Introducing a New Dog to Your Home

Young child kneeling on floor reaching out to a dog lying nearby.
Bringing home a new pup is an exciting and sometimes complicated experience for both of you. Not only are the surroundings and schedule new but there may be other pets and children to meet and interact with. This is a page about introducing a new dog to your home.

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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 107 Posts
January 4, 2012

Dog on chair.When you bring a new puppy into your home there are several precautions you need to take and various things you can do to make your home environment safe for the puppy.

Before you bring the new puppy home, make sure you have reduced the possibility for accidents.

Introducing a dog into your home:


By VeronicaHB from Asheboro, NC

Catherine Forman
April 6, 2006

buffy delightIf you have been thinking about adding a second dog or cat to the family, you may be surprised to hear that it can be a lot easier than you think! The resident pet will teach the new kid all the rules of the land, where and how to go to the bathroom, what furniture and rooms are off limits, what to do to earn treats, and more. I've heard lots of tales from friends about the ease of teaching a new pet new tricks.

Here are some things to keep in mind to help you make the transition from one pet to more than one:

  1. Give your current pet and your new pet a chance to meet before making any final decisions. If you are adopting from a shelter, you are encouraged to bring your current pets over to meet the potential new addition in a meeting room or outside in an exercise yard.

  2. If you aren't picking up your new pet immediately, give them a blanket or towel or toy that smells like your current pet so they can get used to the scent of the animal they will be living with. If you can, do the same for your current pet -- bring home something that smells like the new guy.
  3. Make sure both pets have a safe spot in your house, where they can find a moment of peace and quiet. For example, if you've just added a rambunctious puppy to the household, make sure your older dog has a quiet place to escape for a nap.
  4. Give both pets equal attention. Don't make the current pet feel left out by only paying attention to the new one!
  5. Let them determine a social order. A curious puppy may need to be warned away from the adult dog's food dish. The resident pet may chase the new pet out of a favorite snooze spot.

  6. Be aware of what your pets are doing! Don't let a correction (a swat on the head or a warning growl) escalate into an all-out fight! Give the pets some alone time to calm down. If you are worried about breaking up fights (they will occasionally happen), keep a spray bottle filled with water handy. A squirt to the face of each of the combatants will usually shock them enough to break up the scuffle.

Adjustment takes time. You may bring a second pet home and have instant harmony, but don't count on it. Give your pets a few weeks to get used to each other. They may become fast friends, or they may just tolerate each other.

By Catherine Forman


Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community.

December 7, 2011

Tan and black dog in the snow.We rescued a dog 4 weeks ago from the SPCA, he is a Husky/Greyhound cross we think, could be a Husky/Shepherd cross. The vet says Greyhound. He is very shy and skittish, does not want to play at all, gentle, good with kids and other dogs, but very reticent. What can we do, how can we get him interested? He will only come into our living room when we are not there, if we are he stays in his bed in the dining room.

By David


Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 216 Posts
December 7, 20110 found this helpful

This summer I adopted 2 dogs from Craigslist, not rescues, really, but a very similar situation. One of them was still a puppy, and is very, very playful. The other was 6 years old, and does not play. He also wasn't friendly with my roommate - at first. He seemed to be a little bit scared of men.


Well, my roommate would lie down on the ground and let Dallas come to him. Dallas was hesitant, but just at first. James let Dallas come to him with no pressure, and this worked very well. Dallas just loves him to pieces now.

Dallas was very set in his ways with bedtime, too. He would go to the foot of my bed and stay firmly put. Well, I started lying down at the foot of the bed, and he was so happy! Now he waits for me every night, and is so happy he dances! He is also starting to play a couple of different games, one of which he made up himself. For Dallas, at least, this technique did the trick, and is still paying off.

Since you don't know what your dog has been through - at the least, he was abandoned. So give him as much time as he needs and try whatever you can to help him feel comfortable - on his own terms. He may never be playful - some dogs just aren't. But plenty of love and security should do the trick. Bless you for saving him!


Gold Post Medal for All Time! 846 Posts
December 8, 20110 found this helpful

Schyresti's last paragraph says it all!

Be patient and also don't fret because sometimes it takes a few months for a rescued pet to completely trust, relax and be themselves. The day your baby does feel at home it will be something so simple and so subtle that he/she does that will bring you to tears and your hug of appreciation at that will seal the deal :-)

One of the many cats I've rescued absolutely despised everyone including me. She would spit and hiss if you tried to pet her and most of the time she hid in the basement. She wasn't a jumper so when the winter weather passed I let her out in my tiny fenced yard, when I was home with the back door left open for her to come in and out, so that she could at least enjoy something more than being couped up in the basement or avoiding everyone.

It was about a month later when one day she came inside and dropped a little bird at my feet and looked at me with such satisfaction. It was the look on her face and that she was just standing there staring at me that let me know she finally felt safe. I truly believe that little bird was her gift to let me know she was happy and content and from that moment on she was definitely at 'home'.

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November 30, 2016

I just got her today. How do I get a Chihuahua to like someone or let the kids or us play with her?

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