Here’s how to get two dogs from different households to get along, according to one trainer

Woman hugging two dogs
(Image credit: Getty Images)

While dogs are often sociable animals, and can enjoy spending time with other canines as well as their favorite people, there’s no guarantee that two pups will get along. 

You might really want your dog to become best friends with a friend or relative’s pup, but whether they do or not will come down to a few key factors, from their personalities to their energy levels. But, there are things that you can do to help your pooch become friends with a dog from another household – or, at least help them learn to coexist peacefully with maybe a few of the best dog toys to sweeten the deal!

Certified dog trainer Melissa Goodman of Mission Pawsitive has explained everything you need to know in a new Instagram post. 

“First things first is to have realistic expectations for the end goal,” says Goodman. In the video, she’s working with a larger, younger, and more playful dog, Charli, and an older, smaller, and more anxious dog, Murphy – Charli wants to play, whereas Murphy would rather be left alone. If your dog is similar, here are eight reasons why your dog is anxious (and how to help them).

“The goal is to teach Murphy that Charli’s presence and movements predict good things,” she continues, “And teach Charli that giving Murphy space is much better. The realistic goal we have set is having the dogs around each other more for family gatherings where they each mind their own business.”

When Charli is able to respect Murphy’s space, Murphy doesn’t feel as though he needs to bark and lunge at Charli. So, the dogs spend time around each other at different angles, with Goodman and the dogs’ parents working on settling and incorporating in simple behaviors that Charli is familiar with. Because the dogs do know each other, and are able to go on walks together, it’s fine to train them while they’re close by each other in the same room without any barriers.

However, says Goodman, “For some dogs, much more distance may be needed to start, and sometimes other forms of management for safety and comfort.”

For Charli and Murphy, the realistic goal isn’t for them to become best friends. When one dog is younger and more playful, and the other is older and prefers to relax, or is more anxious, the aim is more to help them get on well with each other when they’re in close proximity – for Charli to leave Murphy alone if he wants to be by himself, for instance.

If your dog does become besties with a friend’s dog, that’s great. However, it shouldn’t be the expectation.

Want your dog to get on better with other pups? You might find this article useful: My dog used to bark at every other dog she met, now she has canine friends.

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Adam England
Freelance Writer

Adam is a freelance journalist covering lifestyle, health, culture, and pets, and he has five years' experience in journalism. He's also spent the last few years studying towards undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in journalism. While a cat person at heart, he's often visiting his parents' Golden Retriever, and when he's not writing about everything pets he's probably drinking coffee, visiting a cat cafe, or listening to live music.