11 Tips for Introducing a New Dog to Your Family

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Updated on: Apr 28, 2023
11 Tips for Introducing a New Dog to Your Family

Inspiring as it is to welcome a new puppy into the family, there may be some growing pains as everyone adjusts to one another and the dog's presence. Like with any new experience, it will take time for a pet to adjust to its new home.

Here are some methods for easing your pet into the new family dynamic so everyone can get along in no time!

Find a dog that fits your lifestyle.

Consider whether or not a dog is a good fit for your family and your routine before bringing one home. Attempting to get a canine who does fit well in your household is asking for trouble. 

If you already have pets at home, find a dog capable of getting along with other pets. It's essential to think about how your present pets will get along with the new addition before making that decision. 

If you have an elderly at home, a hyperactive puppy may annoy them, and if you spend many hours away from your house, choose a dog less susceptible to separation anxiety.

If you have kids at home, it's important to get a dog that gets along with them and that your kids know how to care for a dog properly.

Set up a meet and greet between your new dog and existing pets. 

The moment you find the dog you think will best fit your household, it's time to schedule a meet and greet to assess them even closer. When you bring your dog homeensure that other family members do not crowd your new bundle of joy. 

They are still in the stage of adjusting and may feel anxious around too many people. It is ideal for letting them approach the dog one by one. 

Bringing treats would help!

To introduce your new dog to your other dogs, arrange a get-together in a neutral area, like a park. Walk your dogs close together, and establish a good relationship. Start by keeping the dogs at a distance of 5 to 10 feet apart, then let them complete simple instructions in exchange for rewards. 

Keep training and rewarding the dogs whenever they pay attention to you instead of gazing intently at the other. The moment one or both of your dogs show signs of tension or discomfort, it's best to resume walking or training so that they may focus on something other than each other.

Do your best to reassure your current dog that everything is normal. Please don't ignore them in favor of adjusting to a new pet. Avoid resorting to physical force if you want to establish dominance over the elder animals; doing so may make them fearful of the newcomer.

Prepare its personal space. 

Before introducing a new dog, you should have your house in order. You need to provide a designated secure area for the new pet. When introducing a new pet into a home with existing pets, it's best to give them their own space to eat, sleep, play, and relax until they're used to one another.

It is recommended to build a haven in the form of a crate by lining it with soft blankets and arranging some toys inside. During the adjustment time, your new puppy will enjoy having a safe place to rest and feel at ease.

Remove any potential hazards. 

It's normal for a new puppy to be protective over their territory and its things, such as toys, treats, food, water, and even people. When introducing two dogs, it's best to wait until they're familiar with each other before bringing out any supplies that could cause competition.

It's best to keep your dogs apart when giving out food or toys to prevent fights. Discourage any potentially destructive forms of competition by removing any potential distractions such as toys, food, bones, and other treats in the common area.

Remove any furniture that could harm your new dogs, such as rocking chairs, recliners, and other things that could easily knock out. Make sure you put rugs on shiny floors so your new dogs, especially puppies, won't slip and fall. 

Put baby gates on your stairs so the dog won’t fall and avoid access to other parts of the house that you may not be able to monitor. 

Prepare engaging and fun activities. 

Make sure you and any other family members spend equal amounts of time with the new dog and your present pets by doing things with them separately and together. If you already have other dogs at home, help your new and current dogs create a good relationship by: 

  • taking them on walks
  • playing games
  • teaching them tricks
  • and exposing them to new environments together.

As time passes, your dogs will become inseparable companions who eagerly anticipate play dates.

With cats, monitor their interactions silently. You can't force them to click instantly because it in their nature to be wary of each other. Giving the cat complete control over when and how the pet interacts with the dog is vital.

Be patient to earn the dog's trust.

Please refrain from being upset or angry with your new dog if they don't immediately take a liking to you or your family. Be extra patient because the dog may need some time to warm up to a new environment.

The same goes for your current dogs or pets if you have any. A new puppy needs a few days or more to settle in. And the same amount of time your current pet needs to get used to the presence of another dog. 

Talk to a vet for advice if things aren't moving forward in the relationship after a couple of weeks. Earning your dog's trust is essential even before you bring it home. 

Spend some time feeding, training, exercising, and playing with your new dog. Use positive reinforcement and avoid harsh words and punishment at all costs and please ask other family members and friends to do the same.  

Establish a good first impression. 

The initial impression is significant. Try to take things slowly and gently while introducing your new puppy to your house and family. 

When introducing a new dog to your current dog, it is best to have their initial meeting in a neutral site to avoid territorial disputes. That way, neither canine will feel threatened by the other and act out of aggression. 

Please be careful when introducing your cat to a new puppy since it can probably hurt your pup while trying to escape to a higher spot where it won't be bothered. It would help to keep your senior dog on a leash to prevent it from chasing your cat or acting aggressively against it.

Let the dog familiarize everyone's scent. 

If there's one thing your new dog is good at, it is remembering scent. As you introduce your new dog to your family, do not be alarmed when it tries to sniff everyone out

As mentioned, do not crowd your new dog so it won't confuse the scent. Introduce your family members individually and inform them of the sniffing so they won't react negatively, which might startle your new pet. 

Before letting the dog meet the infant, let it first sniff the baby's clothes and blankets. If you want your dog to associate the scent of a baby blanket with good things, you can pair it with a reward

Do not use the baby's stuff for retrieving games since they might do it with the baby. When introducing your pup to a baby, it is better to do it in an open and secure area so the dog can leave whenever it wants. 

All interactions between a baby and a dog must always be supervised. Young children might frighten a new pet by making a lot of noise, racing around the home, or tugging at the animal's ears, tail, or fur, so make sure they know how to behave around your new pet.

Take your new pet to the vet. 

Puppies should have a complete physical exam at the vet before they come home with their new owners. Your new pet mustn't bring any contagious illnesses into the household. 

Before bringing him inside, you should get your new pup dewormed and up-to-date on its shots. Before introducing your new puppy to your existing pets, double-check that they are fully vaccinated and in good health.

Train and socialize your new dog consistently. 

When bringing home a puppy, remember that they are like human infants and have much to learn as they begin their new lives with their human families. Crate training is an excellent method for making a new puppy feel at ease and safe in its new surroundings. 

Your new puppy isn't the only animal who can benefit from training and socialization but also your other pets and family members. 

Through proper training and socialization, your new puppy can eventually grow comfortable with you and your family, especially the other pets in the household and the environment in general. 

They will mature into well-behaved dogs that get along with everyone. But remember, it is essential to use positive reinforcement to ensure the training sessions are pleasurable. 

Keep both pets safe. 

When introducing dogs to one another, remember that they don't just shake paws and go on as we do. As much as possible, we would like their first meeting to feel as relaxed and comfortable as possible; however, keeping them on the leash prevents them from freely greeting one another and interacting. 

For a non-leash interaction, get them into a safe, neutral area away from each other, take off their collars and leashes, and watch them. They both need to be given time to work their way. Watch for negative signals, and be prepared to intervene if necessary. 

Summary 

In conclusion, bringing home a new puppy isn't always easy, especially for inexperienced pet parents, but it's always rewarding. We hope the tips and advice in this post will help the transition go off without a hitch. Your new puppy will quickly become a beloved household member if you exercise persistence, tolerance, and patience.