Successfully Introducing Your Dog to a New Member of the Family
Whether it is a new baby or another pet, introducing a permanent addition to the family can be a stressful anxious time for your dog, it is important to keep this transition as easy as possible on yourself and your family as well as the dog. Here are some helpful training tips to make sure you have full control over your dog:
- Gradual Changes- adding a new family member can be a big shock to your dog, be sure to ease the transition. If you know you are expecting a baby or planning to buy another dog then gradually reduce the time and attention you are giving your dog over time. This will ensure that when the time comes the dog will notice less of a change in the household dynamics when the new member is introduced.
- Leadership- As part of your family your dog will see himself as part of a pack, is it important that you smooth our any issues you might be having with your dog before you introduce a new arrival to the family. Reinforce your status as the leader of the pack so your dog will know they are at the bottom of the pack and therefore will not misbehave towards the new member of the family, or show any signs or aggression.
- Keeping your dog calm- Some dogs may become over excited, jumping up and being very vocal around new situations and this can put an extra strain on you and the new pet or baby. Dog spaying or neutering is often a recommended procedure, as dogs that have had these operations tend to be a lot are calmer than those that have not.
- Familiarise your dog with a similar situation- If you have friends that have small children, encourage them to come by the house, this will allow your dog to see that small children and infants are of no threat to them. If you are introducing a new baby then bring used baby clothes, blankets or even use some talk on your arm or baby oil so that your dog will get used to the baby’s scent. If you are introducing a family pet introduce your dog to a pet of the same species as the new one you are getting. This will improve your dog’s socialisation skills with the animal. Always carefully assess these situations carefully and know your dog’s warning signs just in case they become aggressive at all. It may take a few greetings for your dog to adjust, but as much preparation as possible is always best.
- First meeting- The first time your dog meets the new member of the family, this being a new pet or baby, the dog may see it as a threat to their territory, this can often result in aggression, barking, jumping up. In order to counter act this you should introduce the two in an environment that is neutral, an unfamiliar park if it is a new pet maybe or a friends or family members house of you are introducing a new baby. Use positive reinforcement for both pets if you are introducing a new pet to the family to avoid aggression.
- Maintain a routine- Once you have introduced the new arrival don’t forget the dog, they do not need special attention you just need to simplify their day by providing them with a routine. Regular walks around the same time every day, the time they spend in the house and their sleeping areas to be similar each day. This will make your dog feel secure in their new family environment and relaxed.
Follow these tips when introducing your dog to a new member of the family to make the transition as stress free and easy as possible on both yourself and your dog.