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Just for Kids: Introducing Your Puppy to the Household

By: Virginia Wells

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When you bring your new puppy home you will have to let him get used to his new surroundings. If you have other pets – another dog, a cat, a bird, or any other animal – you will have to introduce them gradually. If everyone gets plenty of time to get used to each other, soon they will all be able to get along fine. And if you have younger brothers or sisters, you will have to make sure that they know how to play with a small puppy without hurting him.

Make Sure He's Healthy

Before you take a new puppy home, take him to your veterinarian for a physical examination. It's important that your puppy doesn't have any diseases or skin conditions that can affect your other pets. Make sure he has been de-wormed and is up-to-date on his vaccinations before bringing him home. It's also important for your other pets to be healthy and current on their vaccinations, too.

Introducing Your Puppy to Another Dog

Your older dog has lived in the house for a long time – he is the resident dog – and now suddenly there is a new puppy that is going to share space with him. If you understand this, you may be able to understand how your resident dog might react. He may be unhappy to see somebody new and he may growl or bark or try to hurt the puppy.

But your dog may be easygoing and friendly and may like the new puppy. Some dogs become friends right away and play with the new puppy, or they may even sleep together.

Until you know how your resident dog is going to react, you should take precautions so that your puppy doesn't get hurt or scared.

  • Try introducing the dogs somewhere else beside your home where your resident dog won't be so protective. You could do it in a park or in a friend's yard. Make sure both dogs are on a leash and that they can be controlled by you or your parents. Let them sniff and investigate each other. Once they make friends, you can take them both home.

  • Do not yell at the older dog if he doesn't react the way you want him to; give him plenty of time to get used to the puppy. Dogs have their own rules and your older dog will certainly let your young puppy know what the rules are – in the same way that the pup's mother helped him to learn: by growling.

  • Make sure you don't give your new puppy too much attention in front of your resident dog. In fact, give lots of attention to your resident dog; this will show the puppy that the other dog is to be respected. The puppy will think of the other dog as the leader, and this is good. Dogs are pack animals and one must always be the leader.

    Introducing Your Puppy to the Family Cat

    Most cats are afraid of dogs so expect your cat to be very frightened. She may hiss and scratch and try to scare the puppy away. The best thing to do is to keep your puppy out of sight for a while so your cat can get used to the puppy's scent before you bring them face to face. Keep the puppy in another room or in his crate. Let your cat sniff around the door or around the crate for a few days.

    When it's time to introduce them, keep your puppy on a leash and let your cat come to the puppy. Don't let your puppy pounce on the cat. Your cat may want to hide for a while and that's okay, too. Soon they will get used to each other and become friends.

    To protect your puppy, make sure you clip your cat's nails. And be sure to give plenty of attention to your cat during the adjustment period.

    Introducing Your Puppy to Younger Brothers and Sisters

    Children often don't realize that you have to be very careful with a small puppy. You should always be there to supervise when your young brothers or sisters are around.

    When you bring your puppy home, ask your brothers or sisters to sit down and let the puppy come to them. Explain that they should not scare the puppy by moving fast or making loud noise. They shouldn't rush at the puppy or try to pick the puppy up. Explain that while sitting on the floor, the puppy will probably climb on them anyway.

    Tell your younger brothers and sisters they should never pick the puppy up or try to carry him around. Puppies can become injured if they are dropped on the floor.

    Be Patient

    Remember to supervise your brothers and sisters and spend lots of time with all your pets – and be patient. They will usually get used to each other – eventually.

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