No person can resist a puppy, but what do you do when the puppy is faced with the “big dog” of the household – how do you introduce your new puppy to your family animals?
First things first! Before you bring your new puppy home, make sure that any items the family dog might get possessive or territorial over – such as food bowls, toys, bones and any other objects your dog has a strong attachment to – are removed or hidden.
This will lessen the jealousy the family dog may feel when you bring your new puppy home, especially if the newbie starts playing with all the other dog’s favourite toys!
Now for the first meeting – this is very important as it will cement the foundation of the relationship between the two dogs. Both dogs should ideally meet in a neutral area, a park or other open space, so they have room to move away from each other if they so choose. Congested or cluttered areas are more likely to trigger aggression because the dogs may feel forced upon each other, and introducing the dogs in your house immediately may cause your family dog to become territorial.
In the park, have both the dogs on leads when greeting each other as this will help to control any tense situation that may arise. Do your best to keep slack in the leashes though, so the dogs won’t feel like they are being held back. Keep the direct interactions brief at first and go for a walk together after the initial sniffing and greeting.
Once the dogs have become familiar with each other, walk home from the park or other meeting area and just walk into your home together with the dogs as though nothing has changed. If you have a garden, let the dogs hang out there for a while under supervision. Once you enter the house, take the new pup back on the lead and let him explore the house. This allows your resident dog to feel that he still has some authority in the situation. If the family dog does not appear threatening, then it is safe to let the puppy off the lead.
For the next couple of weeks, make sure all interactions are supervised, as this is still new territory for both dogs. Try to keep routine for the family dog as normal as possible and make sure that both dogs have separate eating bowls and sleeping areas in the beginning. Give your resident dog more attention than the newbie and give him his food, treats, toys etc. before the newcomer.
After this, Puppy Lovin’ should hopefully be achieved!
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