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Top 10 ways to blend a new dog  into the family

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 some of the top 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

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.  Use 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 otherwise 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 rank of all the dogs 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.

If you are having trouble with the new addition to your family, please consult with a veterinarian offering behavior services.  Many problems in adjusting to a new home can be easily handled when screened for both behavior and health conditions.  To find out more to help your pet, read our articles, blog and videos at

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

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