When you imagine what it’s like to bring a new addition into the family, do you envision lots of warm smiles and hearts full of love? What about growls, confusion, and hiding? Yep! When you bring home a new dog, other fur-covered siblings may not react quite as overjoyed as you’d have hoped. But don’t worry, introducing a brand new dog to your family doesn’t have to be stressful. By simply following a few basic guidelines, your new fur-baby will soon be acclimated and a true, bonafide, irreplaceable member of your growing family.
Here are some important considerations when introducing anew dog into your family:
Meet On Neutral Territory: Your established dog has not only established her place within your family, she’s also likely to be pretty secure in her surroundings. When she meets a newcomer, she may be taken aback by the notion that not only does she have to share her humans with this stranger, but she is also being asked to share her beloved space. Consider making the initial introduction in a neutral area: a park a walking trail – a public area where shared space is common and already a familiar experience for your dog.
Dog-Proof Your Home: Once your new addition is brought into your home, try to make the experience less overwhelming by limiting areas of exploration – initially. Place dog gates around areas that could be confusing – even dangerous to a new dog who doesn’t yet understand the layout of your home – such as staircases and appliances like washers and dryers. Put away toys, food and treats when you are allowing your new dog to begin to explore the home alongside your other dog(s) to eliminate the risk of fighting over belongings.
Keep An Eye Out: Chances are, you know your dog quite well. You know when she’s scared, happy, or feeling threatened. When allowing her time with her new sibling, keep a watchful eye on her body language and actions. If she seems to become agitated, don’t force the moment. Allow both dogs to take a break from one another and then slowly bring them together again at a later time. If you have any concerns that either dog is becoming overly aggressive or frightened, keep them separated for as long as necessary and consider speaking with your veterinarian to learn more about how you can lessen the anxiety of the introduction of your newcomer and start laying the foundations of a very happy home.
Got a new puppy? Ashby Animal Clinic has a FREE Puppy Booklet to share with you. It’s filled with tips on how to care for your newest addition to your family. Just stop in and ask for a copy.