Dog introductions can be stressful, especially if they take over your territory (aka your home). Your dog will need to be prepared for any new arrivals, whether they are a romantic partner, a child returning home, or if you rent a room in the house.
The best scenario is that you have been socializing with your dog for some time now. It will be much easier to introduce your dog to a new roommate or dog friend if your dog is used to being around other people. Even if your dog is uncomfortable with strangers, you can take steps that will help him feel more comfortable sharing his space with someone new.
Introduce your dog to the new roommate’s scent
Even before your pet meets the new person, roommate-dog introductions can be made. It is best to remove any worn and unwashed clothing or shoes from your home before your roommate moves in. This will allow your dog to get used to the smell of the new person.
If this is not possible, you can take your dog out of the house while the new roommate moves into it. Allow your dog to explore the space without you present.
Introduction of the Dog and Roommate
Even a socially-assistive dog can act out if they are allowed to wander in to claim your space. This is especially true for dogs with territorial issues. A dog park is a neutral place for the first introduction.
It’s okay for the new person or couple to greet you, but let your dog lead the way. Most dogs will start by sniffing out the person. This initial meeting might go more smoothly if you have already introduced the roommate’s scent to your home.
Reward your dog
Your dog’s favourite food. Make sure to teach your dog how to feed them properly. Before you feed your dog, make sure they sit down and stay. It would help if you were the example to your new housemate.
To avoid accidental biting treats should be placed on the ground in front of your dog if they are “stay” posture.
Do not overwhelm your dog.
What is your dog’s reaction to this big event? It’s best to slow down and make the introductions if your dog is struggling. Do not try to make them friends immediately. Instead, focus on getting to know them. Your dog should be able to see that you aren’t a threat. It might take some time for your dog to become comfortable with the new person.
It’s great if the meeting goes well. Don’t force your dog to do too many things. Although they may enjoy being with their new housemate at first, they mustn’t be overly affectionate. Ask them to refrain from touching, hugging, kissing, picking up your pet, or looking into their eyes. These interactions can feel overwhelming or dangerous for a pet. You can save the cuddles for later. If possible, you will have a few more sessions at the park or somewhere else before your new housemate moves into.
If you have to move in and meet your new roommate simultaneously, then let them be the ones to bring your dog home on their leash as long as everything goes well. This will demonstrate to your pet that you have some control and they belong in the house.
There is no need to stress about a roommate or dog introduction. These tips will help you facilitate a successful and calm first meeting and move-in. Soon, your dog and housemate will be inseparable!