Fort Lauderdale, Florida, January 10, 2010—Bringing a new dog into the family is an exciting time for the human “pack” members but can create stress for the non-human pack. Home Dog Training of South Florida offers tips to help pet owners understand how to manage pet introductions and help ensure a lifetime of harmony for everyone— from the family dog or cat to a bird, or other small pet.
“Introducing a new dog to your current household of animals can be a challenging task if proper measures aren’t taken,” said Robin Edwards, dog behavioral therapist. “By following a few tips, the introduction can be seamless for everyone.”
- Set reasonable goals when you bring a new dog into your pack. Knowing the dogs’ backgrounds as to how well they were socialized will help you manage what might happen. Remember and respect that your resident dog and/or cat may perceive the new dog to be encroaching on their established territory, which can be very stressful.
- Proceed slowly and calmly. Slow-paced introductions may help prevent any fear-based or aggressive reactions from developing. If bad behaviors are not reined in from the start, they can become habit and be very hard to change in the future.
- Never leave new pets unattended, even if a pet is caged. When two pets meet, it is imperative you watch them at all times. The situation can change suddenly.
- If you have more than one resident dog, introduce each dog one at a time to the new dog to prevent them from overwhelming the newcomer.
- Stay in control of the introduction. If you are not sure how your pet will react, take the necessary precautions to keep him (and you) safe.
- Be patient and adaptable. You will need to teach your new dog to trust you while communicating to your resident pets that you will continue to keep them safe. Building good relationships takes time.
Dog to Dog
Before you bring the new dog (or puppy) home, bring home his scent so your resident pets can be introduced to his smell first. Rub the new dog with a cloth or use a blanket he has slept on and bring it into your home and place it where he will be sleeping.
In addition, be sure both your resident dog and the new dog are up to date on their vaccinations to avoid any risk of infection.
Introduce in a Neutral Location
Introduce the dogs in a neutral location that is unfamiliar to both dogs, such as a park. This prevents your resident dog from feeling his territory is being threatened.
Each dog should be on a loosely held six-foot leash and handled by a separate person. Try to stay relaxed so the dogs don’t pick up on any tension you might be feeling.
Don’t force an interaction between the dogs. Just walk near each other for a few minutes. One or both of the dogs may ignore each other, which is fine. Just stay upbeat and give the dogs time to get comfortable with the situation.
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