Meeting new people is one of the most exciting things in life. But it can be daunting, right? The same is true of your pets. Bringing a new puppy into a household is formidable as it is. Introducing them to any and all other pets in your home can add so many variables that it can be hard to know where to start.
Let’s review some best practices on how to handle your puppy meeting your other pets. Together, we’ll get your animals on the same page!
First Steps to an Introduction
Before bringing your new puppy home, check to see that your current pet is healthy and up to date on its vaccines. To address any behavioral concerns that may surface throughout the introduction phase, you can also think about working with a professional trainer.
When introducing a new puppy to an existing companion, gradual introductions are essential. Start by keeping the puppy and current pet apart and letting them take a distant whiff at one another. Increase their time spent together little by little, under constant supervision, until they feel at ease in each other's company.
But where should you introduce them?
Introduce Them in a Neutral Place
It may be difficult to introduce your puppy to another household pet. You should pick a neutral site for the initial encounter since it's crucial to do so in a way that keeps both pets safe. When two dogs are in a place they are unfamiliar with each other, neither feels intimidated or territorial by the other.
Put your dogs in their crates, then open them up and let nature take its course. If either one becomes overly eager or jealous (or both), they can retreat inside their respective areas as necessary without any external forces interfering.
Your feline, feathery or other furry friends may be treated the same. However, you might need to stop your cat from being frightened and fleeing because it might just arouse the dog's natural hunting drive. Give the new pup a brief command or simply walk them away from the existing fluffy buddy if they begin to stare at or rush toward it.
Advise your dog to take a minute to focus on you while passing another dog to prevent him from running up to or into every dog he sees while out for a walk. This should stop Rover from lunging at each dog that crosses his path, even those who are wary of other dogs.
Even if your pets get along well, it's still necessary to provide them their own areas to go to whenever they need some alone time. This is crucial for your current pet since they could begin to feel territorial or begin to feel threatened by the new family member.
Exercise and Feed Your Pets Before Letting Them Play Together
Before you bring your puppy home, make sure she or he has had plenty of exercise and food. Providing both pets with adequate exercise and mental stimulation can help reduce stress and promote positive behaviors.
If your puppy is overly excited by his new home, it can be very difficult for him to settle down enough to meet another pet. Going for walks together, playing fetch, and training sessions can help both pets bond and release pent-up energy.
Keeping feeding times separate can help reduce any competition between your pets and prevent any conflicts. This is especially important if your existing pet is protective of their food. It's also important not to let him eat too much before meeting the other pet as this could lead to digestive problems later on in their relationship.
Sniff, Investigate, and Play
When you introduce your puppy to another family pet, it's imperative that you give each pet time to sniff, investigate, and play with each other in their own space. This will help them get used to each other without feeling overwhelmed or threatened by being too close for comfort.
Familiarize your older dog or other pet by giving him something that belongs to your new puppy, such as his breeder or shelter blanket or toy. Allow your current puppy to sniff and get used to the new scent ahead of time, possibly even a few days before they see him. And, do the same for the new dog, if possible.
Once they have smelled each other and shown no signs of aggression or fear, then it's time for introductions in real life!
Introducing new toys and treats can help your pets bond and reduce any stress during this process. Sharing toys can help build trust and create positive associations between your pets.
Introduce Your Puppy Slowly and with Ease
The first thing you need to do is take both animals on separate walks together. Make sure that both dogs are leashed so there won't be any accidents while walking around outside together - this also gives you more control over how close can get later down the road during playtime.
Use extreme caution when introducing puppies to adult dogs so as not to cause physical harm or psychological trauma to the puppy. While many adult dogs recognize the importance of being gentle with puppies, some don't. Some will play too rough, some will be aggressive. A bad experience with a high-spirited playmate or an aggressive dog can have a major negative impact on a puppy's future social behavior.
There are some things to consider when introducing your puppy to the family pet. Puppies are still mastering their surroundings and energies. Older puppies have learned to be part of the family, have their own established routines, and may be exercised by the puppy's high energy. Keep these points in mind when they first met so you know when your new pup might need a break.
Keep an Eye on Them as They Get Acquainted
It's important to introduce your new puppy to any pets he'll be living with, but it's also important to keep an eye on them as they get acquainted. If you notice any signs of aggression, such as growling or baring teeth, do not force them to interact with one another.
You should also be aware of how the older pet is behaving toward your puppy. Keep in mind that introducing a new puppy into the household can be tricky for your older pet(s).
If your new puppy is rambunctious and energetic, it may be easy to lose sight of what's going on with the older dog. Pay attention to signs of aggression or fear in either animal. If your older pet is scared, he or she might try to run away or hide from the puppy. If your older pet becomes aggressive towards the puppy (or vice versa), it can lead to serious injury for one or both animals.
Instead, separate both animals immediately until they have calmed down enough for them to be reintroduced again at a later time when there are no distractions around (like children playing). Spending individual time with each pet, such as giving them a treat or playing with them, can help reduce any jealousy or competition between them. This also helps each pet feel loved and valued, which can promote positive behaviors.
Reintroduce Them After Any Incidents
After any awkward or stilted occurrence, you should be ready to reintroduce them in due time. This may occur if your elder pet feels intimidated by your new addition or if the older pet is really territorial and doesn't want to be around the puppy. The best thing you can attempt to do is avoid bringing them together until it is absolutely essential (like when dinner time rolls around).
Play that is rough, like tug-of-war or wrestling, can get out of hand rapidly and stress the animals.
Introducing a new puppy to your existing family pet can be a challenging, but rewarding, process. You can help ensure an easy transition between your new puppy and your current pet(s) by keeping these suggestions in mind. With love and patience, your new puppy and your existing pet can become the best of friends.
Jenna and the JLDD Team