Everyone is excited at the prospect of new family member – your dog, the adults and the children. The idea is to take it slowly, just as when you introduce any stranger to your family. You might have an idea of what to expect, but your new friend will have none. Avoid alarming her with too much hugging and rough – housing.
Meeting the Human Residents:
“Prepare everyone ahead of time” advises Dr. Hunthausen. “Get the children books about dogs and give them stuffed animals so they can practice the proper way to pick up a puppy.” It’s important that the adults take charge during the introduction, adds Murphy. “This will reduce the mayhem and make things safer for the dog.”
If your new pet is an adult dog and you’re not sure about her background, keep her on a leash while everyone pets her and she gets a sniff of each family member. If you hear a growl or you see any other signs of aggression, Dr. Hunthausen suggests calling your vet, who can refer you to a behaviorist. Chances are she’s just over-whelmed, but you want to be sure.
Meeting your other pets:
Getting the new dog together with other pets doesn’t have to become a fur-flying fiasco. The adjustment time for four-legged residents will depend on your new dog’s level of socialization. Each animal’s past experiences will also play a part in creating harmony in the pet household.
Adults and Puppies:
You won’t have too many problems with an adult animal accepting a new puppy,” says Gary Landsberg, D.V.M., an animal behaviorist in private practice in Thornhill, Ontario, and co-author of dog behavior and training. “Older dogs don’t see a puppy as a threat to their status or territory.”
You may notice the adult “putting the puppy in its place” by swatting, barking or biting at it. But don’t do anything about it. They must establish the pecking order. Otherwise, you could make matters worse. “You will send the message that your older dog will have to work harder to keep her spot in the pack,” says Dr. Whittington. “She’ll have to bark louder and snap more next time.”
Introducing Adult Dogs:
Who is going to be top dog? Two or more mature dogs will have to work it out between themselves. “It might be best to have them meet on neutral ground first, like a park. Let them get acquainted before bringing the new dog into the other’s territory before bringing the new dog into the others territory,” says Dr. Landsberg.
The outcome will depend on such things as the personality, breed, sex and age of the dogs. The main thing is to support the relationship the dogs have established. “Feed the leader first, greet her first, let her out first,” Dr. Landsberg.
Meeting the Cat:
”Bringing a puppy or dog into a cat’s home can be very disruptive,” says Murphy. “The dog must make the compromises. Dogs will take easily to a kitten, but cats are rarely as accepting of a puppy.
Owners can’t except that an adult cat is going to want to play,”
Murphy advises keeping the new arrival on her leash for the introductions. Let the cat sniff your dog if he wants, but don’t let your dog overpower the cat. Tug the leash every time your dog goes too close, says Murphy. “Make avoiding the cat one to the rules your dog must learn,” she adds.
Keep your dog on a leash when you’re with her and the cat for the first few weeks. Correct her if she goes near the cat; praise her when she stays away. “Curb any predatory behavior – such as chasing squirrels – that may translate into anti cat behavior in the future,” says Dr. Hunthausen. Also provide a way for the cat to escape if he wants suggests Dr. Landsberg, is to get a new pup and a new kitten at the same time. An adult cat who has been around dogs will also be a good match for an adult dog.
Not a Good mix:
There are some dog and cat combinations that you should be careful about. “Some large dogs naturally see small animals as a kind of prey,” says Dr. Landsberg. “Take a former racing Greyhound, which has been trained from day one to chase after rabbits. It would be pretty hard for her to live peacefully with a cat.”