Tips for Introducing a New Dog to Your Household | Scott Goodwin Law

Tips for Introducing a New Dog to Your Household

by / Wednesday, 19 May 2021 / Published in Dog Bites, Tips
Two dogs on leashes sniff their faces while meeting.

Welcoming a new dog to your household can be a very exciting time, but there’s also a chance it might not be an easy adjustment — especially if you already have a dog in your home.

Dogs can bite for many different reasons, but stress/anxiety is one of the most common. In an ideal situation, a dog will quickly adjust to the new pet being in the household and everyone will get along with no major problems. But it’s very common for this to be a stressful time for everyone involved and it’s important for their owners to do everything possible to help ease anxieties so that dogs are less likely to do things like attack each other or anyone in the house. Young children in particular can be particularly vulnerable to attacks from a stressed-out dog because they might be too young to understand the situation. So what can you do to prevent an attack?

The first step to smoothly bringing a new dog into your home is giving them a proper introduction to your other pet. When introducing dogs, it’s best to do it outside, away from the house, so that it’s less likely anyone will feel territorial. Keep both dogs on leashes carried by two different people, making sure to keep leashes relaxed just enough so that they can be controlled, but still have room to move around. Start by introducing the dogs at a distance and reward good behavior if it’s shown. If there are any signs of stress or aggression, be careful not to rush things.

If everything seems to be going well and you don’t see any body language that suggests either dog is nervous about the other, move them closer together and allow them to interact a little bit more. Allow the dogs to get acquainted at their own pace, don’t try to do anything like force them to play. Sometimes, dogs will want to play right away after being introduced, but it’s also possible that they will just ignore each other. Trying to force them into anything too soon could backfire. Continue giving treats to reward good behavior when shown.

If the dogs seem to be interacting reasonably well with each other away from the house, it’s time to work toward bringing them in the house together. Once at the house, allow the dogs to meet out in the yard where they won’t feel confined in areas like doorways or gates, then start moving inside if they still seem to be getting along. If there are any signs of tension, it may be best to try bringing in the new dog another time or keep them separated.

Before bringing a new dog inside, make sure there is plenty of access to things like food, water, and toys. Dogs can sometimes feel protective of those sorts of things, so it’s important that they know there is plenty to go around. It can be a good idea to feed the dogs in separate areas while getting settled to prevent any food-related conflicts. It’s also a good idea to keep the dogs in separate areas of the house when you’re not there to supervise unless you’re confident they will get along well.

Get Help from a Dog Bite Lawyer

Dog bites are an injury that can truly happen to anyone. If you’ve been injured in a dog attack, don’t hesitate to contact a dog bite attorney for help. A lawyer will be able to help answer any questions you have and will help you understand your legal options. At Goodwin & Scieszka, we’ve helped many Michigan dog bite victims and are ready to help you too. Contact us today to get started.

Image: iStock / krblokhin