Bringing a new dog home into your life is an exciting and emotional process. Not only are you excited to introduce them to your family and friends, but you get to learn about the new personality that will be running around your house.
How you introduce a new dog into your home can depend on if you have other animals, family members, or children. No two dogs are going to be the same, so you can’t always anticipate how they will act when coming into a new space.
When a new dog comes into your home, be prepared to give them time to adjust to their new surroundings. Giving them space and letting them explore before bombarding them with new introductions can help to ease them into your family.
For tips on how to introduce your dog to your new home and other animals, keep reading!
New Dogs Need Time
Whether you adopt a new puppy or an older dog, they will need time to settle in (often referred to as the 3-3-3 Rule). Depending on their background, some dogs need more time, so there’s no telling when they will start to act like themselves. Some dogs settle right in and make themselves at home, while others might be more hesitant to relax.
If you’re bringing a new dog into a home with other dogs or cats, the timeline could look very different. Not only do you need to make your new dog comfortable in their new space, but you also have to ensure that your other animals are responding positively, or at least neutrally. Ensuring that all parties are comfortable with each other will help the process move along efficiently and can make the transition easier.
Perp Work: What To Do
Every dog is unique and will require their own specific way of settling into their new home. Still, there are things that you can do to show trust, safety, and love to your new dog as they make their way into your family.
1. Gather All Supplies Ahead of Time
Have all of the supplies you need ready to go. Have a crate set up for them in their new designated spot, a new dog bed, a comfortable harness or collar, a durable leash, water and food bowls, dog food, and some training treats available. This will make things easier on you when they get to your home.
2. Introduce Your Scent to the New Dog
Give your new pup an old towel or piece of clothing with your scent on it. Before you even get into your house, give your new dog something with the scent of you and your home. This will familiarize them with you and make their new home recognizable.
3. Remain Calm
It’s best to keep a neutral emotional state when introducing your new dog to yourself, your family and friends, their new space, and new animals. If you’re overly excited, your dog will feed off that energy and might become either anxious or riled up. It might set the wrong tone when doing introductions with their new family members.
How To Introduce Your Current Dog to a New Dog
You know your dog best, including how they normally react with other dogs. Take into consideration how your resident dog prefers introductions and base your actions on that.
Here is some information to help get your plan started:
1. Introduce the New Dog’s Scent
Give your resident dog something with your new pooch’s scent. This can prepare your dog for a new friend, getting them familiar with their scent before seeing the new pet. Dogs use their scent to perceive their surroundings, so it can make the transition process easier.
2. Start in a Neutral Territory
Schedule the first meeting to be in a neutral location. Don’t bombard your dog with a new friend by walking them straight in through the front door unannounced. Take your dog to a park, and have a family member with you to introduce them on-leash, allowing for slack in the line. Tandem walks can also make for a nice and neutral introduction, letting them get to know each other’s scent as they walk.
3. Watch the Body Language
Let them sniff each other while paying close attention to each dog’s body language. For example, if the hair on your dog’s back is raised, that indicates arousal (which could be negative or positive).
If a dog rolls on their back, this could be a sign of fear or stress. Commonly seen between a puppy and an adult dog, the younger pup wants their new elder to know they submit.
One of the most positive postures is the play bow. When you bring new dogs together, and you see a play bow, it’s typically a solid indication that fun times are afoot.
Your dogs don’t have to pay attention to each other if they don’t want to. It’s actually somewhat preferred to have your two dogs take notice of each other’s presence and then be able to go off and smell or urinate elsewhere. Let them establish their relationship without prompting them.
4. Go for a Short Walk
Before going back to the house, you can try to go on a short walk together to see how they respond to each other. Dogs that ignore each other and can coexist sometimes make for the best pairings!
When you get home, stay outside first. Let your dog show the new dog around their backyard, continuing to monitor their body language. If your backyard is fenced in, feel free to let your dog off-leash, keeping your new dog on a leash. If your dog feels playful and confident, you can take the leash off the new dog and see how they respond.
How To Introduce Your Cat to a New Dog
Some dog breeds may have a higher sense of prey drive than others; consider this when introducing a new dog to your resident cat. Your first priority is to keep your cat safe. Some shelters and rescues perform a cat test before releasing a dog to a new home. Ask the shelter’s dog trainer or behaviorist how they fared before bringing your new puppy home.
1. Introduce the Scent Before the First Day
Introduce your cat to the new dog’s scent before they meet, which should help your cat become accustomed to the new dog’s scent before they arrive. This could be on dog toys or a blanket. It gives them the heads-up that someone new is going to be coming into their space. At the same time, ensure that the incoming pup can’t get into the cat’s litter box or food. Having a dog-free area for your cat to go can help your cat to feel less threatened by their new family member.
Let them see each other with your new dog leashed. Your dog might become easily excitable at the sight of a cat: Teach them to be gentle and calm. Cats are highly independent and might not want anything to do with the new dog the first time they meet.
2. Your Cat Sets the Pace
Let your cat determine the speed at which they meet. You don’t need to rush anything when it comes to this introduction. Keep your dog leashed until they can be trusted off of it.
Let your cat come to your new dog, sniffing and checking them out to get a feel for them. This is often best done through a baby gate. If your dog fixates on the cat, lead the dog away and try again in a little bit.
When you bring your new dog home, ensure the cat has a different room they can retreat to that the dog cannot enter. Maintaining separate areas in the home if your cat needs more time is wise.
3. Teach Dog-Cat Playtime Manners
Don’t allow your dog to chase the cat.Even if they look like they’re playing, this behavior can become hazardous and should be avoided. Teach your dog that there are certain toys to chase after and that the cat is to be respected and left alone.
Luckily, cats are pretty good at setting boundaries, so as their relationship grows, they should begin to learn each other’s behaviors and limits.
4. Focus on Comfort
You don’t want to rush your new dog into anything, and you want them to adjust on their own. Promote trust by keeping interactions positive and encouraging them to explore. On a similar note, you also don’t want your resident pets to feel overwhelmed or like their space is threatened.
5. Keep Routines Consistent
Don’t switch up the routines of your resident pets for the new dog. You want to allow for a hierarchy to establish itself and let your resident pets know that they are not being overtaken. Greet your current pets before your new dog, keep with the same feeding and exercise schedule, and carve out plenty of time for giving them attention.
6. Monitor All Interactions
It’s smartest to supervise your new dog consistently, even if they are the single pet in the household. Allow for some independence, but keeping them safe and out of trouble will alleviate anxiety for you and make future training much easier.
Until you feel all pups can be trusted, don’t leave them alone with each other. As your new dog gets to know your other pets, they will understand each other better. For now, there is too much uncharted territory to let them off alone together.
Say Hello to AskVet
No matter how exciting it is to get a new dog, it can be nerve-wracking to learn how your new dog will react to your home and to your other pets. Staying positive and calm will show your dog that there is good energy that they are coming into. However, you can never be certain about how they will react.
When questions arise, you can go to AskVet with them to find answers. Whether you are concerned about your resident animal’s emotional wellness, if you notice that there is an undesirable behavior that pops up, or if you just are wondering about different training and resources, AskVet has got you covered.
Sign-up today to chat with a Certified Pet Coach and make introducing your new dog to your home a whole lot easier.
Pet Dogs’ Relationships Vary Rather Individually Than According To Partner’s Species | NCBI
Canine Olfaction: Physiology, Behavior, and Possibilities for Practical Applications | NCBI
3-3-3 Rule of Adoption | Winnipeg Humane Society
Understanding Dog Body Language: Decipher Dogs’ Signs & Signals | AKC