When a dog is introduced into a new home, it establishes its place among the other members of the household, and establishes them as part of its pack. It is natural for a dog to place all members of its perceived pack into a hierarchy, and to attempt to place themselves as high as possible in this hierarchy. A dog will understand through training that the humans in the household are the ones in charge. However, when multiple dogs are present, the ways in which they establish dominance over each other can cause problems. Fortunately, these problems can be avoided.
The most important step is the initial meeting. Before bringing a new dog into the household, it is best to introduce it to your resident dogs in a neutral area outside of the home. Dogs are territorial, and the introduction of your new protection dog into an area that your resident dogs perceive as their territory may cause them to act aggressively towards the new addition to your household. Bringing them to a neutral space allows them to build trust and cooperation. Allow them to sniff each other briefly, and then bring their attention back to the handler for positive reinforcement. This should be done with a separate handler for each dog in order to maintain a sense of control, and each dog should be kept on a leash. Take note of posture, and be on the lookout for signs of aggression such as low growling, bared teeth or a prolonged stare.
Once the dogs appear to be comfortable in each others’ presence, you may bring them home. Ensure that each dog has its own resting area, food bowl, water bowl, leash etc. They will establish a sense of hierarchy amongst themselves, but you should watch to ensure this occurs peacefully. Take note of which dog appears to have established leadership between them. At feeding time, feeding the lead dog first can help prevent problems.
Protection dogs and security dogs are trained and bred for obedience. However, you cannot always expect the same from household pets. Following the above steps will help ensure that the introduction of your new personal protection dog will go as smoothly as possible.