©istockphoto/ PK-Photos

How to Introduce a New Dog to Your Home

Bringing a new dog into your home can be tricky, particularly if you already have a beloved dog of your own who is use to having the run of the place. Perhaps you’re moving in with your significant other or you have relatives staying indefinitely. Whatever the reason for your new guests, a few simple and effective maneuvers should ensure that your dwelling remains harmonious.

Set Boundaries…Literally
Not just for the new dog in your home but also for the current animals you live with, setting boundaries with gates or a closed door is a simple way to send the message that there are certain places on and off limits.

For your newest fur family member, start off by keeping them in a bedroom or bathroom during the day when no one is home. If they are not destructive and get along well with the other household animals, gradually increase their roaming area.

Be Aware of Food and Bone Aggression
When introducing a new animal to the household, food and toys may cause skirmishes.

Initially, feed the animals together and stick to a strict routine. Instead of leaving food out and open-feeding, you may consider only feeding your dogs at specific times of the day to avoid food stealing.

Have your dogs sit and stay before giving them the command to eat and make them earn their treats and toys. This establishes that you are in control of their food/toys and helps them feel more secure.

If food and toy aggression is present, consider doing the following:

  • feeding animals separately for a time
  • giving your dogs treats and toys separately
  • carefully monitoring play with toys/bones so that you can take care if a skirmish breaks out
  • removing all bones or toys from your home for a short time and then gradually reintroducing them (Note: This method may take some retraining for both dogs on your part)

Communicate Expectations
Getting all family members on the same page concerning pet expectations is extremely important. If there is an aggressive dog present, being sure that family members understand how to handle dog aggression and understand certain boundaries in place for safety reasons is key.

Consider having a family meeting to discuss the situation. You also may want to consider enrolling all dogs in a socialization class.

Consider Consulting a Professional
If you’ve introduced a new dog to your home and things aren’t going well, contact your local Humane Society and ask about private dog trainers who are willing to do home visits. There are many talented animal workers who may be able to help you and your dogs live more peacefully.