MDH 101: Dog-Dog Introductions and Relationship Building

An Adult German Shepherd and a German Shepherd Playing Together in a fenced yard with green grass

Adding another dog to your home? You don’t have to HOPE for the best or let the dogs work it out. You have the power to influence their relationships for the better!

Let me guide you through the process of introducing dogs from before your new dog comes home to your first day together to building lasting relationships between dogs. 

Becoming a multi dog household or adding dog 4+ to the mix can be a challenging time. But you don’t have to go it alone. 

This detailed, step by step process takes all of the guesswork out of introducing dogs and creating a multi dog household you love. Avoid all of the common mistakes that land people in the land of multi dog mayhem later. 

You can help your dogs thrive together and this course shows you how!

Two German Shepherds cuddling on a couch.

Imagine something with me for a moment…

It’s rainy Sunday afternoon and the last thing you want to do is go for a long walk in the wet and cold to help your young dog burn off some energy. Luckily for you, your dogs genuinely adore one another. They play and you can’t help laughing at their antics.

You silently thank the universe that you’re on a couch watching Netflix and not walking through the rain trying to buy yourself some peace and quiet. You had hoped for moments like this when you decided to add another dog to your life. That having two dogs (or more no judgement here!) would simply bring double the joy.

They get a little rambunctious so you interrupt their play and invite them up on the couch with you. They easily come to you and settle on the couch and you quietly pass the rest of the afternoon with your dogs cuddled close.

Sounds lovely right?

Dreams are great but how do you get there?

This is perhaps the greatest problem you face when adding a new dog to your household!

Classic guidance on these topics can be quite limited. Don’t take my word for it. Go ahead and open another tab and Google Dog-Dog Introductions. It will only take you about 30 seconds to see the pattern. Most advice begins and ends with meeting a neutral location and taking a parallel walk.

Here are some of the challenges people face with this advice alone:

What if you can't meet in a neutral location?

You simply don’t have a good location option.

Vaccination schedule and illness concerns in your local area that make taking your new puppy to a novel location risky.

You have a dog who is fearful or nervous in new places.

No one can help bring your other dog(s) to the location.

Your dog experiences more behavioral issues in novel locations.

You arrived home late at night and a meeting in the dark isn’t ideal.


Two parallel arrows

What if your dog or situation makes a parallel walk difficult?

Leash based reactivity to novel dogs.

Reactivity or aggression in response to environmental triggers that can’t be controlled in your parallel walk location.

Dogs who don’t know how to walk on a loose leash. Leading to leash tightening and overarousal which isn’t ideal for a first interaction.

Dogs who are fearful or distressed away from home who might not want to walk.

No one to help you take your dogs on a parallel walk.

Difficulty in finding a suitable location where the dogs can have enough distance between them.





....Then what?

What if you really can’t do a parallel walk (yet!)?

You have years with these dogs, what about days 2 and beyond?

How fast or slow should you go in your introduction?

How do you tell if the dogs like each other or not? If they’re frustrated? Ambivalent? Scared?

Where should they be throughout the day?

How do you keep your dogs safe and happy?

What does play look like? When do you intervene?

How do you prevent inter dog relationship problems before they start? What if they already started?

This courses answers “THEN WHAT?” so that you and your dogs don’t have to learn the hard way.

Let me show you a BETTER way to get from where you are to the multi dog household of your dreams!

This course takes your dreams and makes them your reality!
  • Dogs who get along, with minimal intervention. 
  • Dogs who can play and yet also pass time quietly together. 
  • A home where dogs have boundaries, rules, and structure that are clearly understood.
  • Dogs with training, whose skills allow them to follow our instructions readily and easily. 
  • Dogs whose shared relationships bring us happiness and laughter instead of frustration, anger or sorrow.
  • The confidence to manage your dogs, meet their needs, and interact positively with them on a daily basis. 
  • To be able to understand what your dogs’ body language and behavior are telling you so you can respond accordingly.
  • A harmonious household that EVERYONE, dogs and humans alike, can enjoy.

Special Discount Available to Breeders, Rescues, and Shelters

I want to help your placements succeed in their new homes BEFORE anything goes wrong. Join the MDH 101 Affiliate Program for FREE and get a discount for your clients. More details on the program page. Get started today!

ContactMDH 101 Affiliate Program


Course Overview

The way our dogs FEEL about each other matters. Here’s the big secret, we have the tools to infuence those feelings and chart the course of their relationship. We don’t have to put our dogs together and let them “work it out” or “hope for the best”. I want you and all of your dogs, new and old, to have your very best chances of staying together. Not only together, but living happily and harmoniously for years to come.

In this course you will learn a methodical way of introducing dogs of all ages. Let me take you beyond meetings in neutral locations or parallel walks to a comprehensive 20 step process. One you can use throughout your dogs’ lifetimes whenever there’s a relationship issue. This course is a multi dog lifestyle, and is meant to help you from before your new dog comes home to every day for the rest of your lives together. Don’t let the number of steps scare you, your introduction has been broken into stages and streamlined to take out any need for guesswork. Many homes without behavioral complexities move through most stages at a quick pace.

This method isn’t just for easy dogs! Safety measures are built into the entire course so you can identify problems before they can have serious ramifications. It’s set up to identify issues before the dogs can have a conflict or fight. This process works whether you have 2 dogs or 7 dogs.  

When you finish you will have the skills to understand your dogs’ interactions, fortify their relationships, referee dog play, and create the kind of multi-dog household YOU can enjoy. You will be able to confidently manage your household setup, and use your 20 step process to accommodate any issues that arise over time. Be that next week or four years from now.



This course is divided into Introduction Phases rather than week to week, as every household is unique and will need to work through the course at their own pace. Remember, relationship building is a marathon, not a sprint. You are not expected to barrel through this course in 6 weeks and it is designed to keep your life sane while you take the time you and your dogs need. I’ve had clients spend anywhere from 6 weeks to 12 months working through the course with their dogs. 

Phase 0: Planning Preparation and Prerequisite Knowledge: 

  • Learn the basics of training dogs using positive reinforcement and how to teach skills in a multi dog household.
  • Understand how to prepare your home and your current dog(s) for your new arrival.
  • Identify dog needs and develop plans to meet them.

Phase 1: Early Impressions: 

  • Navigate your first day together.
  • Help your dogs form positive feelings about each other BEFORE they meet by charging their GOOD FEELINGS batteries.
  • Step by Step exercises for Stages 1-4 of your introduction process.
  • Learn how to identify stressed body language and behavior in dogs so you can use it to guide your introduction process.
  • Start teaching 4 core skills.
  • Achieve a default double barrier management setup with visual.

Phase 2: Beginning Introductions

  • Bring your dogs face to face for the first time. 
  • Continue to charge GOOD FEELINGS batteries through barrier friendly mutually enjoyable activities. 
  • Step by Step exercises for Stages 5-8 of your introduction process. 
  • Learn how to make rules for your dogs, what dogs view as resources, and how to identify signs of resource guarding.
  • Test activities, resources, and interactions for safety with a barrier in place. 
  • Begin training 2 more skills essential to multi dog households. 
  • Achieve a default single barrier management setup.

Phase 3: Building Strong Relationships

  • Keep building toward free interaction without a barrier or management. 
  • Step by Step Exercises for introduction stages 9-14.
  • Understand how, when, and why you referee dog-dog interactions. 
  • Use “Together But Separate” activities to help dogs learn to be in the same room without engaging eachother.
  • Test activities, resources, and interactions for safety in the same space.
  • Find new ways to charge GOOD FEELINGS batteries using “Together But Separate” and Freeform Mutualy Enjoyable Activities lists.
  • Continue to train your dogs in the skills introduced in Phases 1 and 2, because many are required for Stage 14 and beyond.
  • Plan solid interactions from start to finish. 
  • Achieve a free interaction, outside or in the same room.

Phase 4: Relationship Testing

  • Test your work.
    • What kind of relationship have you built for your dogs? 
    • Do your trained skills hold up to challenges? 
    • What happens with less supervision and more time together? 
  • Instructions for stages 15 and 16. 
  • Achieve a default level of management with low supervision in the same room if so desired/ possible.

Phase 5: All Together Now

  • Increase home access, freedom, and choice to desired/ safe levels.
  • Instructions for stages 17-20. 
  • Achieve the ultimate goal of dogs who coexist peacefully in your home with limited need for guidance and intervention if that is possible for your dogs. 

Skills Taught in This Course: 

  • Food Based Movement/Disengagement Skills
  • Positive Interrupter
  • Hand Target (Touch)
  • Come
  • Treat Scatters
  • Circle Treats (A Pattern Feeding Game for Taking Turns and Easy Transitions)
  • Positively Conditioned Collar Grabs

The following items are suggested for your time in this course. Many of these items are things you would already be purchasing for a new dog but some may not be on your list. For your convenience, our Preparing  Your Home Lecture from this course is free and contains a more detailed overview of these items.

  • Barriers
  • Adaptil Collars, Diffusers and Spray
  • White Noise Options
  • High Value Chews
  • Frozen Pacifiers
  • Food Dispensers
  • Treat Jar Stations
  • Special Toys
  • Solo/Shared Enrichment Activities

In the future Wise Mind Canine will provide affiliate links to tried and true items on Amazon. It’s convenient for you, doesn’t add to the cost, and you can support our small business with a small kickback from your purchases for the course. If you are local to us and would like to shop small, you can find some of these items at The Urban Mutt in La Grange and Berwyn Illinois. 


MDH 101 DIY ONLINE COURSE $197: Click for Details

Just the online course content. Learning is only a click away, wherever you are, whenever you need it, at the pace that works best for you. Reference your online course material for 2 years. Use my comprehensive step by step process to create the multi dog household you love. You’re on your own, but if you need help you can upgrade to any of the higher level programs, just pay the difference.

What’s Included:

  • 2 years of access to MDH 101: Dog-Dog Introductions and Relationship Building
  • Upgrade at any time in those 2 years should you need help, just pay the difference. See our FAQ for details on upgrade rules.


This course alone does not replace the need for a personalized behavior modification plan and professional assistance in cases of intrahousehold dog aggression. 

Choosing this level: 

  • This is perfect for households with dogs who generally love or like other dogs or with very minor behavior concerns.
  • For self starters who are confident in their ability to learn concepts, apply them, and train their dogs given written and visual information.
  • For households with dogs with behavioral issues AND people who are well versed in dog training and behavior. Who do not require instructor assistance in the face of behavior problems.
  • People who want to get a feel for the course before signing up for a program. Please note there are no refunds on the online course or programs.
  • You can upgrade from this level to a program level if there is availability. It’s important to me that I have the time to give all of my clients my best — so I limit my case load at each program level. Interested in our next available opening? Use the contact form.
MDH 101 Premium Online Course $350: Click for Details

You want the convenience of online training AND the assurance of access to a skilled and knowledgeable professional. Maybe you need some accountability to work the course. Whatever the reason, join me and your fellow students for 7 weeks in a supportive group environment. Ask questions, check your work, and get help with any curveballs your dogs throw your way.

What’s Included:

  • 2 years of access to MDH 101: Dog-Dog Introductions and Relationship Building.
  • Upgrade at any time in those 2 years should you need more support, just pay the difference. Subject to higher level program availability. See our FAQ for details on upgrade rules.
  • 14 weeks access to the MDH 101: Dog-Dog Introductions and Relationship Building Course group with current students and your instructor.
  • The ability to ask unlimited general questions on course material in the group.
  • The ability to submit up to 60 minutes of video of you and your dogs for feedback over that 14 weeks. Minimum increments of 1 minute. Questions pertaining to your specific dogs MUST be accompanied by video. General questions don’t need video.
  • An accelerated 6 week MDH 101: Email Skills Course. Weekly assignment breakdowns delivered right to your inbox.
  • When you’re finished, join the Wise Mind Canine Alumni group to stay in touch.


This level is not appropriate for dogs requiring behavior modification for serious behavioral issues such as aggression or resource guarding. I will not answer behavior modification questions in this setting. Direction will be limited to management and you will be prompted to upgrade to a private training program level to work on these issues.

Choosing This Level:

  • This program is for individuals who want the assurance of access to an experienced instructor who has helped other multi dog households thrive.
  • You can ask questions on course material and submit a limited amount of video for feedback on your personal dogs.
  • If you enjoy learning in am online group setting with support from your instructor and peers, this may be the option for you.
  • I do not modify aggression or resource guarding in this context.

Katie’s training was life-changing.  I started working with Katie when I decided to add a rescue Husky puppy, Peppermint, to our family, and I was very nervous.  Peppermint came from a situation of past trauma, and I already had 3 rescue dogs who came from past trauma.  My 3 dogs had a harmony together before Peppermint, and I was about to upset it by adding a puppy.  Puppy antics are tough for anybody.  Katie taught me how to build individual relationships between Peppermint and each of my other dogs, and a family relationship between all of them.  We went slow to go fast.  She taught the dogs how to understand one another, respect each other’s boundaries, and adhere to my rules.    We had our challenges, but Katie taught us how to deal with them.  I now have dogs who play with one another, hike together, relax together, and love one another; and Peppermint’s still a puppy.  We are all happier and more confident because of Katie’s multi-dog training, and it comes with my highest recommendation.  Working with Katie and trusting her methods with my family is one of the smartest decisions I’ve made.

Sheree L. from Colorado

Elwood, Otis, Peppermint, and Winter

“Working through this course is so helpful to me! I continue to review information and my homework — there is so much information about noticing body language and positively interacting with your dog that I’ve found invaluable.

It really isn’t just a dog-dog course. It’s more like “Learn How to Understand & Manage Your Dog — Including When Another Dog is Around.”

Some of it is advice I’ve heard before, but things that I still needed to work on and it was good to get those reminders.

All that to say, I hope when you advertise your course, you manage to express how all-encompassing a course this is. It’s worth a WHOLE lot for people like me who really do want to be good dog handlers but sadly haven’t had tons of past experience, or perhaps people who need to learn the ropes of positive training vs. correction.”

Alexa A. from Texas

Daisy and Nebula

Start your path to a multi dog household you LOVE today!

Two dogs snuggle with a Christmas tree in the background
A client stands between her two dogs, a golden retriever and an American Hairless Terrier in her backyard
Four Dogs seated close together look happily at the camera.
Two German Shepherds run with tongues out in a fenced yard.
A papillion puppy leans into an adult golden retreiever
Puppy walking while touching a senior dog
4 Dogs Lounge in a shaded yard