Best Practices for Introducing a New Pup to Your Pack
As a CPR volunteer and foster mom, one question I hear a lot is “How do I introduce my new pup to other pets in the house”? With just a little preparation and consideration, bringing that new fuzzy buddy home can be an awesome experience for everyone.
That first day your new pup comes home can be an extremely stressful one for them and for any pets you may already have. Allowing the “newbie” uncontrolled access right off the bat might put resident pets on guard. These simple steps will help prepare your home ahead of time:
- Put away any favorite toys or treats that your pets might have a hard time sharing with their new friend.
- Set up places for all pets in the house that they can retreat to when they need space, like a crate, a bed in a different room, etc.
- Make sure to purchase separate supplies for each pup, like food bowls, beds, toys, etc.
So now you’re ready for that first meet and greet! I recommend first introduction happens on neutral territory, like outdoors at the home, having both pups on leash and gradually allow more space to explore each other. Keep an eye out for the following signs of stress:
- Stiff posture
- Tail/ears up straight
- Raised fur on the neck/back
- Staring straight at each other with bodies positioned in-line with one another
- Growling, barking, or lunging
Any of these signs may indicate one of the pups needs space, so try a quick redirecting walk around before bringing them back together.
Once you’re ready to bring the new pup into your home, start with the basics, introducing to food and water dishes, crates, beds, etc. and gradually expand the area to exploration.
2-4 Week Adjustment Period
Most pups take 2-4 weeks to adjust to a new home and observing and guiding the relationships is essential. Here are my best tips to help during this time:
- Do not leave pups unattended together. You have to be present to intervene, and dogs, while sweet and loving in most situations, are animals that will react instinctively if unsure or afraid.
- Feed pups separately. Not only will you be in control how much food each pup is eating, it eliminates the possibility of a reaction if one pup goes after another’s dinner.
- Don’t allow either your resident pets or the new addition to “playfully” bully or antagonize one another. It might seem cute to you, but it’s likely not appreciated by pup getting pushed around.
- Share the love, and make sure you do so with equal amounts of affection doled out to all. Resident pets can quickly pick up the lack of attention and become resentful of a new pup.
- Keep calm. Dogs are incredibly perceptive and will pick up on your moods. If your calm and consistent during the adjustment period, it encourages them to be too.
- Above all else, be patient and prepared. Accidents in the house, whining in the crate, shyness, etc. are all common and in learning the routine.
I hope the info contained is helpful in making your new pet’s “Welcome Home” the best it can be, and hope if you’re just starting to consider a new furry family member that you choose to rescue. So many amazing pets are waiting for your help.
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