How to introduce a Puppy to it's New HomeFeb 03, 2024
Mrs Scottish Dog Behaviourist's friend in Canada prompted me to write this blog as she’s bringing a new pup home this weekend.
I hope these tips help not only her but everyone who finds themselves in this happy scenario.
Bringing a puppy into your home is an exciting time for all of us, nothing makes you happier than the anticipation of introducing your new pup to your home and family. It’s important though to make sure this introduction is as smooth and stress-free your pup as much as your family.
You may also have another dog already in your home, in this instance we need to be careful with the introduction to help build a good relationship between the pets as early as possible.
Here's my guide to help you bring your new pup home, with an eye on doing so with another dog already in the home.
Preparation, preparation, preparation
Create a Safe Space
Before the pup arrives, make sure you’ve prepared a safe, quiet area where they can retreat and relax. Remember this can be a stressful time and they need time and space to acclimate to their new environment.
This area should include a comfortable bed, toys, and access to water.
Puppy-proof the area by removing hazardous objects and securing trailing electrical cords or plugs.
Get your supplies in!
Before the puppies arrival be sure to plan ahead and get in everything you need to avoid rushing about at the last minute. You may want to get a crate (a safe ‘room’ for your pup to retreat to), food and water bowls, puppy food, toys to keep them occupied, and grooming tools (unless you have a groomer in mind already).
It's also a good idea to have an assortment of healthy treats for training purposes.
Register your new pup with your local vet soon to ensure they're healthy, up-to-date on vaccinations, and ready to safely interact with your other dog.
When first coming into the home let the puppy to explore their new surroundings without overwhelming them, just let them poke about. Keep the environment nice and calm & quiet and keep the number of people to a minimum initially. In other words don’t invite everyone over until they’ve settled in.
Get into a Routine
Everyone involved must but into a consistent routine for feeding, toilet breaks, and playtime. Puppies thrive on routine; this will help them adjust more quickly to their new home.
Introducing the Puppy to Your Existing Dog
Meet on No Mans Land
Introduce the dogs in a neutral area outside the home to help avoid the risk of territorial behaviour. Keep both dogs on a lead and allow them to sniff each other while keeping a safe distance initially.
You’ll be able to judge this yourself but as a guide the interactions initially should be short and watched closely. Look for positive body language, such as wagging tails and relaxed postures.
If there are any signs of aggression or fear, then calmly separate the dogs and try again later.
Use praise, toys and/or food treats to encourage a positive interaction between the dogs. This will help them associate each other with good experiences.
Give them their own space
In a bid to help prevent resource guarding, provide them with separate food bowls, toys, and beds. This will help them both feel secure with this change on the home and reduce competition between them.
Tips for a Smooth Transition
Building a positive relationship between the dogs might take time. Be patient, calm and persistent in your efforts.
Excitable, bitey, over exuberant puppies can be overwhelming for older dogs (and humans). Supervise playtime to ensure it remains safe and enjoyable for both pets and humans alike.
Try not to have favourites
Spend quality time with both (all) dogs individually to strengthen and maintain your bond and to help prevent jealousy.
Engage in training sessions with your puppy early to teach them basic commands and manners. This will also help in establishing your role in their new family unit, and help prevent behavioural issues going forward.
Introducing a puppy to a new home, especially one with an existing dog (or dogs), requires careful planning, patience, and lots of love.
Creating a welcoming environment, and ensure you provide supervised and positive introductions, and maintain a routine to help provide a smooth transition for your pup.
Remember, each dog is unique, the new one will potentially have a different temperament and needs to your existing (or previous) dog. Adapting to these needs as they develop is essential in creating lifelong friendship between your family dogs.