When you bring a new dog home to meet your current pack, it is critical to get things right from the beginning. Otherwise, you could experience a variety of ongoing challenges.
Introducing a new dog involves not only your other canine family members, but also the human members of the household and any other pets in the home. Dog trainers understand how important these first impressions are for future harmony. The experienced team at Innovative K9 Academy in Salt Lake City have some pro tips for managing pet introductions.
No. 1: Understand What You’re Working With
The first step to successfully introducing a new pet is to understand the elements of the situation. How well do your current pets interact with unfamiliar dogs? How well-socialized are the animals involved? How comfortable are the members of your household in handling potential conflicts?
If family members aren’t comfortable with closely monitoring and managing any potential negative interactions between your pets, don’t set them up for failure by forcing them to do so. If one or more of your pets has fear issues (or any other behavioral challenges), you’ll have to take the appropriate steps to ease them into an introduction.
No matter how well you think the introductory process might go, you can’t rush bringing a new pet into an existing pack.
No. 2: Take Your Time Introducing a New Dog
As much as you’d like to make a first introduction and have immediate harmony, that result is more likely to be the exception than the rule. Successful integration of your new pet will take time.
If you have multiple pets in the home already, introduce each one to the new dog by themselves. Other pets can influence behaviors, so take your new pet and one existing dog at a time to a neutral location – the sidewalk in front of your house should work perfectly well – and let them get used to the sight and smell of each other before you allow them in proximity to one another.
Let the animals set the pace of the introductions and develop a strong level of trust and comfort.
No. 3: Keep a Close Eye on the Progress
No matter how well things seem to be going, never leave your pets unsupervised during the introductory process. Likewise, never leave them alone with another family member who isn’t prepared to intervene if things get dicey.
How long do you have to keep the introductory process under a watchful eye? The answer, again, depends on your pack. Use your instincts and watch the behavior of each dog closely for signs of stress, fear or aggression.
Days or even weeks after what appears to be a successful integration of a new dog, your OG pack members can develop possessiveness or other unwanted behaviors. Watch for signs such as marking or breaking housetraining, guarding of resources or family members, or any other potentially developing problem behaviors.
No. 4: Don’t Hesitate to Involve a Professional Pet Trainer
If introductions don’t proceed smoothly – or if conflicts emerge among pack members – don’t wait to consult a professional dog trainer. If you allow conflicts to go on, unaddressed, bad habits can quickly become ingrained. In a worst-case scenario, pets and humans can get hurt.
In northern Utah, call on the experienced dog training team at Innovative K9 Academy for help. Our trainers are experts in socializing dogs and introducing them into unfamiliar scenarios. With the help of our highly experienced pet trainers, you can successfully introduce a new dog into your pack in no time.