You’ve rescued a new family member, congratulations! Now it’s time to introduce them to the rest of the pack whether it’s more dogs, cats, babies, and other family members. We know it can be stressful introducing pets when you are not sure how your current pets or the rescue dog will react. There are a couple of different ways you can go about this, but let’s go over some of the basics for the first few days that can help keep everyone safe.
First Day, Take It Slow
The first day with a new dog is always very exciting but can also be quite stressful. Rescue animals have been through a lot in their lives and so it’s important to remember that things take time and the introduction process does not need to be rushed.
Make sure their crate and dog bed is set up in a space where they will feel comfortable. Make sure it is a new bed and crate that is just for them.
The scent of another animal or older pets in their crate might stress them out. Keep the crate in an area with plenty of downtime. If you’re trying to crate train your dog check out our recent blog, How To Crate Train Your Dog.
Allow the dog to get used to their crate and new space. Once calm, you can introduce any other human family members to them. Make sure you take them to the bathroom before bedtime and make sure they are as comfortable as possible. Sleeping in the same room as them might help them to stay calm that first night.
Get To Know Your Dog
Day two with your new rescue pup is a great day to focus on getting to know them, and them getting to know you. If possible, try and spend the entire day with them. If you work in an office we suggest asking your boss for a few days off to help the new dog get adjusted.
It is a good idea to take the dog out for a walk and get them accustomed to their new surroundings. Keep them on a leash while you’re getting used to their behaviors. This keeps the dog safe and any other dogs and humans you might come across. Throughout the day they will begin to trust you more and more as they get to know you.
On the third day with the new dog, you can begin to open up the rest of the house to them. Keep an eye on them and watch them explore their new environment. If you have young kids and other animals it might be best to keep them away until the new dog initiates interest.
Never shout or use any type of punishment when exploring for the first time. Dogs usually do better with positive reinforcement methods rather than the alpha male approach that can scare them and cause distrust.
The third day is a good day to slowly introduce your new rescue dog to the rest of your animals. Keep the dogs on their leashes just to be safe and to ensure there are no territorial issues. Allow them to play with each other outside and feed them their meals together. This helps the rest of your dogs adopt the new dog as ‘one of them’.
Create A Routine
It is important to establish a routine because it helps the dog feel safe and secure. A routine means giving them meals at the same time every day, the same walk route, and fitting in time for training. Playing with them and training with them also offers them a lot of mental stimulation which keeps them happy and alert.
It is also important to introduce time into the routine that encourages the dog to rest. This can usually be done successfully with a crate. Make sure to stay consistent with crate time, as inconsistent crate usage can cause dogs anxiety as they are not sure when to expect it next.
Dogs are like babies in the way that they typically thrive in routine, especially when they are puppies or are new to your family. If your dog has spent most of its life or a significant amount of time in a shelter, a routine could offer them more happiness and structure than you even realize.
Now that your dog has had a few days to get used to your home and its new family members you can begin simple training. Rescue dogs might be coming home to you with a lot of bad habits. In order to break some of these habits, you need to offer loads of patience along with an abundance of treats and toys.
Try some basic training with them such as ‘sit’. This is a great way to build a positive relationship with the new dog. Keep the sessions short but frequently throughout the day.
Visit The Veterinarian
Last but not least, it is important to bring your dog to the vet. Ideally, you will already have a vet before bringing the new dog addition home, and hopefully, they are in your neighborhood or local area. This can be important in emergency situations.
If you don’t know a vet, it is better to have an office visit before bringing your dog to the vet to make sure they have a proper clinic and 24 hours services. It is important that rescued shelter dogs are taken in for a check-up within the first week of having them. However, this ideally could be extremely stressful for them and their level of stress will depend on various factors such as the pet’s age.
To help prepare them for the vet try and touch their paws, ears, mouth, and nose as much as possible those first few days. This can get them used to this type of interaction.
It may also be helpful to bring your scared dogs to the veterinarian as a social call. The vet and vet techs can pet them and give them treats. This can show them that there is nothing to be scared of.
Your dog might also be due for some routine testing or vaccinations. Wagmo pet wellness plans cover 3 vaccinations a year, routine bloodwork, urinalysis, fecal exams, heartworm, and fleas. While Wagmo pet insurance will cover any necessary medications, medical care or diagnostics.
The best pet insurance for dogs is pet insurance that covers wellness. This way your dog is set up for preventive and routine care as well as emergency care in the case of illness or injury.
Wagmo offers pet parents the option for pet insurance that covers wellness as you can mix and match Wagmo Pet Insurance and Wagmo Wellness Plans. Take our pet coverage quiz today and discover the perfect pet health insurance plan for you!