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A New Dog in the Family – Part One

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A new dog is an exciting time for the family and dog alike!Whether it is a new dog or a new puppy, there are certain steps to take to ensure seamless integration into your family and life. This article outlines the first introductions of your new addition to children, cats and other dogs in the family.

 New dog in family


Introductions to children

Any preliminary interactions between children and dogs should be done under complete adult supervision. Due to the unpredictable nature of both children and dogs, consistent supervision thereafter is recommended.

The Irish Blue Cross recommend:

  • Prevent a new dog from being overwhelmed by allowing them to dictate first interactions, this can be done by allowing the dog to approach the children first rather than the other way around.
  • Giving children treats or toys to encourage the dog to approach.
  • Advise children not to stare at the dog, which can be threatening.
  • Once the dog approaches children can then stroke and interact with the dog, it is recommended to stroke under the chin to begin with.
  • Being prepared to react if there is a negative reaction by either the child or dog.
  • Constant supervision is required to ensure no unacceptable behaviours occurs on either side.


Introductions to Cats

Each animal reaction and interaction isdifferent, so even if your new dog has lived with or happily been around cats before, this does not necessarily mean the introduction to your cat will be easy or seamless.

The Irish Blue Cross recommend:

  • It is essential for the dog not to be allowed to frighten the cat, so as such have the dog on a lead and under control for the introduction.
  • Give the cat the freedom to either approach or leave, this may take some time.
  • To ensure a successful outcome supervise all interactions for the first few weeks.
  • If necessary, keep the dog on the lead whenever the cat is present.
  • Do not let the dog intimidate or chase the cat at any stage of the process as it will hinder the success and increase the overall time it takes.
  • Be patient, this is a time-consuming process that can sometimes take months.
  • Do not leave them alone together until it is clear they have become friends.


Introduction to Other Dogs in the Family

Dogs are very territorial! Don’t assume that just because both dogs are quite social and even have previously happily lived with other dogs that the first introduction will go off without a hitch, especially within the home.


The Irish Blue Cross recommend:

  • Make initial introductions on neutral territory and not at home, for example on a walk which will make it less intense for the dogs.
  • Beforehand, remove anything in the house they are likely to fight over such as toys, bones and beds etc.
  • On the first introduction in the home, allow the new dog to enter first ahead of the existing dog. Once the new dog has been introduced, it should be your existing dog that enters first.
  • Ignore both dogs initially until they have settled down as attention from family members may initiate a fight.
  • Try to ignore any small disagreements and use distraction if required.
  • If it looks like there is going to be a fight attach leads to collars so you can break up the incident.
  • If an incident occurs, isolate the dogs from each other until they calm down.
  • Try to avoid situations which may cause aggravation between the dogs.
  • Do not leave them alone together until it is clear they have become friends.


Sources:  The Irish Blue Cross

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