Humans are not the only ones that get upset when the established order of things is thrown out of balance by new arrivals. You are at the shelter helping out, or looking around and there is this one puppy that is cuteness personified, all you want to do is take it home and undo all the negatives that landed the little fellow in the shelter. Like all new things, you start making mental visions of where you will make a bed for the little guy and all the fun you will have. Slowly it dawns on you that there may be a problem, your other dog at home!
You have come to the right place; we will get you on the right path to knowing to introduce a puppy to your dog.
There are important questions to ask yourself about both the new puppy and old dogs already living in your house.
Here are six simple steps to getting your dogs acquainted:
1. Keep Calm
It is tempting to lavish a lot of affection and attention on the new member of the family on the day we finally get to bring them home but this should be avoided. It won’t be easy at first because all you will want to do is play and smother the little guy with kisses and hugs and photos but for the good of the whole process of new beginnings, you must remain calm.
Give only the attention that is necessary when you pick up the puppy. This helps with the transition from familiar surroundings to totally new surroundings. It is important to remember to intentionally maintain this calmness until the new guy becomes part of the doggy gang at home.
2. Go for a long walk
You have arrived outside your home with the new puppy; why not take the leash for a test walk? Attach the leash to the puppy’s collar and go for a long walk around the neighborhood. This serves to get the new guy acquainted with the smells, sounds, and sights of his/her new hood and to tire him/her out by draining any excess energy so that a calm state prevails.
A tired puppy is a calm puppy that will not run all over the house getting in the way of the resident dog(s).
3. Dog, meet house
Take your new puppy to the entrance of your house after the walk. Do not let him/her go in but rather make them lie down or sit at the door as you open it and go in then come out. It is important for the dog to go in only on your invitation, which will come later on.
4. Meeting in neutral ground
With the puppy still on a leash, take a short walk to a nearby open area that will act as a neutral ground for your dogs to meet for the first time. The concept of the neutral ground is important because the first instinct of your resident dog(s) will be to defend their home turf. You do not want their first meeting with the new addition to be a confrontation over who’s yard your home is.
Once at the neutral ground, take the dogs off their leashes to make it seem like business as usual for them. Leashed dogs can become aggressive out of fear especially if the detect wariness or excitement on your part.
For extra precaution, it is best to introduce them through a barrier like a net or a chain link fence. This way they will get a feel for each other before they actually meet. This is especially important if the new pup is much smaller than the resident dog(s) because they may get injured accidentally during the excitement of the meeting.
5. Home ground meet
Before you invite the new pup into the house, make sure all the toys and blankets of the resident dog(s) are stored away. Dogs interact with their surroundings through smell more than any other sense. This is a new environment and you don’t want to overwhelm the senses of this new fellow. The other dog(s) might also get territorial with their stuff, which will put a strain on the carefully crafted first meeting at home.
Repeat the introduction in the yard at home without leashes. The pup should meet one dog at a time if you own several dogs. Call each dog away for treats at intervals to avoid overstimulation during introductions.
The resident dog(s) should find the new pup inside the house when they come in from play outside. It will be easier for them to quickly form social rankings for positive interactions. Dog etiquette calls for sniffing each other in unmentionable areas; let it happen for short intervals as you get to know the way to introduce a puppy to your dog.
Keep the new dog protected by a barrier whenever you are not around to supervise the dogs.
6. Parallel walking
The interactions between the new and resident dogs have been positive up to this point so you need to keep it that way. During the first few moments when going for walks, have a different person walk the resident dog while you handle the new pup. Keep the leashes loose to reduce tensions.
It is important to keep in mind the age and level of health of your resident dog(s) to avoid straining the older dogs as they try to keep up with the energetic new puppy.