Bringing Your Puppy Home, Part One
Bringing home a new, furry family member is an exciting occasion, but you must remember a few essentials to make the transition for your puppy the best it can be. Your first concern when bringing home a new puppy should be the safety and well being of your new family member. You have to ensure you can meet all the needs of a young pup. A few essentials include an appropriately sized crate, a well balanced and nutritious puppy food, a collar and leash, food and water bowls, and a trusted veterinarian.
You have your supplies and your new puppy. Now what?
Arriving home is exciting and you want to jump straight in and let your new pup meet everyone and every pet at your house, but suppress that desire. Successful introductions are critical to how your puppy will integrate into the current pack.
When two-legged family members meet the puppy for the first time, have them squat down, leaning slightly backward with their arms open; then they can call the puppy to them with a soft and excited voice. Everything with your puppy should be fun and exhilarating. Never crouch over a puppy or stare directly into their eyes. If a puppy is nervous about the introduction, don’t rush them. Sit on the floor and wait for the puppy to decide to come to you. When they do, reward them gently and enthusiastically with lots of “good puppy!” and petting.
Introducing four-legged family members should be done, initially, on unfamiliar ground. Choose a neighbor’s yard, or a walk around the block. This allows them a chance to meet in a small way, and exert some energy before going back home and getting to know each other even better. Don’t walk into your house and place the puppy on the ground and expect your adult dogs to accept him with open paws. One thing is for sure, the adult dog won’t be elated at the arrival of your new family member. Over time, they can learn to be great friends, but be patient and respect the rights of your older dogs. You are in charge of the introductions. Set both dogs up for success and be aware of whether or not anyone is uncomfortable at any time and be ready to remove that dog from the situation.
Dogs have a language of their own and adult dogs are masters of communication. Puppies, on the other hand, haven’t yet learned the rules. Heck, they don’t even know rules exist. Interactions between an adult dog and a young puppy are invaluable when it comes to teaching the rules. All older dogs have limits, and puppies have to learn to respect them. Until everyone learns to respect each other you are in charge of watching, and interpreting, the exchanges and stopping any inappropriate behavior before it escalates. Once you have walked both dogs, head home and first remove all toys, food bowls, bones, etc. that your adult dog might feel are “theirs.” Always supervise any playtime between your older dog and your new puppy. Provide a place to escape such as a crate or access to a bedroom for your older dog should they decide they don’t want to play anymore. If they retreat to such an area, respect that and allow them some alone time. Do your research on canine communication. Don’t punish an adult dog for growling at a puppy. Observe and be ready to intervene, but allow the exchange to happen. Your adult dog is only explaining the rules to the new little guy. After a few weeks your dogs should be getting to know each other well and forming a lasting bond.