Introduce & Settle a New Dog
Stars Rescue have found from personal experience the best way to introduce your new rescue dog to the home and your dog(s) is to do it on neutral ground.
- Arrange with the transporter to meet you outside your house and take the dogs on a walk,
- If you have a local secure off lead area (if you are unsure what we consider as secure please ask!) where you can allow the dogs to have an off lead run and play this is a fantastic way to allow them to bond;
- if you do this do not keep one dog on lead and allow the other off, this will instil fear in the on lead dog as there is a ‘free’ dog running around who potentially could do harm (in the on lead dogs mind..) to the ‘shackled’ dog who won’t be able to defend themselves properly if the need arose, when both are off lead they will feel equal and relax.
- After they have burnt off some energy head home!
We strongly advise that there are no items lying around your home that either dog may guard. This includes:
- toys (both dog’s and children’s)
- food (including treats/bones)
- sometimes water, depending on the dog and
- any other items that you feel the dogs may try to guard.
It is best to keep these items limited and controlled for at the very least the first few days whilst the dogs get to know each other properly.
When entering your home allow your own dog(s) to enter first, (if you allow the newbie to enter first it may trigger jealousy!) Once inside remove leads for all dogs but it may be best to keep collars/harnesses on for a while just in case you need to get hold of one quickly! Allow the dogs to wander and do as they normally would within the home, do not panic and be relaxed as if nothing has changed. Remember, dogs can sense your body language and emotions, so if you’re panicking or unnerved, they will sense it and react accordingly.
These first few days and the introductions are absolutely vital, doing things right will make all the difference, if the dogs sense nervousness or fear on your part (or others within the home) they may play up on it.
There may be some spats/fights at first, even for quite some time! Imagine if a person you had just met came in to your home, ate your food, slept in your bed, played with your toys and tried to steal your bone (or Mars bar!); and on top of that your family giving this stranger affection!
Similarly imagine that you were the new person within somebody else’s home and family, for dogs it is no different except they show and use their teeth to show their dislike.
The best way to deal with spats is to learn the body language, gauge what is happening and when you see it escalating step in (do not put yourself in harm’s way, by step in we mean use a broom to put between the dogs or throw a bucket of water over them, bang on a pan etc!) be CONFIDENT!
Be a strong leader and do not let them take an inch, this is your home and they must behave in a way that you say is acceptable; not them. Only step in if things look like they are turning nasty. If you have never owned a husky before, you may not know what is ‘typical’ husky play. They play a lot rougher than other dogs! As long as there are no teeth out, all should be fine, if you’re concerned at all, please send us a video so we can get some idea of the situation!
Between them they will decide your pack order, we cannot decide this for them, each dog will have their natural position/duty within your pack and whilst there may be some disagreements about this things will fall in to place, sometimes you will get a dog who loves to test patience and push the boundaries and refuse to give in to being a lesser member of the pack but they will learn, have patience.
For the first few days at least we recommend separate feeding areas. Feed them at the same time but either separated by a gate or feed in different rooms. The dogs barely know each other and may try and compete for the food, push the boundaries and see how far the other one will allow them to go. Avoid potential issues by keeping them apart, food aggression is very common, even if you feel your dog is good around other dogs with food it does not mean the new dog will be, your dog may also never have had an issue before but take exception to a new dog coming along and stealing their food! It takes a second for a fight to ensue over food but once a bond is in place you will be able to judge for yourself when you can try feeding them together. Please also remember, if you have changed your new dog on to a food they are not used to they may get a runny tum for the first few days, it is normal for them to not want to eat at all for the first few days too so don’t panic, they will eat when they are ready; just ensure they are drinking sufficiently.
The Desire to Hug!
Make sure you do not put any overly special attention upon your new dog, this may again cause jealousy issues with your resident dog(s), treat them all the same and do not allow them to push either out of the way to get all the attention, they need to learn to share your attention not to barge each other out of the way to get it all. Similarly, if issues do occur, separation is not the answer. Yes; separate for a period to avoid the initial issue, but you must reintroduce within 5/10 minutes of the occurrence. Any long periods of separation (i.e. overnight) will likely cause jealousy issues and again result in further issues.
From the beginning put your regular routines in place, if you have a set feeding, sleeping routine etc. continue them.
Your eating habits
Until you are confident that your new pup has no issues around food, it is advisable that you do not allow them to be around you when eating. They may either attempt to take from your plate, or alternatively cause a spat between the dogs.
- Be prepared for sleepless nights whilst the newbie learns your ways but they will get there, they may sing and tell you their disgust but be strong, don’t give in.
- You must try to ignore any pleas, cries, whimpers – they want your reassurance and as long as you tell them ‘No‘, ‘It’ll be alright‘, ‘Shut Up!‘ or ‘I have to be up in two hours!’ they’re getting what they want.
- Remember not all dogs are crate trained so if this is to be your method of sleep routine start training and making the crate a fun safe place from the start.
- Never use a crate as punishment otherwise you will never get the dog to want to sleep in there at bedtime or when you go out!
- If you do crate for any periods of time please make sure you remove collars, they are a choke hazard if your dog attempts to escape and dogs have been known to strangle themselves doing this.
- For further information on crate training, see our ‘How to Crate Train your Dog’ page.
If you have any problems at all we are here to help so please just ask!