Tips for Welcoming Your Puppy Home

Puppy in a pen
If you have another dog or cat, it's a good idea to place your new puppy in an exercise pen so your other pets can get used to him.

Welcoming your new puppy home is an exciting event — but it can also be a stressful one. Fortunately, you can make it less so by following a few simple tips.

Ease Your Puppy Into His New Home

You should plan to puppy-proof your home before bringing in your new pup, so that he has a safe place to call home. If possible, bring him home at the beginning of a weekend or vacation, so you don't have to dash off to work the next day. And as tempting as it may be to invite all your friends to meet the new family member, now is not the time to confuse him further. Give him some time to get familiar with his new family and to start bonding with you. There will be plenty of time for him to meet everyone else later.

If you have other pets, you'll want to make sure your veterinarian gives your pup a clean bill of health before you expose him to the rest of the household pets. Then introduce the new puppy to them gradually. The best way to introduce dogs is away from your home, so the original dog won't feel territorial. If the new puppy knows how to walk on a leash, walking the dogs side by side is a good way to let them get to know one another. Bring lots of treats for your older dog and be liberal with them in exchange for his good behavior. Give the older dog plenty of attention to help prevent any jealousy.

Once you bring both dogs into the house, it may be a good idea to keep them separated unless you're supervising. Even tolerant older dogs can tire of a puppy's exuberance — don't let the puppy jump all over the older dog unless the older dog likes it. When the older dog tires of the puppy's play, he may growl and even snap, scaring but not biting the puppy. This is normal adult dog behavior, and it tells the puppy that enough is enough. It's not OK, however, for your older dog to go after your puppy aggressively without provocation. Placing the puppy in an exercise pen is an ideal way to acclimate the dogs to each other and give the older dog a break while keeping the puppy safe.

The best way to introduce your puppy to a cat is to make sure the cat can get up out and of the way. Hold the puppy on a leash, so he can't chase the cat. Don't let the puppy corner or pester the cat, because the cat could scratch or bite him severely. Feeding them close to one another, but with the puppy in an exercise pen, can be a good way to get them used to each other.

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