Bringing Home a Fur Baby: 7 Tips for Welcoming a Shelter Dog
Moving is an exciting and special time, doubly so if you’re a dog moving from a shelter into your forever home. For a dog, a home can mean a lot of things: a new place to sleep, a stable family to love and strange new smells. As wonderful as all these things are, they can also be stressful on pets and humans alike. So here are some tips that will help you make the new member of your pack feel right at home.
1. Introduce new furry friends in a neutral setting
The only thing better than one dog is two or three dogs! But if you already have a pet at home, it can sometimes be hard to get your pet on good terms with the newcomer. When introducing the dogs, make sure to do so on neutral territory, like a local park, so that neither dog has a home field advantage.
2. Get new toys
Dogs sometimes have trouble sharing their toys with new playmates, so it’s important to remove any of the established dog’s favorite toys from reach while the new dog is settling in. This helps your dog build a friendship instead of a rivalry. Buy each dog the same new toy so that the dog can play with something of its own.
3. Let sleeping dogs lie
If you’re introducing a puppy into a home with an older dog, make sure the older dog has a space of his or her own to rest, away from the puppy. Designate a cozy room away from the puppy so the older dog can relax in peace.
4. Unite your canine and feline
Introducing a dog to a cat can be tricky. Make sure to trim the cat’s claws before the introduction to avoid any injury. Let your pets adjust to each other slowly. Sometimes, having your pets meet on either side of a barrier, like a baby gate, can help them bond at their own pace. Make sure to never leave a dog and a cat alone together unless you’re familiar with how well they get along.
5. Wait before rolling out the welcome wagon
There is nothing more fun than playing with a new puppy—or any dog really—but it’s often better to wait until your new dog has fully adjusted to its surroundings before inviting friends to visit. Make sure to take time to establish your bond with your dog and ensure your dog is comfortable before having guests over.
6. Let your dog assimilate to the crate
If you choose to crate your new dog, give it time to check out the crate before being closed in for the night. When you and your dog are exploring the house, leave the crate door open so your pup can inspect it. It may even help to put a new toy in there to get your dog excited … Think of it as the doggy equivalent of a mint on the pillow!
7. Bring in an expert
If you’re worried about your established pet and your new dog not getting along, you can get professional help. Your vet or someone from the shelter can recommend a behavioral expert who will come to your house and help mediate. This can bring harmony to your pets and is a great way to jump-start a training regimen.
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