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Thursday, January 23, 2020

How to Introduce a New Dog to the Family

Regardless of whether you have owned dogs in the past or present, introducing a new animal to your ‘pack’ is an exciting time for everyone. However, it’s also important that it’s done properly to ensure that everyone concerned is safe and your new addition is made to feel as comfortable as possible. Remember, a new dog will simply know you as a room full of strangers, and patience is required while they come to terms with being in a new ‘pack’.


Introducing to Children
This is often the first place where families go wrong and accidents happen. The most important thing to remember is that children must never approach the new dog. Any interaction must be done on the dog’s terms in order to avoid the dog feeling overwhelmed or threatened — as it can lead to self-defensive behavior.

Humans are a lot less threatening to dogs if they are sitting, so it is wise to be seated before encouraging the dogs to come to them using treats. Remember, when the dog first gets to your home they will be overwhelmed with scents and will most likely spend the first few moments having a sniff and getting to know the room they are in. Make sure the children understand this and discourage them from constantly calling the dog in different directions. Remember to keep this meeting as calm as possible as you don’t want to provoke a fear response in the dog.

It is also vital that children understand that dogs generally dislike being hugged as this can make them feel trapped. It is best to ask children to refrain from hugging the dog until you have established if this is acceptable to them.

Children can get excited by the arrival of a new pet, but after the initial introduction try and encourage a calm environment. The dog will automatically start to feel more relaxed if they can see that other members of the family are also relaxing.

Get the children involved in your dog’s first visit to the vet at heartandpaw.com so they can start to feel like they are a part of caring for their new family member. Once you have established polite feeding habits with the dog, it is also a good idea to get children involved in this process as it can help establish the trust between both of them.

Introducing to Resident Dogs
The best way to introduce new dogs to existing pack members is to do so on neutral territory. A long walk together can often be the least stressful way for animals to get to know one another. Once back in the house, remove any items that the animals might fight over like toys, bones and treats, and if you notice any unwanted behaviors from either side, try to distract them before it turns into a fight. Have a place where you can isolate the dogs from each other to give them an opportunity to calm down should things get heated.
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