As a dog owner, introducing a new dog into the family not only means you’ll be hearing the pitter-patter of even more paws around the home, but your pooch will also gain a new live-in play pal. Someone to walk with, woof with and snuggle up beside when the day is done.
However, if the new furry family member is not introduced with great care, this sweet idea could quickly turn sour. So, how should dog owners introduce a new dog into the family?
Whatever the breed, age, or background, no two dogs are the same. This means, there are no set rules to follow when introducing a new dog into the family. However, having helped thousands of homeless dogs find and settle into their ‘forever home’, our friends at Raystede Centre for Animal Welfare have plenty of tried and tested tips.
Rayestede’s top tips for introducing a new dog into the family
1. Start with a walk
Before bringing home the new addition to the family, Raystede recommends taking both dogs out for a walk. Spotting sights and sharing sniffs together, the walk will serve as a great bonding exercise. It will also help burn up excited energy and release any early tensions that may be building.
The Raystede experts also suggest feeding both of your furry pals treats along the way to help build a positive association around spending time with one another.
2. Think from the perspective of the new pooch
With worries about whether or not introducing a new dog into the family will upset your much-loved pet, it may be tempting to focus on their feelings. However, Raystede points out that with their paws firmly under the table, your dog is at an advantage. Your smell, your daily routine, the best snooze spots in the house — they know it all.
On the other paw, your new pooch will be surrounded by unfamiliarity, so it’s important to pay plenty of attention to their feelings too.
3. You’re only there to supervise
When you all arrive home, Raystede recommends the first thing you do is let the dogs out into the garden, giving them time and space to explore and get to know their new furry family member.
During this time, your role is to supervise, so try not to interfere. This means keeping a careful watch on them both and providing the right amount of feedback. Let them know they’re “good dogs” for socialising and getting along and be sure to give a quiet but firm “no” or “steady” when you see boisterous or antagonistic behaviour.
4. Hide all valuables
Before you pick up your new pooch, prepare your home by hiding all valuables. We’re not talking antiques and expensive tech, we mean your pooch’s prize possessions. This includes things like toys, treats, and even food bowls* — anything that has the potential to cause friction.
Once you’re sure the dogs are getting along, the valuable items can slowly be reintroduced over the course of a few days. Again, remember you’re there to supervise so if there are signs of tension, see if the dogs are reading each other and can diffuse the situations themselves.
*Water bowls should always be accessible, just be sure to keep an eye out because even these items could cause tension.
5. Stay safe
When dogs are getting to know each other, small squabbles can be part of normal communication and necessary for establishing bonds. However, Raystede always recommends seeking expert advice to ensure the safety of everyone involved. If you do find yourself needing to break up a fight, think of your safety first. For example, instead of jumping between snapping jaws and risking injury, try distracting the fighting dogs by throwing water over them.
Introducing a new dog into the family takes time, patience and plenty of love. While there may be a few problems along the way, your new pooch will soon find their paws and become part of your pack.
Do any of the perfect pooches in this blog post make you fall in love? Well, you may be in luck, as each and every one of them is looking for a new home. Visit Raystede's website for more infomation.
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