< Back to blog

your new dog is coming to the family,
are you ready?

31 March 2022

The arrival of a new pet in your family is a happy event, but sometimes scary. Beyond food and love, there are several things to consider for his coming to be successful. The first question to answer is where does it come from? Then, it is important to think about his basic needs such as his food, the place where he will be fed, will sleep and also where he will go to relieve himself. Another important aspect is his integration with the other members of the family. Learn more in this blog so that its integration into your family is successful!

Where is he from?

Of a breeding filled with love, of a refuge? from an individual? This question is essential because its integration into the house is very closely linked to the answer. An animal that has a history of medical or difficult behavior should not have the same integration into the family as a puppy.

If you have just adopted a puppy, it is important to take into account that he finds himself in a new environment, without his family members. This can easily become a stressful event for him. A simple way to help reduce his anxiety is to feed him the same food as the breeder for the first few weeks unless it is a poor quality diet. The fact that his food is the same will reduce his stress. Another way to make a smooth integration into the house is to give it access to the main rooms only. The size of an entire home can be stressful for a new puppy. In addition, it is important to give him his own space where he can take refuge to rest and reduce his anxiety if necessary. In addition, it is essential to start socializing quickly, refer to our blog on this subject.

For animals from shelters, the need to reduce their stress is as important or even more important than that of puppies because they have experienced one or more abandonments. It is very rewarding to give an animal a second chance, but it is equally important to remember that it also has a history. The reason it was dropped should always be considered. This does not mean not to help him, but to be aware of what awaits us and to have the tools to help him. It should not be abandoned again. Ask as many questions as possible: How was his behavior as a young puppy? Did he explore or was he afraid of the world? How much socialization and life experience did he have when he was younger? Did he live in the house with children or other pets? Is he comfortable on a leash? Did he live in the city or in a more rural area? What was the behavior of his parents? Does he have siblings? His past will greatly help you to predict his behavior in certain situations. So you can help him more quickly. As with puppies, make sure he has a quiet place to retreat to if he wants to. Stress and anxiety are very important factors to consider. Some animals may take several weeks to demonstrate their true nature. Be patient and listen.

Primary needs

Make sure his basic needs are met in the form of soft bedding, a warm, quiet space, and dim lighting. Providing exercise appropriate for the chosen breed (sedentary or very active) and adequate enrichment is important in dogs.

Quickly locate where you want him to go. Do not change along the way because it may confuse him and increase his anxiety. If you decide he will always poop outside, don’t start with the training mats, start right outside. It’s like for our children, he must understand what his toilet looks like. Tools such as harnesses and halters can help you manage your dog on walks and improve safety. Teaching your dog to walk well on a leash and not to pull, teaching your dog basic behaviors such as coming, lounging on a mat, eye contact will improve communication between you and your new pet. A qualified trainer can help you if necessary.

Integration with other family members

First, have realistic expectations. As with humans, harmony is not automatic and some animals do not tolerate other animals. It is therefore, once again, important to know your preferences before adopting. The key to ensuring good first interactions is to separate everyone initially, let everyone get used to the new smells in the house, and then closely monitor all animal interactions for a period of time, increasing slowly the duration of your pets’ interactions. In order to avoid any inappropriate behavior from your new pet or your current pets (e.g. urinating outside the litter box, chasing after, hiding), everyone should be comfortable together, not just tolerate each other.

Dog-to-dog presentation

The primary goal is to avoid reaching the threshold where he begins to growl and stand. If this happens, take a step back and start again later. The introduction is too fast. Do not punish your adult dog or yell at him if the introduction is more difficult. This will increase his level of anxiety towards the new dog and make the introduction more difficult. Start by separating the new one from other dogs and let him sniff out the house on his own. It’s a good idea to start supervised eye contact without them interacting at first (i.e., keep the new dog on a leash and across the room from the dog(s) (s) current and on a leash so they can see each other). Then, while they are both on a leash, watch them together. If the dogs get along well but start playing too rough with each other, take a break from playtime. If the aggression continues, separate them again and continue with supervised interactions until they are able to interact without getting too upset. For the introduction of a puppy, the steps are the same but very often puppies do not yet understand the body language of adults. If the puppy seems to bother your adult dog and it continues despite your dog’s signals (eg withdrawal, raised lips or even growling), ask your adult dog to come see you and reward him for listening to you. and come see you. You will still need to keep them separate until your adult dog is comfortable with your new puppy. When this happens reward him, it means something good is happening if he lets the puppy around.

Taking walks on separate leashes with one person for each dog is a great way to help them get used to each other in an enjoyable way. Remember to always reward good behavior.

Introducing dog to cat

First of all, it is essential to know if your new dog has predatory behavior towards small animals. Some dogs will never be able to change this instinctive behavior which will make integration impossible given the risk of death for your cat. If your dog or puppy is very excited, introduce them with your dog on a leash. Let your cat come to him but at his own pace. The use of the leash in the house may be necessary for several weeks depending on the interactions. When things are going calmly, reward each animal for keeping calm.

Integration with the humans living in the house

For successful integration and education, rigor and consistency are required. Make sure all of your immediate family members are involved in putting together anything you just read. Each member of the family must offer support to the newcomer, to do this, do not hesitate to organize short family follow-up meetings to closely monitor the integration of each, dog….and human!

Finally, a visit to your veterinarian is essential as soon as he arrives. Have your new pet examined by your veterinarian to make sure he is in good health and free of any diseases that may be contagious to your other pets or family members (zoonosis). Discuss your concerns about upcoming introductions with your veterinarian so you can get as much advice and suggestions as possible to make his introduction a smooth one.

Ultimately, planning for your dog’s visit will allow you to create a loving and safe place. Taking the time to understand why your new pet exhibits certain behaviors and investing in the proper training and tools will allow you and your new pet to develop a more enjoyable and lasting relationship.

Dre Chantal Riendeau D.M.V.

Photo credits: Tanya Gorlelova, Katya Wolf, and Mornie Jeremiah on Pexels.com