Ways to Welcome Your New Dog Home
Congratulations! You have a new dog—and now it’s time to introduce him to his new home.
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- If possible, try to plan on bringing your new dog home at the beginning of a weekend or when you have vacation, so you’ll have plenty of time to get to know each other.
- You should have already dog-proofed your home, but you’ll still want to keep a close eye on your new furry friend and restrict him to a safe room until you know how he acts. He may be able to reach higher on shelves than you thought or he may be fond of chewing on things you didn’t anticipate.
- As tempting as it is to invite all your friends over to meet the new family member, now is not the time to confuse him. You want to give him a chance to get to know his new family and start bonding with you. There will be plenty of time for him to meet everyone later.
- When you first get home, give the dog a chance to relieve himself in the space you’ve decided will be his outdoor bathroom area. Then let him explore in the yard or house, always supervised, of course. Prepare his meal and let him eat it in a secure place such as his crate or sleeping area. Then take him outside to eliminate again. He may be nervous, which could cause him to need to relieve himself more often. When he starts to tire, put him in his sleeping quarters.
- Your dog’s first night with you may be exciting but confusing for him. Don’t make him sleep all by himself in another part of the house. Even if you don’t intend for him to stay in your bedroom in the future, make an exception so he has some company at first. If you’re crate-training, put the crate in your room, next to your bed. If that’s not an option, camp out next to him in his sleeping quarters for the night.
- If you have other animals at home, wait for a go-ahead from your veterinarian before introducing your new dog. Even an adult dog can have contagious conditions, like parasite infestations or kennel cough, so take your new pet to your vet as soon as possible for a physical examination and any recommended testing or vaccinations.
- Once the time comes to introduce your new pet to your other pets, do it gradually. The best way to introduce dogs is in a neutral place away from your home, so the original dog is less likely to feel territorial. Walking them side by side around the block is a good way to let them get to know one another. Bring lots of treats for the resident dog and be liberal with them in exchange for his good behavior. Let the resident dog come to think that the new dog’s presence means good things for him. (And don’t forget to give your new dog treats for good behavior, too.) Once inside, if you’re unsure of how they’ll act together, place the new dog in an exercise pen or crate. You can also leave leashes on them when they’re in the house (as long as they’re supervised, so the leashes don’t get caught on anything and pose a choking hazard), just in case you need a quick way to control them.
- The best way to introduce your dog to a cat is to make sure there’s a place where the cat can get up out of the way, if he wants to. Hold the new dog on his leash so he can’t chase the cat and gently but firmly correct him if he tries. Offering them treats when they are close to one another (but not too close) or with the dog in an exercise pen or crate can be a good way to get them to associate positive things with being around each other.
The Great Outdoors
- Some dogs can jump higher than you might expect, so if there’s any chance at all your new dog could clear your fence, walk him on a leash even when inside your fenced yard at first. Leash-walking inside the yard is also a good idea if the dog is the least bit shy, as it may be hard to convince a shy dog to come inside once loose. Be especially careful about open doors now, as well. If he should get out he might run scared and he wouldn’t know where his home was.
- Over the next few days, be very careful never to let your dog off leash where he could run off. He’s still getting to know you, and even though he seems like he may have caught on to his lucky new situation quickly, he could still become confused and lost. There will be plenty of time for added freedom and adventures later. For now, take it easy at home and get to know one another. It’s the best way to help ensure a long relationship.
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