Two pet dogs on a pier being introduced.

Tips for Introducing Pets

Updated December 1, 2016 . AmFam Team

Adding a new pup to your pack? Take these steps for a stress-free and successful first meeting with your resident dog.

There’s nothing quite like the love and loyalty you get from your dog. And once you’ve had one, there’s no stopping — your furry friends are family! And before you know it, you’re looking to add a new pup to the pack.

But remember, your resident dog might not be happy with the transition at first. In fact, it can be a really stressful time. They’re used to getting all of the attention and keeping close tabs on their territory, so do your best to introduce your new pooch carefully by taking these smart steps:

Confine the kennel. Before your dogs can meet snout to snout, it helps to let your newest family member get used to their new home all on their own. So set up a cozy kennel for them in a quiet area of the house away from any other pets and stock it up with a blanket and some toys to make them comfortable.

Sniff comes first. A dog’s primary form of communication is their nose. So take a toy from the new pup’s pen to let your old dog spend some time with it and vice versa. This way, when they finally meet, they’ll be familiar with each other’s scent, which is a really big deal in the canine world.

Let Fido roam. After a day or two, have one of the household humans take the resident dog on a long walk and give your new pooch some time to explore the house. Then have the pups switch places — this’ll give them even more time to sniff around and get used to the idea of an expanded pack.

Arrange the meeting. After about three days it’s finally time for formal introductions. If you can, pick an enclosed, neutral location such as a neighbor’s backyard to avoid any territorial aggression. Then give them time to sniff and play before you take them inside. If all goes well, you can feel confident they’ll get along in your shared family space.

Keep a close eye. Even after you’ve taken these steps, there’s no guarantee they’ll be best of buds right away. So keep a close eye on them and recognize any signs of discomfort or aggression from either pup so you can step in before things get out of hand. Odds are they’ll get along in no time, so this shouldn’t be a worry for long!

Show equal affection. Bringing a new dog into the family is exciting! But it’s not abnormal for your veteran pooch to feel jealous and neglected during this time. So do your best to show both of your four-legged friends the same amount of love by giving some one-on-one affection in addition to group playtime.

Taking these careful steps will help ensure a stress-free transition for both the dogs and yourself. So take the time now to do it right and you’ll get double the puppy kisses and tail wags than before — talk about worth it!

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