Bringing a new dog into the family is an exciting time for us humans, but can create stress for your current resident canine. Understanding how to manage dog introductions can help ensure a lifetime of harmony for everyone.
General Tips for Canine Introductions:
1. Set reasonable goals - Knowing each dog's background as to how well they were socialized will help you manage potential problems. Remember and respect that your resident dog may perceive the new dog to be encroaching on his established territory which can be very stressful.
2. Proceed slowly and calmly - Slow-paced introductions may help prevent any fear-based or aggressive reactions from developing. Bad behaviors not reined in from the start can become habit and be very hard to change.
3. Be sure all the dogs are current on their vaccinations to avoid any risk of infection - If you have more than one resident dog, introduce each one to the new dog individually to prevent the group from overwhelming the newcomer.
4. Stay in control of the introduction - If you are not sure how your pet will react, take the necessary precautions to keep him (and you) safe.
5. Never leave new dogs unattended - When dogs are getting acquainted the situation can change suddenly.
Managing the New Dog in Your Home:
1. Pick up pet toys, food bowls, beds, etc., before you bring the new dog into the house. This prevents any tiffs over prized possessions. You can return the resident dog's toys to him in a few weeks, and give the new dog some toys of his own.
2. Put your current dog in a separate area of your home, and then walk the new dog on a lead throughout your home to show him where he will sleep and eat, where the other pets sleep and eat, etc.
3. Establish boundaries. Use baby gates and close off rooms and areas while all the pets acclimate to the new situation. This way, they can see and get used to one another. Allow the resident dog to roam the house while confining the new dog behind a barrier at first.
4. Create separate areas for each dog's eating/sleeping activities. This helps keep the resident dog from feeling his territory is being threatened. Pick up food bowls after feeding time, and keep the dogs confined in separate areas of your home any time you are away or can't watch them. Remember to devote plenty of time to each dog individually for both training and play. If one dog is much older or less energetic than the other, be sure you give him time and space to himself so he can rest and feel secure.
What kind of body language in the dogs you will have to look out for? For more information please click here.