Congratulations on your new addition to the pack!
Below is some very important information that will help to ensure a smooth transition for your dog.
THE FIRST 3 DAYS:
During this time, you are still in your introductory period. It is expected for your dog to feel a bit overwhelmed and unsure about what is going on. We strongly recommend spending this time at home; let your dog get to know you and get comfortable. Do not take them out to eat, shopping, friend’s houses, adventures, etc. Give them time to figure out their new normal before introducing new people and activities.
THE FIRST 3 WEEKS:
These next few weeks your dog will begin to “settle in,” and you can expect more personality to show as they begin to feel more confident in your space. While your dog is still in the decompression phase during this time, after 2 weeks, you can begin to slowly introduce friends and family. Please be sure that you are handling introductions safely and properly, as not to stress or overwhelm your dog (see example).
THE FIRST 3 MONTHS:
By this point you will likely have built a bond and a routine. Structure and boundaries are extremely important in the first few months, as this is likely when any potential behavioral issues will arise if there is no training in place. We recommend consulting with or hiring a trainer to help with this right from the start.
INTRODUCING YOUR DOG TO FRIENDS AND FAMILY
After you have allowed your dog a few weeks to decompress and get comfortable with you, you’ll of course want them to meet friends and family. Below are steps to use as a guide for introductions.
STEP 1: Listen to your dog (and tell the humans what to do)
In general, dogs prefer calm, quiet introductions. You should NEVER let somebody approach or touch your dog unless it’s very clear your dog wants the attention.
STEP 2: Read your dog’s body language. Their ears, eyes, and tails will communicate how they feel. Ask the person to ignore your dog at first. Too much enthusiastic attention can be overwhelming for some dogs.
STEP 3: Let your dog CHOOSE IF and WHEN they want to greet somebody.
Remind new people to pet your dog’s side, and NOT their head.
*TIP* Have treats on hand and give some to the new person! Nothing eases first introductions (and rewards good behavior) like a tasty treat.
If your dog is nervous with guests, you’ll want to make introductions more gradual. Consider using a baby gate to separate them so they can get used to the sights and sounds of guests before interacting.
All the same steps apply when meeting strangers. Not everyone has dog experience and will know to ask permission before approaching your dog in public or on a walk.
As the owner and the one holding the leash; it’s YOUR responsibility to set the tone.
If a stranger approaches your dog to say hello, speak up and tell them how to introduce themselves. If your dog is in the mood for an introduction, follow the basic steps above. If not, don’t feel bad about avoiding introductions on walks.