Adopting a dog can be a daunting task, even more so if you already have animals, or small children. Fortunately, there are ways to make this process surprisingly easy and fun.
The Citizen asked dog trainer Kimberley (Kae) Collins of Tesem Dog Training for some tips on how to introduce a new dog to your home, and make it feel at home, as quickly and hassle-free as possible.
Introducing your new dog to existing pets
“The best method of introducing an animal into the house with a whole bunch of other animals is to get a crate,” Kae said, “even though it is often misunderstood because it’s cage-like.”
Crates, available at any pet store, are portable and will be your new dog’s first comfort zone.
“Your dog should be able to stand up, turn around and lie down comfortably in the crate. It’s a place where it can be on its own, but also observe its surroundings, and be observed by other animals and kids.” When introducing two or more dogs, it’s best to go “leashleash”, or to have both your new dog and existing dog/s on leashes. The crate can also be used in this initial introduction.
“There’s no need to bring another dog right up to the crate, because dogs need to smell each other first.”
When introducing cats, let your cats do the wandering while your new dog is in the cage.
Introducing your new dog to small children
It is important to suss our your new addition before introducing it to your kids. That way, you can stay in control.
“Have your small child cocooned by you, with your arms over them, and get them to hold out the treat to the dog. Guide them and help them learn how to communicate with the dog. Hold out the biscuit with them and say ‘sit’ with them to the dog, and guide the interaction. Eventually you can start standing further and further back.”
Brief your child on getting a dog before adopting it. “Make it clear that hair and tail pulling is bad, and get them to know what to do if the dog does bite.”