First make sure the new dog is securely leashed with a 4’-6’ fixed length leash BEFORE getting out of your vehicle. Allow her to sniff around the area and ‘mark’. Then take the pack for a walk. Have one person walk ahead with the new dog, allowing established residents to ‘get acquainted’ with her scent. Continue on at a brisk pace more or less side by side. Keep things happy but calm. Once all dogs are calm (but interested), let them sniff each other briefly, then move on. PRAISE good interactions. Keep any nose-to-nose interactions VERY brief, moving on to other distractions before anyone gets upset. And keep walking until all are calm and energy is down.
A fenced yard is an excellent place to end your walk. Once the dogs are in and calm and the fence is securely closed, drop leashes (allowing the dogs to drag them) so the dogs can become further acquainted.
- If you do not have access to a fenced yard, proceed directly into the house and drop leashes there. The new dog will want to sniff around. Be prepared for marking attempts! A quick “uh-oh! no-no!” gently leading the dog away from the spot should get him the message.
Continue to praise good interactions, especially as everyone settles down. Once all are calm, reinforce the behavior with “good boy…good girl” verbal praise in a low, gentle voice. Continue watching body language carefully for any signs tensions are rising. Look for stiffness, ridging (hair raising on their backs), eye widening, head and neck lowering between the shoulders, and tail changes to name several signs. If you observe any of these or other sharp behavioral changes, pick up leashes and separate and redirect the Basenjis. When they relax again, let them continue to wander while dragging their leashes.
Introductions are only a first step toward your dogs’ happy coexistence. It may take days, weeks or months for your Basenjis to feel comfortable with one another. Initially, their time together should be closely supervised to avoid incidents that lead to longer-term dysfunction. When detailed supervision is not an option, provide the dogs each their own separate space in the same room where they can see one another but not touch. And always remember: it is easier to be conservative with your pace of introduction than to erase bad memories made by a rushed introduction gone bad.