And while Valentine’s Day is a common holiday to welcome new pets, it might not be love at first sight if you have other pets at home. Adding a new pet can be tough on everyone! And when young children encounter a new fur baby for the first time, there’s bound to be a learning curve on both sides.
But with a little care and planning, you can accomplish this important transition without anxiety and stress!
Here are some guidelines to make the introductions go as smoothly as possible.
Know Your Pets
Before you bring a new pet home, make sure you thoroughly consider the needs of the pets you already have. Make yourself aware of their limits so you can set reasonable goals. This knowledge will also help you select a pet that will mesh well with the animals you already have.
Take It Slow
It can take weeks and even months before your new pet is fully acclimated to his new home, so don’t push him (or other pets) to accept friendship before they’re ready.
Take any new encounters between your pets very slowly and with vigilant supervision. If either pet shows distress, don’t be afraid to back off and try again another day.
Give Each Pet His/Her Own Space
Keep your pets separated with baby gates at first so that each has her own space. You might consider letting your old pet continue to have the run of the house while keeping the new pet safe in a separate room. SlumberPod Pet can give your pup a space that helps her feel safe as she adjusts to her new home! It’s also important to make sure that you give feedings and attention separately at first so they both feel loved and begin to understand that they don’t have to compete for your care.
Conduct Introductions Between Dogs In a Neutral Space
For their first meeting, it’s best to take dogs to a neutral area like a park to counteract any territorial tendencies they may exhibit on the home front. Keep each dog leashed by a different handler, and let them explore the space and check each other out without any pressure.
Teach Children to Be Gentle
The addition of a new pet to your household is an excellent teachable moment for your child. Take time to teach young children to speak softly around the pet, not to make sudden moves, and to use soft hands while petting on the back or belly. It’s important for children not to push or pull on the new pet or grab their fur! Once a measure of comfort develops between the pet and the children, it’s likely the your pup will tolerate a bit of roughhousing from the kids every now and again.
Pay Attention to Body Language
Remember this rule above all: your pets can’t talk. At least not with words.
Yes, this point might seem obvious, but you probably already know that pets have many other ways of communicating with you. Pay attention to signs like growling or other forms of aggressive behavior. These are important clues that your pet is being pushed beyond his limits. Get to know your pet in calm situations so that you can learn their body language when relaxed, and make note of changes to this body language in times of stres. You want to be able to intervene when a pet is escalating versus waiting until the dog acts out.
Be the “Alpha”
Always remain in control of any situation involving your pets. If they respect you as their leader, they will be less likely to snap at other animals or people as a way to assert dominance. By being a strong trustworthy “alpha” in their world, they will trust you more as you ease them through this difficult transition.
You might be in a hurry to integrate your pet fully into your home and heart. But don’t rush! If you take it easy and follow these guidelines, your pets and children will thank you for the great memories they get to create for years to come.