Whether you are looking for a new dog to enter your dog breeding stock or you are taking on a pet from outside of the family, it is important to get the introduction right.
Bringing any new dog into the home on a permanent basis can be a source of stress for the animals you already own, as well as creating a strange and unusual experience for the new resident. By planning the introduction carefully and taking steps to train and reassure all of the dogs individually, the transition into a new family will be much smoother for your canine addition.
There are many reasons you might consider taking on a new dog from outside of your breeding bloodline. Perhaps you have met and fallen for a rescue dog, or have conceded to your children’s request for a new puppy in the home. Sometimes dogs can be inherited through family, and at other times a breeder simply feels like branching out and trying a new breed. No matter why your new pooch is checking in to your home, the tips below can help him or her to settle in and become part of the family – and help your other dogs accept their new friend, too.
Breeding and cohabiting: picking the right pair
If a new dog comes into your life through fate and circumstance, you might not get to be picky about the breed. However, if you are selecting a new companion and you have the luxury of choice, it is important to consider the breeds you already own, and whether the new dog will get along with your own.
If the new addition is a breeding male or female, this makes your choice fairly simple. The same breed will keep your purebred line going; a different breed will blur the genetic line but could create a fantastic hybrid line. Certain breeds will be entirely incompatible, and others may simply not get along when you bring them home. The joy of dog breeding – and the frustrating part too – is the uncertainty of making matches. This comes with its own set of issues regarding settling the animal into your home and encouraging it to bond with its intended partner! For further information on introducing breeding dogs and diversifying your pack bloodline, get in touch with Breeding Business or download our resource guide today.
The right dog for your current pets
If the new dog is not part of your breeding program, but a new companion for the family, you still want to help it settle in well and become part of the household. Introducing a pet from outside of an established family group can be difficult, but with the right management and training, you can create a happy home environment in which all of your dogs get along.
Some breeds get along better than others, studies have shown. Dogs with calm temperaments like Labradors and Retrievers tend to be very patient with other breeds, even excitable ones like spaniels and terriers. On the other hand, very small dogs can have a hard time against big, lively breeds. Having a close size match for the breed can help in keeping some balance and encouraging harmony. Age matters too – an older dog might find it tough having a boisterous and playful youngster around the place, while a nervous dog could be intimidated by your social and inquisitive pack of pups.
Preparing for your new arrival
The right training equipment can be invaluable in the early days. Your new dog will settle much more comfortably with a good bed, some toys of its own, plus a separate feeding and drinking bowl. Forcing your dogs to share their possessions with a new pet can cause tension and jealousy, which will not help when trying to ensure everyone gets along well! Good quality pet accessories can be expensive, so look for online deals. Hot UK Savings has a range of discounts on products from leading pet retailers, which can help you save on the overall cost.
Like most loving breeders, we don’t recommend crating as a default behavior control method. While it can be effective in calming anxious dogs and in teaching good travel habits, pet introductions it might cause more stress than it prevents. Puppies and adult dogs respond much better to the positive association and reward-based training, reinforcing good behavior from the animal. Remember to offer plenty of treats and lots of attention to your other dogs as well, so nobody feels neglected or pushed out.
Bringing your new dog home
If possible, avoid splitting the dogs into different rooms – allow them to meet right away. Locking the resident dog away while the new dog gets special attention could cause resentment, which you want to avoid at all costs. If you can arrange it, the dogs should meet on neutral territory, advises training guru Cesar Milan. Walk the dogs together before heading back home, and let the current residents enter the property before their new housemate joins them, so they feel confident.
Once home, show lots of attention to all the dogs and try to encourage them to play together. You might find that this comes naturally to your pets, and that curiosity overrides any other feeling from the animals. If the new dog is nervous and seems to be overpowered by his new friends, try to use treats and distractions to keep the situation calm and relaxed. If any of the dogs do show signs of aggression, you might want to remove them from the room temporarily for safety and calm things down, before continuing with the supervised introduction. Try not to keep the dogs apart for too long, because they need a chance to get used to each other.
Talk to your dogs and keep things calm
How you react and behave will have a big influence on the behavior of all of your dogs. Dogs are social by nature, and as long as they are well trained they should be fairly accepting of other pets. If you have helped your dogs to behave well around other animals in the park and during walks, you should find introducing a new resident much easier.
Remember to keep talking to all of the animals in a low, calm, and friendly tone. Encourage the dogs to meet each other and play together, and provide lots of reassurance for all of the animals. If you have a family group already, keep an eye on them, and ensure they don’t gang up on the new pet. Studies show that many dogs get nervous during nose to nose greetings and when rushed upon by a strange dog, so help all of your pets to feel confident and look out for sudden movements or invasions of personal space.
Monitor your pets as closely as possible
The first night is a big one when you bring a new dog home. If the dogs you currently have are from your breeding line, they all know each other very well and have a familial bond to unite them. Bringing in an ‘outsider’ can upset the balance in your home, at least temporarily. Give them space, and allow the new dog to explore its new home thoroughly so it feels safe and secure. However, be on hand and watch for signs of aggression in any of the dogs, or for unusual behaviors that could suggest fear or unhappiness.
After a few days, the new arrival should start to settle in and you should be able to concentrate on other areas of training, bringing the new dog up to speed with your rules and expectations. Remember to reinforce these behaviors in your other dogs during training: a refresher on their skills is never a bad thing, and they will certainly appreciate the rewards they receive. Adding to your canine family is an exciting time and you can ensure it is also an enjoyable time for you and your dogs.