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Thread: Introducing a new pet?

  1. #1
    Melinda Guest

    Question Introducing a new pet?

    We have just adopted a little dog from the local RSPCA shelter. We've visited him practically every day for a week in order to get to know him and to judge whether we think he's suitable for us, and us suitable for him. DH has been very enthusiastic about it all, whereas I have had my doubts. DH grew up with dogs; I grew up with cats, and the only dog we have ever had in our household, had to leave us as he became aggressive towards not only myself, but Jacob, and he had also become very anxious to the point where it was driving us all mental - and it was certainly no life for him.

    So my experience with dogs is not good and although I know that this little dog is different in his personality, I still fear the same thing will happen, i.e. that he too will become very anxious (i.e. whine, whinge all day and night like our previous dog) and more to the point, that he will become aggressive.

    DH doesn't feel this will be the case, but I'm having trouble overcoming my own anxieties and worry about whether I'll ever trust the new addition to the family? He's only small, so he will be sleeping inside (in our laundry) and can come/go during the day as he pleases. How can I learn to trust him around Jacob? So far (during our visits to him, and at home here on his first day) he's been nothing but good and Jacob has fallen over and howled, ran around like a headless chicken and generally put the works on, but so far, the dog has been fine.

    Does anyone have any suggestions? Is this more my problem and something I have to overcome? Does anyone else have similar concerns about introducing a pet? How have you overcome it? Obviously I'm also worried since there will be a new baby on the way and if the dog is inside a bit, he will be around the baby too........but like I said, so far so good......he's not jumped up on any of us uninvited and doesn't seem 'excitable' IYKWIM.

    Thoughts anyone?!?!


  2. #2

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    We haven't had to introduce a new dog to the young kids Mel, so can't help you out there, we have always had to introduce the kids to the dog LOL. Sounds like he is doing well at the moment though. I'd assume he would be really jumpy if he was over excitable by being in a new home etc.

    Love

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Oct 2003
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    Awww Mel it is scary introducing a new pet. I think you are doing great. One thing that will create a consistent environment in your home is training. I can't say enough about it. If your dog knows what is expected of him at all times, he will behave that way. Most dogs aim to please, and they are happier knowing what is expected of them. I often have done training with our dogs while Matilda is having a tantrum with DH home. I step aside to train the dogs so they understand what I want them to do when a tantrum is going on. Everytime Matilda goes through a new developmental stage, I start doing 3 one minute training sessions a day of Sit, Stay, Come, Drop, etc etc so the dogs learn to focus on me rather than what Matilda is going through and understand that I will let them know what to do. Our dogs spend time inside so I feel its important for them to know what I want them to do.

    With this new dog, make sure you have Jacob higher on the "pack order" than the dog at all times. ie... Jacob should always eat first, he should always go through the door or fence first, and he should always be at a higher level than the dog. So if the dog is inclined to sit on top the lounge, make sure Jacob is higher at all times. These things may not seem important to us as humans, but they are mega important in the doggy world. If he understands your expectations of him & his place in the family unit from the start, he will be more relaxed in the environment & it will make everyone more comfortable. I'm sure this dog & Jacob pick up on your concerns, so if you act on those & prepare everyone with training, then you will all live happier together ykwim?


    Any more questions feel free to ask!!! I will endeavour to do my best! Have a look at some information out by Ian Dunbar. He is an amazing behaviouralist/trainer who has some really great books out for new puppy owners which will help with new dogs too.

  4. #4
    Melinda Guest

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    Thanks guys.

    Christy, when you say that Jacob should always be higher on the 'pack order' than the dog, how do we approach this with a new baby? By that I mean, the baby will undoubtedly spend time on the floor on her playmat (tummy time etc), and will go through all the motions of learning to rollover and crawl etc....all meaning that she will be physically at a lower level than the dog - how do we overcome this in terms of the dog and him knowing his place IYKWIM?

    We've already made a rule that the dog isn't allowed on the furniture, so we will be enforcing that and will make sure we pay attention to the other things that you pointed out about eating first, going through gates etc first - it all makes a lot of sense when you think about it.

  5. #5

    Join Date
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    Mel the height thing is really hard, with Matilda I used the play pen so the dogs wouldn't conjure up any images of them being on "the same level" I also put the dogs out when she was awake "most" of the time & then let them in when she was asleep or up on the high chair. When she was very little 1-4 months I would put her up on things higher like the lounge or in her rocker, in the pram, in the sling, places a lot higher than the dogs. I never thought of putting her on the ground much... she rolled early so I would give her tummy time in the play pen on the ground for rolling & I would play on the fit ball with her giving her tummy time. So she was mainly either in the play pen or with me at all times. I think with 2 our plan this time around is to use the play pen & her hammock to keep her up out of Matilda's way as well LOL... and to put the dogs out during the day if its too hard. Our dogs spend most of the day our, except for our big group nap and then they come in during dinner time. Does this make sense? Once the babies are moving, the dogs should understand the pack order by then. It should only take minor reinforcement of something after a month or so of consistency.

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