In the beginning, your puppy will be adjusting to their new environment. Sights, sounds and smells will be unfamiliar and it may take some time to settle. Even if your dog is already comfortable with you, introducing them to the rest of the family can be a different process, and care should be taken to make sure this is a calm and pleasant situation for your puppy.
Introducing your puppy to family members
The way your puppy reacts to new people can vary between different breeds and the environment in which they've been raised. There are a few simple steps you can take to make introductions as stress-free as possible:
Introduce new people one by one - Meeting lots of new people at once can be intimidating to a puppy, so giving them the opportunity to get used to one person at a time will make them more comfortable.
Let your puppy approach you - Rather than approaching your puppy too quickly or passing them between you, which could cause them alarm, family members should sit down calmly and allow the puppy to come to them first.
Speak calmly - Make sure your family members keep any excitement under control and use a calm tone to create a peaceful and unthreatening environment, helping your puppy feel more at ease.
Avoid using food - Avoid providing food for your puppy as a reward for interaction with new people. Some dogs will continue to take food even when they are feeling fear, so though they are making contact, the overall experience is not good for their emotional wellbeing.
Don't rush the process - Be sure to allow the puppy the time to get to know each new person. If they have a good experience during these introductions it will help when encountering new people outside of the home.
Be aware of your dog's body language - It's important to pay close attention for signs of anxiety in your puppy, such as avoiding eye contact or holding their tail low. In this situation, remove your puppy from the room and allow them time on their own, so they don't become overwhelmed.
Introducing your puppy to children
To ensure the wellbeing of your puppy, it's important to make your children aware that they need to be very careful with the new arrival. They should also be taught to give puppies space to relax and sleep when they need it and not to disturb them while they are resting.
As with the older members of your family, children should sit down and let the puppy come to them when they first meet. It's important that any interaction between children and puppies is supervised to make sure playtimes are gentle and they are not handled roughly.
If you don’t have children in your household, its a good idea to introduce your puppy to other children you know. If your puppy doesn’t interact with children from a young age they might develop anxieties if they meet them later in life.
Introducing your puppy to family members is a gradual process, and it's important to take things at your puppy's pace. Introducing your puppy to new people is a great way to make sure they are confident and prepared for new interactions and environments in adult life.