Bring a new dog into the household is a big decision and one that should have lots of careful consideration. Taking care of a new dog is a lot of work and responsibility. The first thing you need to consider is how the rest of the family feels about this idea of a new addition. A new dog affects everyone in a household including any other pets you have. Many dogs are quite happy being in a single dog home and bringing home another dog when you already have one or more dogs can create serious behavioral changes in your dog. Everything from jealousy, house training issues, food aggression, to severe dog fights could occur.
If you have decided you are ready to tackle the responsibility of bringing a new member into your family then you need to start getting everything prepared. Your new dog will need his own set of dog training equipment. He will need his own crate sized appropriately and the right type. He will need a regular collar for everyday wear and to hold his identification tags as well as training collars that fit his temperament. He will need an everyday leash as well as a long line. Don’t forget about toys, treats, beds, appropriate food for his age and size, grooming equipment, heart worm preventative as well as flea and tick meds.
Before you bring home your new family member make sure you have everything set up and ready at home. If you want to have a happy long lasting relationship with your new dog you need to be prepared to start training from the very first time you pick them up. For pet dogs having appropriate manners is one of the most important parts of having an enjoyable life together. If they are allowed to jump up, mouth, bark, etc from the first time they meet you it can continue at home.
You will want to have someone else available to help you if you have more than one dog at home. Introducing a dog that is already settled and established in their family role to a new comer is a serious event. The very first time they meet it needs to be on neutral ground. You will want to have them meet for the first time in a park or other neutral territory. At first they should not even be allowed to sniff each other. Both dogs just need to walk together with one person walking the new dog and one person walking the dog that already resides at home. Walk them both on the left hand side and keep them in heel position with their shoulder in line with the handler’s knee. They need a long exhausting walk side by side until they are both pretty tired. After their walk and when they have settled down they can start to sniff and greet each other. You need to make sure you are able to read the dogs and know any signs of aggression before letting them really get to know each other.
If both dogs have done well and have relaxed around one another then they can come home. Having already met each other and had a positive experience they will be more comfortable around one another at home. Do not have any toys, treats, or food out when they first get to greet and play with one another in the house. You don’t want to trigger aggression from either dog due to jealousy or passiveness of a favorite toy or treat.
The first thing you will want to show your new dog is where their crate is in the house. If you have more than one dog you will want to separate them during this part of the process. Feed the new dog his meal in the crate and make it a comfortable place to be. It’s a good idea to stuff a Kong with tasty peanut butter or canned dog food to leave in his crate with him. Never let the new dog out of the crate while he is whining. If he has not already been crate trained you will need to start him just like you would a new puppy.
The next thing your new dog needs to learn is where the potty spot is outside. If you have a secure fence or underground fence you can let them out in the yard to potty and just supervise. The first time they potty outside make sure you reward them and let them know they did well. Anytime in the house make sure you are supervising the new dog to make sure that no accidents can happen.