Introducing a New Pet to a One Pet Household

It Might Be Easier Than You Think Gizmo has been the only dog in my home for nearly four years. He pretty much ruled the place, but at times he seemed lonely and depressed. After discussing the matter with other Pet Moms, I decided he needed a playmate to keep him company when I was busy or had to be gone. Choosing a Proper Playmate for Your Pet I was advised by¬†fellow Pet Moms and a breeder friend that Gizmo should remain the oldest dog in the household. Since I have yet to have my pet "fixed" I knew that the choice had to be another male. I neither needed nor wanted any puppies! My friend had a small male Shih Tzu that she was looking to find a good home for, so this seemed ideal. Age should also be a determining factor, if you want the pets to be friends and playmates. Gizmo is nearly 4 years old and our new addition is nearly a year old. Gizmo still enjoys running and playing so I figured the new dog would give him plenty of exercise. An older, quieter dog will become annoyed with an energetic puppy. Small dogs and large dogs can get along as friends too, but you should supervise them carefully when they play. A larger breed pet could unintentionally hurt a small pet. Gizmo is 12 pounds and Stormy, our new guy, weighs in at 6 pounds. They are both small enough for me to carry around and bathe and groom easily. Introducing the Two Pets Takes Time Gizmo always stays in the bedroom when I am gone, so when I brought Stormy into the house, I gave him a quick bath with Gizmo's shampoo. That removed the strange smells from his other home and gave him a scent of familiarity. This is not always easy to do for larger dogs, but if you can bath the new dog in your dog's shampoo it will help. Since these dogs are small it was easy to introduce them. Larger dogs should be kept on leashes and introduced just close enough to let them sniff each other. Allow the current dog to sniff first as it is his house he is being asked to share. If one tries to stand over the other, separate them and let them know it's not allowed. This is a sign of domination and one shouldn't be allowed to reign over the other one. Make sure they both know that you are the pack leader. Make sure that the current dog does not feel like he is being replaced. I let Gizmo sit in my lap, because he always does, and Stormy sat next to me, or on the floor beside us. When Gizmo got down, I then placed Stormy on my lap. You should only introduce a new pet when you will have time to spend with them. I spent the entire day with my boys. They both got their hair brushed, they both got played with and both went out to potty at the same time. You may have to show the current dog a bit more attention so that they understand that they are still loved. Also try to spend a few minutes alone playing with the new pet, so he too understands that both pets will get attention. Toys and Possessions for an Only Pet My dog is very protective about his toys. I removed all of his old favorite toys for the day and offered new toys when both dogs were present. These toys are brand new so neither dog can lay any long time claims to them. Once they get more used to each other we will bring out Gizmo's old favorites and see if he will share on his own. Stormy is not yet allowed to go into Gizmo's favorite spaces. Gizmo likes his quiet time in my bedroom and he sleeps with me. I have not taken the new dog into the bedroom yet. Stormy sleeps in a kennel in another room. Gizmo already anxiously goes searching for him in the morning. As soon as Stormy gets out of his kennel, the 2 of them race to the door and go outside to potty together. I take that as a good sign. Introducing a new pet to a one pet household will take a lot of patience and love. It will be worth it in the long run. It is such a joy to watch these 2 starting to play and socialize. It's only been a couple of days and I am no expert, but what I am doing seems to be working. They are both lying at my feet as I type this.