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Bringing home the new family member is an exciting day. By following a few simple guidelines you can makes sure your new pup’s first days in your house are happy and stress free.

Mind your Manners. If there is another dog in the house, start to practice his obedience commands a few weeks before your new pooch comes home. The new dog will likely look to your dog for guidance on what is acceptable behavior and what is not. In other words, if your dog jumps on you when you get home, your new dog may pick up that habit too. Also, teach your current dog to drop things on command, to wait nicely for his food, and to only take things out of your hand when he is told “okay”. This is a critical skill to have when you will soon have two dogs wanting the same treat or food bowl.

Nice to meet you! The first time the dogs meet make sure it is in a neutral place. If possible, take your current dog to visit the newcomer at a local park or friend’s house. By having them first meet in a neutral location, you are helping to prevent any territorial issues that your current dog may have if the new pup just comes running into his house.

Learn to Share. Remove anything and everything that the dogs may fight over. Even if your dog has never protected his toy or food bowl, he may once a new dog enters the house so when they first meet, pick up everything. Only allow toys during supervised play periods and watch all interactions carefully to ensure that playtime isn’t turning into something more serious. As the dogs adjust to each other than all the toys, beds, and bones can be brought out again.

Routine is Critical. Once the new dog comes home, keep your routine as consistent as possible. Your new pup may take up a lot of your time but don’t neglect the needs of your original dog. Make sure that your dog still gets time alone with you as he adjusts to his new family member. Both dogs should also be getting plenty of exercise. Walking together is a great “pack building” activity so make sure the dogs get out on a walk at least twice a day.

Quiet Time! Make sure to let your pup adjust to his new home before you take him out to the dog park, to breakfast on an Saturday morning, or to the your kids school. He will probably learn to love all of these activities but when he is first trying to get to know you, his new life, and the other dog in the house, these activities will be too overwhelming for him.

Be a Balanced Parent. It is your responsibility ensure that the new dog behaves properly but don’t be overly protective. Preventing dogs from working out small issues with a quick growl or a few barks can lead to a bigger battle down the road. These interactions should be quick and harmless. However, one dog should never be allow to harass or terrorize the other dog! Use your leadership to enforce the rules, and chances are good that your new pack will be a happy one.