Consider these points before introducing a dog to your family…
Dogs can be the most loyal, faithful animals and the perfect family companion. But many people assume that integrating such a wonderful pet into the family unit will be an easy and seamless process. Of course, it can be, but make sure you read the following points of consideration before rushing down to the local rescue centre and picking up the cutest puppy you can find.
Dogs are inherently pack animals and instinctively adopt the rules and hierarchy of the pack – even those that have lived with humans all their life. This is just a natural part of their psyche and one that should be embraced and respected in equal measures. As we all know, dogs can be loving and caring, but also fiercely protective when required. So it’s important to understand their feelings too when introducing them to new situations, new people, new environments and new packs (your family).
So, how do we make sure they feel comfortable in their new home? Here are a few things to consider:
Do you already have a dog? If so, it’s important to consider if they have a good temperament and how they react around other dogs. Will they feel threatened by a younger dog getting attention from you and your children? Asking yourself these questions before bringing a new dog home might avoid a difficult situation.
Space within your house
It’s important that dogs and people have enough space to themselves. A lack of space can result in dogs not being able to command their own territory, or feeling threatened in someone else’s.
If they can have space to break out, it will make it much easier to acclimatise to the new environment and avoid tensions building up, especially around food or children.
Age of your children
Babies and young children can be viewed as a threat by some dogs if they’re not yet integrated into the pack. The attention received from senior members of the family can make a new dog jealous.
It’s also important to educate older children on boundaries; what a dog feels comfortable with, where they can touch the dog, how they should behave when walking and exercising the dog. Excessive affection or winding up can cause a dog to snap and lash out, so it’s important to set some ground rules and make the dog feel comfortable, especially at the beginning when they are still establishing the family structure.
There are certain things you can do to integrate a dog into the family more effectively:
- Get your children involved in the grooming and chores for your dog. Caring for the new dog is a good way to build trust between your dog and children. Making them feel comfortable and secure is essential and the sooner you can help your dog know his role within the family the more relaxed he will be and the smoother the transitional period will be. Care products and accessories can also be found in online stores; Petwell have a good selection at a reasonable price.
- Buy a separate bed for the new pup to mark out their own space and somewhere they feel comfortable. It is important they have somewhere to retire to at the end of the day where they feel safe and secure. Knuffelwuff have some super comfy looking beds in their range, such as this one.
Hopefully this will help you decide whether a new dog is the right decision for you and your family at this point and if so, make the process safe, smooth and happy for all involved.