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10 Ways to Introduce a New Dog

Hi I am Dr. Sally J Foote, veterinarian and animal behaviorist here to give you some steps to add a k9 friend to your family, especially if you have a dog in the home. No matter if your new friend is from a breeder, shelter or home, these points will help you and your new dog start off on "the right paw".
Often when a new dog comes into a home, there are some adjustments that may need to be made to help all humans and pets get along.  These are  the top 10 ways to make these adjustments easier for everyone.

10.          Get an identification tag with your name, cell phone, and address on the collar as soon as possible.  If this dog accidentally gets loose, it has no idea how to get back and your neighbors will not know this dog either.

9.            Feed this dog the same food it was on at the shelter, gradually mixing in a new food over time to avoid stomach upsets.  Do not feed from the table

8.            Go on short fun, 5 - 10 minute walks in different areas in the neighborhood.  Give the dog some treats as you pass by school yards, parks or meeting new people. This give a good thing happening during times that may otherwise be a bit scary.

7.            Keep the dog on a schedule of regular meals, walks, exercise and play time.  Routines help a dog to feel secure and decrease anxiety.

6.            Set up a crate, or small room with a bed and a food stuffed toy for happy confinement.  When you put your dog in there, also put a chewie toy or other reward to keep it positive.  Use this area  when there is a lot of commotion at your home, or people that your new pet is not sure of.

5.            Have all family members be involved in feeding, walking, playing and  caring for this pet.  Care increases the bond with all family members.

4.            Train this dog to sit, stay, walk calmly on leash and have good manners about the home using rewards for good behavior.  Don't assume they will know how to behave in your home.  Teach them like you would a puppy.

3.            Provide a new bed, food and water bowl, leash and toys for this dog.  Do not allow this dog to take other's pet's toys or other pets to take this new dog's items.

2.            Interrupt over active play, rough housing or "spats" by calling the dogs apart and getting them to settle.  If they don't leave each other alone, use the happy confinement area to get them to settle.  

And the number one thing to insure a good blending of your new dogs into the home  -

1.            Humans lead the rank of all the pet family members and set up the order  with the oldest, biggest or one who has lived at this home the longest as top dog.  That dog gets fed first, petted first, out the door first, and anything good in life first.  All the rest follow in order according to size/age/length of time in the home.

Sally J Foote, DVM  CFBC-IAABC
Okaw Veterinary Clinic Tuscola IL

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