Introducing a puppy into a new home is a delicate situation, and when you add prior pets to the mix, it gets even more complicated. A good introduction is crucial to forming healthy bonds between all of your pets and preventing any animal drama in your household.
Bringing a feisty, 10-week old pup into our home was a bit of a challenge. Not only because he’s a fesity, 10-week old pup, but we already had some furry kids at home (not of the canine type). We had three cats: Katie, Maggie, and Miley. They were used to ruling the house and doing what cats do, which is pretty much whatever they want. There were some rules for them, but on the whole, they were free to roam where they chose. A new pup in the house was going to change their lives forever.
We thought we would let Roc get used to his new backyard after a long trip from Virginia. When Roc showed up in the yard, the cats all rushed to the patio door. Finally Miley was curious enough to look Roc straight in the eyes, and the friendship began. Of course, once inside there was chasing and whimpering and loud meows until we decided that our kitties needed a safe place to go to get away from this pesky pup. So, we blocked off the entrance to the living room/dining room so that when Roc got to be too much of a pest, they could clear the boundary with ease and laugh at him from their safe space.
Here are five tips to make your pet pal introduction as stress-free as possible:
1. Dogs and cats are from different worlds. It is a lot easier for a resident dog to accept a kitten, but cats often have a hard time adjusting to a new puppy. Be sure to keep the puppy on a leash or in a crate during introductions to prevent any mishaps.
2. Praise and reward your cat around your new puppy. You never want the resident pets to feel threatened or insecure by the arrival of a new guest.
3. Trim your cats claws so that if things do happen to get out of hand (or into claws reach), the damage done won’t be too significant.
4. Only bring a new pet into a house if things in the house are going well. It takes time getting animals to play nice, and if things are rough at home, it will only make the situation worse.
5. Remember that successful introductions take time. You cannot set a time limit or expectations for how quickly your pets will become friends. Unfortunately, some animals will never become friends and will only learn to tolerate each other. Understand and respect that, and whatever you do, do not try to rush or force them into each other’s space.
Best of luck with your new pup and current pets! Do you have any other useful tricks for helping pet introductions go smoothly?