When you bring your new dog home

Here are my senior dog Hina and Chi-Chi the rambunctious youngster (foster dog).

hina & chichi

Our dog Hina has welcomed more than 100 foster dogs in the past. But now, she prefers her quite alone time due to her age and recently going through a major surgery.

Hina sleeping

Dog adopters often worry about introducing their newly adopted dog and their resident dog. To me, it is very important to make sure that your new dog is less rambunctious than your resident dog.

Resident Dog > New Dog

If your resident dog had a gentle personality, you need to find a dog with gentler personality.

When adopter has a resident dog older than 10 years old, I always recommend a dog who is at least older than 2 years of age.

Hina and foster dog Go

But there’s always an exeption—our former foster dog “GO” (photo, left) was very gentle with my dog Hina even though he was once returned from his adopter due to his “hyper personality”.

Consideration to your resident dog will also be needed even if your resident dog was the rambunctious one.

When your resident dog is rambunctious, a new dog should have the same energy level, or slightly lower. Adopting a lot gentler dog to a home with a rambunctious dog would be too much for the new dog.

Always remember this formula no matter what:

Resident Dog > New Dog

When you pay too much attention to your new dog, the natural order between your resident dog and a new dog could change causing problems between the two. So when you show affection, make sure to do it with your resident dog first.

morning, hina come and see foster dog

When Hina wakes up in the morning, I move the foster dog (Chi-Chi) into the crate. Hina always come visit Chi-Chi on her own term.

As a matter of fact, I usually feed Hina first, walk Hina first, put her on a leash first before our foster dogs.

Hina & foster dog

When I have multiple foster dogs, I may put the foster dog first, depend on the situation mostly by their personality.

For a rambunctious dog, I give them a lot of exercise in order to match the activity level with other dogs.

That would be giving them a place to run as much as they want on top of their regular walking schedule. Or adding mental exercise that they can do. By doing that, they become less bothersome towards other dogs. Because of all the exercise, they sleep more.

nap time
Rambunctious dogs recharge fast too :b

It could end up harmful for everyone involved if you don’t prepare well for the arrival of your new dog. “Letting your dogs sort things out” is not a good idea.

These are absolute conditions:

  • Learn about the personality and energy level (activity level needed to keep them happy) of your new dog before you adopt.
  • Set up a “meet up” with your resident dog and your new dog.

It’s going to be hard to meet these absolute conditions if you purchase your dog from a pet store or even from online. In that respect, adopting a “home fostered dog” is great because their foster family can tell you about their personalities and activity level 🙂

The compatibility between animals can be challenging. Unexpected things can happen even though we think we prepare everything perfectly. In fact, I had an issue between my cat and a foster dog last year.

But it is so much fun to live with lots of animals! There is no “perfect manual” to welcome new animal to your home but my wish is for everyone to prepare as much as you can.

We had a lot of rain in Maryland this summer. So we couldn’t give Chi-Chi a lot of exercise despite her needs. Here is the consequence :b

Chi-Chi's mess :)

I can see why releasing her energy through exercise is important :0


I grew up with dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, hamsters, fish and love animals since day one. I use to work as writer/magazine editor in Japan and after moving to the United States, I started volunteering at the local animal shelters and rescue organizations. I have been fostering many dogs and cats since 2007. Currently, I am actively feeding many feral cats and doing their TNR (Trap Neuter Return) in the community.

I live with my 12 year old dog and 2 cats. I had lost 13 years old, "long term foster dog" to cancer at the end of Oct 2015. My hope is to create a sanctuary for senior and special needs homeless animals and treat them with both western medicines and holistic way.

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