Making the decision to bring a new dog into the family is a big one. There are lots of things to take into consideration such as your financial security or how much free time you have. If you conclude that now is the right time for a new pet after carefully considering the pros and cons of owning a dog, the next step is to properly introduce him to the family. Proper introductions will help get this new relationship off to a great start.
How your family interacts with your pet in the beginning will set the stage for the future. If the introductions go well, becoming a new member of the family will go a lot smoother for your pet.
Here are five tips for introducing your new dog to the family:
- Have a nice quiet spot ready for your dog – It will help him adjust to your home and family if he has a place to retreat when he’s feeling scared or simply overwhelmed from all the attention. The ideal spot is where he can see everyone in the family room but where there is little foot traffic. This way, he will get used to your voices and seeing the family without feeling threatened. When he is ready, he will come out of his safety spot to check things out.
- Allow your dog to introduce himself to other family members and friends at his own pace – If too many people run towards your new pet all at once, he’s going to feel overwhelmed or frightened. However, he will warm up to them rather quickly when given the opportunity to walk up slowly and get to know them at his own pace.
- If you have other dogs, introduce your new pet to your current dogs slowly – Keep them in separate rooms for a day or two preferably where they can see and smell each other but not close enough to touch. Take them for walks together but have a separate handler for each dog. Allow them time to interact and get familiar with each other while you closely monitor them, especially if you old pets act aggressively towards the newcomer. Only allow the dogs to be together alone when you’re sure they have fully accepted each other.
- Never leave your new dog alone with small children – Even if your dog seems gentle and appears to get along great with kids, you never really know how he will respond when you’re out of the room. If the child moves too quickly or grabs the dog by the ear or something, he could snap at or even bite the child. To ensure everyone’s safety, don’t leave your new dog with small children unattended and teach your kids the proper way to interact with dogs.
- Avoid loud noises during the introduction and adjustment period – Loud noises like screaming or playing the music or the TV loudly may frighten your new dog, so keep the noise level down in the first few days. This doesn’t mean that you need to walk around on tip-toes but excessive noise should be avoided for a little while.
Regardless of what breed of dog you choose or his age, your new pet is going to be scared and nervous when you bring him home for the first time. Give him a little time to adjust to his new surroundings and all the new things and people in it. Having patience will make this transition easier for everyone, including your new pet.
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