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6 Tips to Introduce a New Dog to the Household

Are you a dog parent thinking of adding another furry friend to the family? First, you’ll have to introduce your new dog to your resident pet. Today, we will look at some tips to help you introduce a new pet to your home with minimal stress. 

In this post, we will focus on introducing a new dog to a resident dog. 

Introducing a new pet to the home can be a process. It is recommended that you take caution and make a plan before making initial introductions. Having patience and being vigilant will help to ensure a smooth transition so that your pets can become lifelong pals. 

1. Consider Each pet's Personality 

Being conscientious of each animal’s personality and background is a key factor in making ‌introductions. If either of your dogs has reactive behavior, you’ll want to be extra cautious. Consider size and behavior. If either pup has a history of aggression you’ll have to be extra vigilant. 

2. Introduce Them in a Neutral Territory

Animals, especially dogs, are territorial. Introducing a new pet to a residential pet should take place on neutral ground to avoid any automatic defensive behavior. Find a spot that is not claimed by either pet. This is important because territorial behavior can often lead to aggression or fights.

3. Put away objects

Take away anything that might cause a fight. Examples include: toys, food, food bowls, bones, beds, blankets, ect. Anything that interests your resident dog might cause a scuffle, so it is best to keep objects out of the equation. 

4. Body Language 

Do not leave pets alone together while making the first few introductions. Being tuned in to all body language and behavior is vital to this process. Body language will keep you aware of how each dog is feeling and how they are responding. Is one dog uncomfortable? Are there any signs of aggression? This article by Preventative Vet has a great illustration of a wide spectrum of doggie body language. Everything from “threatened” to “curious” is on the chart. 

5. Short First Interaction

Make the first interaction between the dogs brief. You’ll want them to be aware of one another’s presence, sniff each other and touch noses, but then you will want to separate them. A brief interaction will get them comfortable with one another, and limit any escalating behavior. You will want to repeat this process until any excitement has worn off. A calm demeanor from both animals is the goal, but this may take time. 

6. Monitor Meals

Until the two dogs have really had time to get accustomed to one another, feed them in separate areas or monitor feeding times. As mentioned before, dogs can display aggressive behavior when food is in the picture. 

Final Thoughts

You will want to monitor both animals for several weeks. If there is any aggression or even tension, you will want to supervise interactions and keep them brief. When your dogs seem comfortable with one another and do not exhibit any tense or aggressive behavior, you can let them play off leash. You’ll want to keep dogs separated when you are not around to monitor them. Constantly be aware of any potential tension. You will want to be 100% confident interactions are calm and they display positive body language before you leave them alone together.

Whether you are introducing a new dog to a resident dog, a new cat to a dog or vice versa, it is paramount that you take things slow, pay special attention to body language and be prepared. If you are introducing a cat to a dog for the first time, Animal Humane Society has some great tips. And for more great information about dogs, please follow New Life K9s blog.

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