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How To Introduce Your New Dog To Other Pets
The first rule of dog ownership: do your research, and this goes for bringing your dog home too. Part of figuring out the best way to introduce your new dog to your existing animals is doing plenty of reading on the breed you've chosen as each breed, and indeed each dog may react differently.
While comfortable for you already, your home is a whole different world for your dog with new places, new people, and in this case, new animals for him to figure out. While some dogs will integrate seamlessly, others will take some time.
Tips and tricks
There are three main areas you need to consider when integrating your new dog into your family—first, the space itself. Second, the people. And third, any other animals.
Creating a safe space
When it comes to the space, make it as homely as possible. Ensure your new dog has its bed, water bowl and food bowl, and of course, its toys. Also, make sure you have all the supplies it will need, including a collar and leash, crate, and some treats. Puppy-proof everything and create safe zones for your pooch, even if you're bringing home an older dog, as they can regress when in new environments and ensure you and any family members are calm when the dog arrives.
Everyone has to play their part
When it comes to people, the first step is making sure every family member is on the same page, especially when it comes to feeding the dog, where it will sleep, and whether there are any areas of the house that will be off-limits. The most important thing to remember is to keep it as low-key as possible. You'll be strangers to the dog at first, so it's best to keep the house as calm and mellow as possible, at least for the first few days.
Meeting of the dogs
One of the most challenging things that may arise is introducing your new dog to your existing one. There are lots to consider here. But the most important thing is to ensure that both of your dogs are not threatened by territory.
For some, choosing an older dog is the answer as they tend to be less energetic than young puppies and in general, less threatening to existing pets. Of course, older dogs do come with their own needs and at times, may need a little bit of extra help feeling secure.
Ease them into the new environment
Before your dogs even meet, it's a good idea to get someone to take your existing dog out and about while you bring your new dog into the house for the first time. That way, your new dog can smell the existing one, without the stress of actually meeting him. During this time as well, your new dog will be able to familiarise himself with his new home. Then, take him to a park to meet your existing dog.
This way, the first meeting of the dogs on neutral territory. And remember to bring treats for both pups to reward them for good behaviour.
Don't leave anything to chance
When you take both dogs home, make sure anything they may compete over is packed away. This includes any toys, chews, and food. Then let them explore, with your supervision, of course. And remember to give lots of praise and treats when they show good and positive behaviour towards each other.
Create positive feedback loops
This means they will associate the other dog with positive experiences. During the settling in period, take both dogs for walks to let them explore with each other. This also encourages playtime. But this must be done under supervision.
Give them their privacy
Finally, always make sure each dog has its sleeping area and eating area. This avoids competition and conflict. And try to feed your dogs separately until they are entirely comfortable with one another.
Two peas in a pod
In time, your dogs will become very comfortable with each other. The most important part of settling them into their relationship is taking care not to favour one over the other.
Treat them equally, let them explore and spend time together, under supervision, and let them enjoy each other's company. Before you know it, it will be like both dogs was always there.
About the author
Luke Fitzpatrick has been published in Forbes, The Next Web, and Influencive. He is a guest lecturer at the University of Sydney, lecturing in Cross-Cultural Management and the Pre-MBA Program. Connect with him on LinkedIn.
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