Bringing Home a Second Rescue Dog
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If your pup has adapted well to you and your lifestyle, has shown that he is well socialized and seems to interact well with other dogs, then this could be a great idea. On the other hand, if your pup is still adjusting to life in your home and is showing signs of anxiety or fear, then this is not the right time to introduce him to a new family member. This is something that needs careful consideration.
If you feel your pup is ready to handle a new playmate, do your homework first. You should ideally look for a dog of the opposite sex since this is generally the best combination. Next you need to consider the age and activity level of your current dog. If he is young, very active and playful, look for similar traits in a new pup. You should also try to find a pup that’s about the same size. If you get a new pup that is a large breed, your pup may accidently get hurt. If you get a small breed, the opposite scenario could occur.
When you feel that you’ve found the right pup to bring into your home, it’s wise to take your time and proceed slowly. First, when you know your new rescue is expected to arrive, make arrangements to have your first pup stay with a friend or have him boarded elsewhere for a couple of days. Once you get the new rescue pup, take your time to let him relax and relieve himself. He should be wearing two collars and be double leashed before you place him in your car and leave for home. This is a very important step since your rescue has probably been through a lot of changes in a short period of time and rushing him into a new environment will only cause him to feel anxious and fearful.
Once you get your new pup home, slowly take him out of your vehicle and let him investigate and sniff all around the outside of your home. Once he has checked things out, lead him inside and make sure the door is closed before removing the leads. Your new pup should be allowed to go through your home at his own pace to familiarize himself with the smells of your other pet and to find the place for his food and water. Take your time, relax, and just give him space to settle in on his own terms.
The first night at a new home can be very stressful for your new pup because he doesn’t know you or what’s coming next, so be sure that you stay with him and don’t leave him alone at this point. You should try taking the new pup out, double leashed, for a couple of short walks, then return home and let him investigate and continue to settle in at his own pace. Once your pup has settled, show him where he is to sleep for the night and leave him to relax. If he is nervous, you may have to get up with him a few times to try and relieve his anxiety. Once he is settled, leave him for the night.
The next morning, be sure to take the new pup outside, on leash, right away to relieve himself. Offer him food and water and then take him for a short walk around your property to see how he is responding to his new surroundings. If he seems less anxious and is coming to you for attention, give him lots of petting and praise him. Then, double leash him again and take him for a couple of short walks around the neighbourhood.
After this, if you feel your new pup is settling down, make arrangements to take him to your friend’s home where your other dog is staying. If that is not possible, arrange to bring your dog to a neutral, fully fenced area for the initial meet and greet. When you arrive with the new pup, keep him on his leash and, if possible, have a barrier between him and your other dog so they can sniff each other before making contact. If all goes well, release the new pup and let the two of them meet up, engage with each other and see if they start to play. Be sure that you have time to spend with both dogs and don’t rush to stop the interaction between them before taking them home. It’s imperative at this point that both dogs are relaxed and playful with each other.
Once both pups have had time to get acquainted and have settled in, give them a drink of water and let them relax for several minutes. When both seem calm, leash the pups and put them in your vehicle, making sure that they are both properly secured, either in a crate or with a seat belt, and are separated from each other. You should also have someone else in the vehicle to keep the pups separate and calm while driving home.
When you get home, keep both dogs leashed until you are in your yard and the gate is closed so neither one can escape. Then remove the leashes and let the pups engage with each other. Once they have spent some time together in the yard, allow them into your home. At this point it’s best not to have any toys around which your first pup could be protective of. Keep your eye on the pups to make sure that neither one is getting dominant or possessive of anything in the home, or trying to mark their territory. If one of the pups tries to mark, correct him verbally, never physically, and spray the area immediately with an approved cleaning solution.
If you’ve done your homework, both pups should settle in fairly quickly but be sure that you are able to be present with them for at least the first week. If you have to leave the pups alone, make certain that they are separated in different areas of your home, or crated. Either way, you will not have to worry about one of them getting hurt or damaging something in your home.
Bringing a new rescue dog home can be fun and rewarding for all concerned, just remember to take your time and do things right the first time. Your new rescue pup has no doubt had a rough start in life already and having to return him would be very difficult. So take things slow and easy and enjoy your new extended family.