How to Introduce a New Dog to the Family

When it comes to adopting a new dog or purchasing one from a breeder, it can be extremely exciting for the human members of the family. However, for the non-humans, it can be a stressful time, for dogs but also cats, birds, and other small pets. The good news is there are ways to properly introduce the new dog to other pets to reduce their anxiety and have a smooth transition.

It is important to know the dog’s and other pets’ backgrounds, experiences, and history. If your pet is social and mingles well with other animals, then that is a good start. But some pets perceive the new dog as encroaching on their territory. If possible, select a neutral location to introduce them so your pet does not immediately perceive the new dog as a threat to their territory. This can be stressful for both parties, and your pet might not respond well, especially if the new dog is a puppy and thinks the other pet is playing.

When it comes to introducing your pets to a new dog, it is best to do so at a slow pace. This will help prevent reactions that are overly aggressive or fear-based. Because of how quickly the situation can change as well, it is important to always keep a close eye. Even if the introduction starts off positive, moods and attitudes can quickly change. Also, in the case of more than one pet, introduce the new dog one-on-one, one at a time. This will ensure the new pup does not feel overwhelmed, especially if the pets do not take to immediate liking.

When it comes to introducing the new dog to your other dog(s) or cat(s), be wary of the signs either party is frightened, anxious, and/or becoming aggressive. When noticing your new dog or pet, or both, is showing slow or stiff body movements, hair sticking up on the back or near the tail, tensed jaw, or showing teeth or growling/hissing, begin leading the animals away from each other. Once both animals have calmed down, try a very brief introduction again.

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