Bringing your new puppy home is a very exciting time, but it can be quite an adjustment for the people and pets already living in your household. Minimizing everyone’s stress is the key to making the introduction of your new puppy a smooth one. Follow this checklist for a new puppy to make your puppy’s homecoming a success!
If You Have Cats
The new sounds, smells and activities that come with bringing your new puppy home can feel like a stressful whirlwind for cats. Reducing stress for your cat is important. There are two important things you can do to accomplish this:
Provide a Cat Sanctuary: Make sure your cat has a way to avoid being cornered by the probably-ridiculously-enthusiastic new puppy. You don’t want your cat to be frightened by the puppy or worse, injured or harmed. And you don’t want the puppy to experience a very painful and bloody cat scratch across the snout! A good way to prevent this is to use baby gates – which a cat can easily jump over to escape, yet the puppy cannot. Another option is to install a cat door to a laundry room or basement that allows an escape for the cat (as long as the puppy can’t also fit through it). Other things such as cat furniture, otherwise known as “carpet trees” work well because the cat can jump out of reach of the puppy. If your kitty has a way to escape, he’ll be less fearful and more willing to check out the new pooch.
Don’t Force Things: Never force a meeting between the puppy and your cat. Let things happen naturally, when each animal is ready. Both will likely be beyond curious about the other – they’ll check each other out as they feel comfortable.
If You Have Other Dogs
Some dogs will welcome a new puppy immediately, but others may need more time to adjust. Follow these tips when introducing your new puppy to an older dog already living in your household:
Common Ground: Always make the first introduction of your new puppy to your dog on “common ground,” such as a living room area, away from food bowls, favorite sleeping spots or toys. This will prevent any “my territory” issues.
Put Safety First: You should have your dog and the puppy on leashes, under your control, during the first introduction. Even as they begin to make friends, you have to be careful that a larger dog doesn’t play too rough or try to intimidate the puppy and cause harm or fear for the puppy.
Watch the Body Language: Watch your dog’s body language closely when introducing your new puppy. If your dog is showing signs of being uneasy, like cowering or tucking his tail between his legs, stay relaxed and have him focus on you, offering treats when he glances at the puppy. The distraction will help him to relax, and food/treats always turn a nervous situation into a positive one for dogs. Also watch for any aggressive behavior by your older dog. I strongly suggest you read this article, How To Read Dog Body Language.
Don’t Leave the New Puppy Home Alone: For safety’s sake, and you should never leave your puppy home alone with other household dogs until it has been established that they get along well. For the first few weeks at least, put your puppy in a safe place – possibly in a separate room with a baby gate.
If You Have Kids
It’s very sweet to watch children with puppies. However, it’s important to take steps to make sure both the children and the puppy are safe while they play.
Get the Kids Involved!
There’s a website called TheFamilyDog.com that specializes in dog training for kids! They have videos, fun activities, games, puzzles – all kids of fun ways for kids to learn to train the new puppy! You can read my review and find out more information about it HERE.
Here are some ways to give instruction to small children regarding the new puppy:
“Stay quiet like a mouse – if you’re loud, it might scare the puppy.”
“Touch gently” – show them not to pull the puppy’s ears or tail and to touch softly.
“Leave the puppy alone” when he’s sleeping or eating.
Remind small children often of the “puppy rules,” as young children can easily forget!
Instruction for older children might include:
“Sit quietly on the floor and let him come to you first.”
“Don’t chase or throw things at the puppy.”
“Don’t grab the puppy’s fur, face, ears or tail. Be gentle.”
“Don’t sit on, lie on or jump on the puppy!” I remember when I was a kid my mother would use this: “How would you like it if I did that to YOU?!” As a parent, you should be using this opportunity to set the tone for your children about how they should treat animals.
As your puppy adjusts to your family, he’ll become more and more comfortable playing with the kids. However, parents should ensure the children’s safety as well as the puppy’s safety by always supervising playtime to prevent injury or abuse from occurring.
There’s a fantastic website called, The Online Dog Trainer, run by professional dog trainer, Doggy Dan. The website consists of more than 250 step-by-step videos covering every dog training issue you can think of. But what I love most, is that Doggy Dan put together an entire puppy training section called Project Moses, featuring step-by-step videos of him training his puppy, Moses – from the time he picked him up at eight weeks old, all the way to one year old.
If you’re getting a new puppy, the smartest thing you can do is check out for Doggy Dan’s puppy training:
For More Information
Read my article, How to Get Ready for a New Puppy – What to Do Before Bringing Your Puppy Home. For more information about preparing for a new puppy, click here. For more information about training your puppy, check out these articles!
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