opened to our fenced it backyard. This allowed a huge area to run together and get a break from one another if needed. They both went to sniffing one another curiously and off went running and playing together. It was amazing how Jaxon was Max's size and he couldn't keep up. Now Jaxon is tripled in size and they keeps up running with each other. Thank you for the awesome giveaway. The crate would make a great addition for us for when traveling and help having an extra crate around. Our current one we move from room to room when needed.

Jessica Wollmuth

Friday 7th of February 2020

Crates and gates are VERY important tools when fostering or having a multiple dog household.

Lisa Jewell

Friday 7th of February 2020

We foster rescue puppies and have well over 260 come through our house in the last 6.5 years! We couldn't do it without the use of gates and crates!