When a new puppy or dog is brought to the home it is very exciting. It is essential that this new arrival is introduced and settled in the right way so that everyone in the house lives in harmony.
Before the new dog arrives, dog-proof the area that he is going to use. Make sure that it is free from electrical cords, chemicals, plants, rugs and breakables.
Give the dog the opportunity to toilet before he enters the house, but be prepared for accidents. Moving to a new home is a nerve-wracking experience. The dog will be confused so a quiet, calm environment is essential. Introduce the dog to close family members only. Too many people will frighten and overwhelm. Children should be taught to respect the dog, treating him with care.
Ensure everyone uses the same commands so that dog has consistency and knows how to respond. If possible, maintain the dog’s established routines of feeding, walking and bedtime.
For the same reason, follow same feeding pattern with the same food. If you want to change the food you feed your dog, make this transition gradually.
Introducing a New Dog to an Established Dog
Before any meeting takes place, introduce the dogs through scent. Swap their bedding so that they become used to the smell of the other.
Introduce dogs to each other on neutral territory. Go for a long walk, one person each taking a dog on the lead. Walk the established dog in front to show that he has control, walk the new dog behind. Allow the dogs to sniff each other. Ignore any minor disagreements and scuffles. Be ready to lead the dogs away if a serious fight threatens and isolate until they have calmed down. If a puppy is being introduced, allow him to walk around, rather than holding him in your arms. He will feel trapped and overwhelmed. Stand with your legs apart so that the puppy can go to you for security.
Build up a series of these greeting walks before allowing the new dog to enter the home.
When you are ready for this, remove any toys and bones that the dogs could fight over. Buy the new dog a set of bowls, toys and a bed. The other dog should not be expected to share.
Make an equal fuss of both dogs so that there are no feelings of exclusion. Give each dog some 1-1 time so that they feel secure and are able to bond with you.
Feed the dogs apart. Don’t leave them alone until it is obvious that they are friends.
Introducing a Dog to a Cat
If introduced in the right way, dogs and cats are able to build a respectful, even enjoyable relationship. On meeting for the first time, the dog should be restrained on a lead. The cat should be in a safe area with the ability to escape somewhere high up for reassurance. If a dog gets aggressive, remove him straight away. Build up a series of meetings until they seem happy and relaxed with each other. Supervise at all times.
It is essential that a cat has use of a dog-free area and does not feel threatened by their presence in the house. They should have separate meal times. Move the cat litter to a safe place.
Whatever your domestic set-up, settling your new dog into the home in a planned and calm way will ensure that everyone is happy.