How to Introduce a New Dog as a Family Member

Introducing a new dog into the family can be a great thing, but it’s important to do it the right way. Failing to do so can create problems right away, and sometimes for the long-term too.

When it comes to providing titbits of experience, we’re always here to help our readers. Accordingly, here are some suggestions on how to successfully introduce a new dog to the family.

Understand What the Dog Is Going Through

Dogs have emotions too. It sounds obvious but it pays to remember that. If you were moving to a strange new home with people you’ve never met before, you’d be cautious and unsure of yourself too. Ditto for your new pet.

When dogs are coming from a happy home – possibly where their pet parent died – then they could be sad and feeling down. As such, while they’ll value the company, they won’t be feeling very sociable. Also, while they’ll likely be happy and livelier later, expect them to not be a happy K9 for a little while.

Adjust your expectations according to the circumstances.

Meet and Greet

Meeting the family before the dog moves in is useful. They can get comfortable with everyone before they have a change of home. For this reason, visiting the animal shelter or their former home as a family helps the dog to learn about the family sooner rather than later.

When they do come to live with you, introduce them carefully without fanfare or overexcitement that could cause them anxiety. Caution the children to be calm around the dog and give him or her time to adjust.

Provide a kennel in a quiet part of the home. Show them where it is. This way, they have a place to retreat to when they’re feeling anxious or troubled by all the changes.

Feed Them Right

Depending on their condition before they arrived, they may be a healthy weight or underweight. If there is information about any medical conditions or past experience, then get all the information you can from the breeder, animal shelter, or former home.

Provide a healthy diet for them. Support their needs and adapt to their food preferences. Ask if they have a favorite food to avoid giving them a brand they won’t like. This will be one more change in a sea of changes in a new home, so try to give them food they know.

If they’re having mobility problems or they have a few years on them already, then consider hip and joint supplements for dogs. These are useful health supplements expressly for animals that potentially could have or already do suffer from pain in their joints. YuMOVE makes some excellent ones. Be sure to learn more about hip and joint supplements to see if your dog can benefit from them.

How Long Will Your Dog Need Time to Adjust to New Owners?

A puppy may miss its mom but will adjust to new human pet parents almost right away. They’re just a bundle of joy at that age and are no bother.

For adult dogs, it’s another matter entirely. They can require 10 days right up to several weeks to adjust. If they were waiting in the animal shelter for a while, then they’ll likely welcome new owners but still have some behavioral hang-ups to work out.

However, some pets are sad to lose their last family and will take considerably longer to make the emotional and mental adjustment. There’s no way to hurry this along. Just be patient and kind. Trust will develop naturally, and this makes a huge difference.

Should You Change Their Pet Name?

A dog will recognize a name that is used to get their attention but will not know that that’s their official name. Subsequently, people may call them by different names, and they can respond to each of them in the same manner.

Should you change their name when they move in? There are arguments either way on this one. Some pet owners are set on calling their dog a certain name or just don’t like the one they have already. If a dog has a difficult past, then it’s one more confusing change for them. However, for others, it can be like a fresh start. It’s up to the family to decide and be consistent as possible if a name change has been made.

Set Boundaries Early On

Dogs need to know who is boss otherwise they will act out and want to be the boss themselves. This can be disastrous for their development.

Be consistent in their behavior to teach them what is acceptable. Be kind when they do something incorrectly and use it as a teachable moment. They may need to unlearn bad traits they got away with at their former home. Be consistent in showing them how to behave well.

Introducing a dog as a new family member is something to do with care. The dog needs to be supervised around children and the kids need to be told to not wave their arms around or otherwise scare the animal. Let everyone slowly get to know each other and build trust over time. Doing this leads to a happy home for all.




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I'm Jethro. I'm a carpenter, and love to build things! You can find me in the garage or at work most days of the week.My sister is Crystal, who you might know from this very blog. Her son Johnny loves video games just as much as I do - so we have a lot of fun playing together!

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