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Today’s session is about how to introduce a new dog to your pack. We are going to talk about properly introducing a new dog to your pack, then we are going to make sure you keep your pack and your new dog safe while integrating your new dog in the pack.
Okay, you just adopted a new dog or you have a new foster, either way, you need to introduce the dog to your pack. The one thing you absolutely do not want to do is bring spike home and bring him inside to show your new pack. This would be a disaster.
What you need to do is make the introduction on neutral ground where both your pack and Spike will meet as equals. Take spike for a walk when you get him home. Have someone else take your pack out for a walk as well. While out on a walk, on neutral ground, let the dogs meet. Allow them to sniff each other and greet each other in a normal way. The best greeting is for dogs to greet each other by sniffing each other’s butts. This is non confrontational and socially acceptable (in the dog world).
If Spike or your dogs bark at each other while approaching the greeting, immediately tell that dog NO! Then turn around and walk the other way. Continue to walk away until the dog stops barking. Then when the dog is relaxed, walk toward the other dog or dogs again. If the barking starts again, repeat the same process. This should only take a few types before the dogs understand it is not ok to bark when meeting other dogs.
You may want to keep the greeting short and continue walking separately and then meet up again in a few minutes making sure that the greetings stay pleasant. After the greeting take the leashes of your pack and walk them and spike together. Walk the pack with spike for a little bit to allow them to get used to each other.
When you get home make sure you enter your home first to establish and reinforce your position as alpha leader to both spike and your pack. Once in the house you want to make sure you are always with Spike when he is around your pack. You want to be extra observant, so you can stop any problems before they become a problem. You need to allow Spike to find his place within the pack, until that place is defined, Spike needs to be crated at night and crated anytime you are not home. This is a very important point, because the life of Spike and or the life of one of your pack could be saved by doing this. The last thing you want to do is go out for the day leaving all the dogs loose in your home only to come back and find one or more dogs severely injured or even dead because they got into a fight and no one was able to stop it.
It’s important to establish yourself as Alpha leader and establish Spikes place within the pack. When you feed your dogs, have them all sit and wait for you to place their food down. Then you have them “wait” until you say it is ok to eat. When you feed your dogs, make sure you feed them in order of their pack rank (unless you make them all wait until all the food is down, then you let them eat all at once), make sure Spike is fed last. Whenever you go through a door, make sure you go first and then allow Spike. You are the Alpha, so as a pack leader, you have the privilege of eating first and eating the prime pieces of food, you get to sit and lay on the softest and best places. Since you are the leader the rest of the pack follows, so therefore you must go first. Working with Spike and teaching him tricks is also a great way to help establish and reinforce your role as Alpha. One thing that you absolutely should not due is have Spike sleep in your bed. If you let Spike sleep in your bed as soon as he is brought into the house, you are elevating Spike to the level of your pack and to your level as Alpha leader. Spike needs to settle into the pack, establish his spot and then learn his way, before he can have special privileges.
Once Spike knows his position in the pack and sees you as the Alpha pack leader, you can slowly start giving Spike the privileges that the rest of the pack has. These can be, laying or sitting on the furniture, laying in bed while you are watching TV. The very last privilege should be, being allowed to sleep in bed.
The last thing that you want is Spike to challenge you for the Alpha position because you gave him bed privileges too soon.
We hope this helps you with introducing new members to your pack. We want every pack to be happy. Tell us your experiences, so that other can learn.
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