Bringing home a new dog can be such an exciting time. Few things compare to the special bond that can occur between a dog and its owners. The problem is, that this initial event can be a stressful time for both the new dog as well as the other pets that have already established themselves in your house. The conflict between your pets can ensue if you are not careful about the first introductions, turning a potentially beautiful moment into a stressful nightmare.
Few Tips On Introducing Your New Dog To Your Other Pets
1. Remain Patient
This initial introduction is a step that needs to be planned out very carefully. It requires a lot of patience because it will potentially take some time for the animals to start accepting each other. You could be lucky and have an instant match, but be prepared for a match that has to develop over days or even weeks.
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3. Use A Neutral Location
Consider introducing the new pets, especially if they are both dogs, in a neutral location, such as a park unfamiliar to both dogs. This way, they are meeting in a location where neither feels territorial. Make this introduction with both dogs on a leash and with different people holding each leash to gain control easily if things start to get tense. You can take your dogs or pet to a golf course, parks, etc.
4. Keep Your Tone Positive
Watch your own reaction to the introduction. Keeping things light and positive may also translate into the animals, feeling that sense of calmness and realizing they are not in danger.
5. Watch For Signs Of Tension
When putting any animals together, watch for signs of tension or distress. If the dog starts to growl or curl their lip, these could be tell-tale signs that they are not happy. There are other signs that might indicate this same mood, so be aware that the animals need to be separated quickly in the event.
6. Match Energies
One thing that can make things easier is if the animals all have similar energies and temperaments. A new dog that can easily move into the home’s energy will probably have a much smoother time adjusting. The other animals may also be more accepting of this and treat the new dog as part of the family with less conflict.
7. Take Note Of The Temperaments
If a new animal is brought into the home, the other pets could get upset and become territorial. Some pets may feel that they are being intruded upon and engage either in fighting behaviour or in marking behaviours. This new addition may not threaten some calmer or more social dogs, so matching temperaments may determine how smoothly things go.
8. Give Pets Their Own Space
It might be good to keep your new dog in a separate room or crate for a few days. Give him/her their food, water, bed, and toys to start to get used to the new surroundings. Make sure to spend plenty of time with your new dog when they are in this separate setting.
9. Create A Consistent Routine
For the benefit of your other pets, make sure that their routine stays the same. Please continue with the same feeding, playing, pottying, and exercising routine and do not change the level of time you spend with them. This will give them the confidence that things will stay the same even though there is a new pet in the home.
10. Make Scents Familiar As Soon As Possible
Animals use their smelling senses to explore their world; therefore, introducing them to the different animals’ scents is so important. Doing this as early as possible will allow them to get to know each other. When doing this, make sure that the new dog is on a leash at the beginning until you determine how the various animals will act.
11. Importance Of Food Smells
The smell of food is very important to animals. Make sure to feed the different pets on either side of the door that goes into the new animal’s room, so they start to connect something they enjoy with each other’s smell. Make sure you choose healthy food for the dog and other pets. After there is success with this activity, it is good to start walking the new dog throughout the house.
12. Introduce The New Dog To The House
Going from room to room will allow the new pet to get familiar with the home as well as the sights, smells, and sounds associated with the house. Keep your other animals away so the new dog can feel safe during this exploration. Continue doing this a number of times a day. You may need to do this over several days.
13. Let Them See Each Other
Use a doorstopper for the door of the room your new dog is staying in. Prop the door open enough, so all the animals are able to see each other. Please do this for a few days and make sure to do it several times a day so the animals can get used to seeing each other.
14. Use Positive Reinforcement
All pets like treats – therefore, using some treat or toy to reward behavior that you want to continue can positively affect you. Praise can also be a good thing to do. If behavior is bad, then separate the animals and guide them to better behavior by correcting them.
15. Take The Final Step
All of this preparation can make that initial formal introduction much less traumatic for everyone. Your pets might still be curious but will be far less likely to have a negative reaction during this time. Remember that this initial introduction may take some time, so do not lose your patience, but take it at the pace that seems right for your pets.
If this process continues to be unsuccessful, consider talking to your veterinarian or consulting with an animal behaviorist.
Remember that adding another dog to your home can be wonderful; however, be very aware of the steps needed to make the process successful. If you are not willing to take the steps necessary, then you might need to reconsider having more than one pet at a time. It needs to be a positive experience for both you and all of your family pets.