You may already have a dog but then you come across that puppy – perhaps a homeless mutt or a purebred beauty – that you simply can’t resist. If this happens to you, here are a few suggestions for introducing that irresistible new puppy into your household.
Make Sure He’s Healthy
Before you take a new puppy home, take him to your veterinarian for a full physical examination. It’s important that the newcomer doesn’t have any diseases that might 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 be current on their vaccinations before introducing your new puppy to them.
Introduce Him Gradually
Introduce your new puppy to other members of the pet population s-l-o-w-l-y. If there is more than one other animal in your menagerie, introduce the newcomer to one pet at a time, so you don’t overwhelm him. Let your new charge and the incumbent(s) sniff and inspect each other. They may growl and bark at first, but this may simply be a sign of insecurity.
Try reassuring all of your pets that everything’s fine. Make sure you don’t neglect them as you try to make the new pet welcome. Don’t use physical force to put the older animals in their place; this may make them wary of the new arrival. Never leave your new puppy unsupervised with any of your older pets until you’re sure they all get along well.
To cut down on sibling rivalry, let your older pets know they’re still an important part of the family and that the new puppy isn’t a replacement for them. Spend 10 to 15 minutes alone with each of pet, so that each one gets your undivided attention for a while, at least.
“Puppy-Proof” Your Residence
Your new dog may need to spend some time alone in the house or in a room of his own until all of your other pets have come to accept him. Puppies are very inquisitive and have an insatiable need for mouthing and chewing things. Make sure the pup has his own toys to play with so that he doesn’t wind up chewing on electrical cords, etc.
Remember to spend lots of time with all your pets – and be patient. They will usually get used to each other – eventually.
Editors note: If you have any reason to believe that your dog may be aggressive to the new family member, it may be best to conduct the initial introduction on neutral territory. This way, aspects of dominance and territoriality will be minimized or may even be negated. Also, introductions should probably be on leash just in case a fracas should develop.