How Do You Introduce a new dog to the pack at home?
Adding a new pup to your pack can be fun and exciting, at least for us hoomans. For the family dogs involved however, it can cause confusion, jealousy, sadness and other changes in behaviours.
When you are planning to grow your family, it is often easier said than done.
Careful introductions are extremely important when a new dog will be introduced to the current pack. As territorial creatures, canines may show possessiveness over their homes and hoomans and may want to show who is the boss.
First impressions between dogs will set their future relationships. Kind of like us hoomans. never get a second chance for a first impression, so better make it right!
So, how to introduce a new child as smooth as possible?
Bringing your new pup home may seem like a good idea, but it’s often not. Your home is the territory that belongs to your ‘first-born’.
Instead, pick a neutral place like a park, the beach or the forest to meet each other. In these wide open spaces they will have a safe area to sniff around and plenty of room to move. There are also other exciting smells and new things that will distract the attention.
Letting the two new friends right away off-leash may be moving a bit too fast. Keep both pups leashed until they’re more comfortable with each other. When introducing the new dogs, make sure you have some help. Each pup should have a hooman holding the leash in case temper flares. (especially advisable if your kids are bigger) Allow them to move and do ‘their thing’ at their own will, but always keep a close eye on their body language. If you worry that one pup may be feeling a bit too anxious or is being a little rough, separate them for some time. Make sure both dogs are calm before trying another round of get-to-know-each-other. While the pups are together, make sure your voice is happy and encouraging. Dogs take cues from their hoomans, so make sure you’re sending the correct signals.
Another way to get your pups to casually meet, is to walk them together.
Just take the dogs for a walk together, keeping some distance between them. The idea is to acclimate them to each other’s presence without causing too much tension.
You can also try the “side along” method. That means you start walking your first dog, and after a little time a friend begins walking the new pup in the same direction. The two dogs then casually meet and there is no ‘competition’.
We all know that dogs love treats. Treats are a great way to keep their attention focused, so always make sure you have a pocket full of yummies (Cooka’s cookies) at your first introductions. Save them to reward the kids for good behaviour, but try not to offering them when they’re socialising. We don’t want fights.
And now it’s finally time go home. That’s when the real work begins.
Allow your walk from the park, or any neutral area, to end at home. If your home has a garden keep the pups there, before entering the house. If the two seem comfortable with each other, let them go free, but with the leashes still on. (just making sure you can grab either of the pups in case they get a bit feisty)
When going inside the house, try for everyone to enter at same time.
- Eat & Drink
To avoid territorial behaviour, ensure that each dog has their own food station. At the beginning it might be advisable to have them in separate rooms during feeding time. But don’t change the location or process of meals for your first pup. Make sure their routine stays the same and designate another room for your new family member where he/she feels comfortable while eating.
Eventually, after a few weeks, the two will be okey to dine in the same space, just make sure to keep an eye on them.
Similar to the feeding, keep your first pup’s daily and nightly routines as usual as possible. Allow him/her to sleep in their normal spot, whether it’s in your bed, in their own basket or on the couch… That is their sleeping area and should not be changed.
For a while it may be an idea to crate your new child or keep him/her in a different room during the night.
Dogs are social creatures and love company. For the first few weeks, or until you’re totally confident with the two being together, don’t leave them alone while playing. It only takes a second for play to turn into something serious.
Instead of leaving them to play on their own, join the fun with them. Like this you can supervise them and they will focus on you instead of one another. Redirecting their focus to you, their favorite hooman, can make play time much more smooth and fun for everypawdy involved.
- Remove All Dog Toys…
When it come to our fur-kids, dog toys are rather important. They stimulate their brains, entertain them when we are not at home and redirect pups from “playing” with our shoes or furniture.
However, before welcoming your new pup at home, remove all your first-pup’s toys. These toys only belong to your first child and the two may become territorial over them.
With time you can slowly reintroduce the toys one-by-one, after the pups have become more comfortable with each other.
We love to hear from your experiences. How easy has it been to grow your pack and what would be your advise?
Love, Your Cooka