Bringing home the rescue dog that you searched for, taking the time to pick the right one for you and your family.
Lots of ups and downs. Seeing one you like, then finding out they've been adopted. Or they turn out to not like cats and you have one. A lot of time and energy goes into finding THE one and you did it! And you’re welcoming them into your home.
Now what? Well, as much as you just want to snuggle them up and give them lots of treats as soon as you get home, there are things you should do prior to even bringing them into the house. Show them where to go potty. That’s one of the first things you do. If they don’t go right away, make sure you take them back out regularly until they go, after you’ve taken the next steps. You certainly don’t want your first experience to be them having an accident inside.
If you have another dog, you would’ve already had them meet initially, but it’s different at your home. You want your current dog to welcome the new one just as you’ve done. You’ll need someone to help you with this. Have one of you take your dog on a leash outside and start walking off your property and go across the street. Then, one person takes the rescue dog, preferably you, and start walking on the opposite side of the street. (You can also do this on opposite sides of a park) Watch their behaviour, and if everything’s going well, get a little closer.
Continue watching their behaviour and keep closing the gap until they can sniff each other. You should be able to walk side by side if all is going well. Continue this until you feel comfortable bringing them into the house. Now, once you’re in the house, put your current dog outside or elsewhere so that the new one can sniff around the house on their own, while on the leash. This allows them to learn about their new surroundings without getting distracted by the other dog. If all is good, continue until you’re comfortable bringing your dog back into the same space. This should help them get acquainted.
You want this to go well since they will be living together. If, for some reason, things don’t go as well as they did at their first meeting, give them more time before getting closer together on your walk. Walk the opposite way if there’s a growl, etc, until they settle down and become able to be in the same area. Continue the walk separately, reacting by walking the other way as necessary.
They should calm down and be able to walk together. Initially, feed them separately in different rooms until you’re comfortable that there are no issues with food. This also goes for toys. Just be aware of them around each other when toys are involved. These are just precautions. When you bring any dog into your home, you should always be careful and keep these things in mind.
So, everything went well and all is good in the world? Yay! Now, cuddle them like crazy and break out those treats! Enjoy!
-- by Danielle Hildebrand & Michelle Murray