So, you've decided to bring home a new puppy. It’s a big decision and if you're anything like most pet parents, you're probably wondering how to best approach the introduction between your new fur baby and the existing dog pack.
When introducing a new puppy, it’s only normal to be overwhelmed with questions, like:
How do I introduce them?
What if something goes wrong?
Will my old dog be jealous of our new addition?
Will they get along well enough for this arrangement to work out?
These might seem like simple questions at first glance, but there's so much more at stake when bringing home a new dog than just whether or not they'll get along. You want all of your dogs to feel comfortable around each other without feeling stressed, jealous, or competitive. And, this can be difficult since everyone involved has their own personalities and needs.
Here are our top five tips and best practices to help you safely and easily introduce a new puppy to your existing dog pack.
How To Introduce a New Puppy To Your Dog
Know Your Existing Dog's Personality
The first step to successfully introducing a new puppy to your existing dog pack is in knowing the personalities of your existing dogs. If one of your existing dogs is shy, you will need to be patient and allow all of the dogs plenty of time to get used to one another before leaving them alone together or taking them on walks or with one another.
If one of your existing dogs is aggressive (or even just territorial), you will want to take extra precautions as well. This might mean training and/or socializing your existing dog so that he or she becomes less defensive of his space and belongings, but it could also mean keeping your new puppy on a leash while they're together until they've gotten used to one another's scent.
It’s important to thoroughly know the personalities within your current dog pack to properly gauge (and prepare for) their reactions and tolerances to a new, unpredictable pup.
Choose The Right Location for the Meeting
When introducing a new puppy to your pack, you want to choose a location that is quiet and has minimal distractions. If there are other pets in the house (cats, birds, etc), they should be kept away from the introduction process. You also want to make sure that it's safe for your puppy to run around during the introduction, making an open backyard or park space ideal.
Follow Your Dog’s Lead
The best thing you can do when introducing a new puppy is to allow your existing dogs to take the lead. Follow their cues and respond accordingly. Some introductions just go quickly and without a hitch. If this is the case, allow things to unfold naturally. Be patient and present, allowing your dog pack to take the lead with the newcomer. You might be surprised at how easily the introduction takes place.
If you do notice aggressive posturing, growling, or intimidating stares coming from your pack, calmly redirect the attention and separate the pups if necessary.
Provide Lots of Space to Run and Play
A large, wide-open area is the most beneficial space for new dog introductions. This type of setup allows all your pups to claim their own individual space, and doesn’t force anyone to interact if they don’t want to. If your existing dogs don’t seem interested in the new puppy or refuse to sniff/play with them, that’s okay! Try not to force anything. The mere presence of the new puppy gives your existing dog so many new things to get used to, including the puppy’s scent.
Try providing separate food and water bowls for your new puppy as the dogs become accustomed to one another. This will help prevent unnecessary competition or aggression.
Reward Good Behavior And Set Boundaries With Both Dogs
One of the best ways to get your puppy to learn good manners is by rewarding them when they do something right. You can give a treat or a pat on the head if they sit nicely when you ask them. If they behave well when another dog comes over, reward the good behavior with praise and affection. This will help them learn how to interact with other dogs in a way that makes everyone happy!
It’s important to remember that puppies are never going to be full-grown adult dogs overnight—they’ll need boundaries in order for everyone in your home and neighborhood to live comfortably together. Don’t allow your puppy to constantly pester and annoy your existing dogs, and try to prevent any dominant behavior from the older dogs in the pack. It’s important for you to create and maintain a level of balance for all the pups in your pack.
Always Take Your Time When Introducing a New Puppy
Bringing home a new puppy is an exciting time for you, but it can also be stressful and challenging for your current dog pack. It’s important to take your time when introducing a new puppy in order to ensure everyone stays safe.
When bringing home a new puppy, remember that:
Puppies are not like adult dogs — they don't know how to relate with other dogs or humans as well as adult dogs do, so it's important to take extra care during this time period!
Puppies need help learning how to behave around other people and animals - their brains aren't fully developed yet! Train your puppy in the proper way to behave around your dog pack; don’t allow them to run the show.
Following these five tips will help you build a happy and healthy home for all of your dogs. Remember to be patient - from the introduction to the acquaintance period. Your direct involvement is extremely important, and you should always be paying attention when your dogs are interacting. Having your new puppy accepted as part of the dog pack can take some time, but with a little patience and persistence you’ll be on your way before you know it!
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