New Dogs Together In The House

This is probably a simple question for you, but here goes …

We just got another Shiba-Inu (fixed 3yr old male) on 2/18. Our first we got in Aug. 99 (fixed 2yr female). They are both very sweet. The introduction went well in the garage and then I walked them around the block (leash of course) and that went well. The mistake was to let them go in the house. Well…the fighting started…not long but intense. No blood, but it looked like she was protecting her territory and he was showing his dominance. To make a long story short, after about five minutes of those incidents we separated them in the house and would only let them loose together in the backyard.

During the last fight in the house, the male pinned the female until she quit growling and then let her up. Guess she figured out that he was the dominant one, because now when they’re outside they’ve become “buddies.”

They play great together. The problem is that the other day the male walked by the female on his way out and you could see that there was a bit of tension…like a fight could begin…I said “aaakkkkk” and it quit.

Now…after all that, here is my question:

I want to let them loose together in the house so we don’t have to keep them separated any longer but I want to do it correctly and not have a skirmish ruin what has been accomplished in the backyard. How would you suggest the best way to make this happen so that they will have a good relationship in the house, too. I plan on hiding all the toys and chewies when I do this. I appreciate any suggestions you might have.


Dear Brian,

Thanks for the question. It’s a good one.

This is pretty much an identical situation to the relationship my dog has with my parent’s dog. I “dog-sit” for them probably two or three times a year and the relationship is 100% analogous to the one you’ve got.

Here’s the deal:

1.) It sounds like the dogs have pretty much worked out who is the pack leader.

2.) There still may be some dominance skirmishes. This is normal, but I would not allow these to happen in the house. The fact that your verbal correction was enough to make them stop shows that the dogs respect you. If you leave the training collars and tabs on the dogs, you can correct the perpetrator if you feel that it was inappropriate (even though it’s natural for the alpha dog to throw his weight around)… YOU (being even more dominant) can decide that this is inappropriate behavior in the house.

In sum, you will not “hurt” the progress in their relationship by letting them be together in the house. Just don’t leave them unsupervised together for the first three months.