Animal Advice

Bringing A New Dog or Cat Into Your Family

When you’re ready to add a new pet to your household, it can be a very exciting thing for your family. Whether you are seeking a puppy simply as a home companion and an extended part of your fur family, or buying a show dog, not everyone may be pleased. Your current dog or cat may or may not be as excited as you are to have a new housemate.

Unless you have made it very clear which human is responsible for all the additional work that comes with a new puppy, there may be some family feuds about Fideo. Consider the additional cost of food, vet services and training. If everyone is not fully committed to the welfare and loving care of the new dog, perhaps you need to wait until there is a better time.

Introductions To The Family

 If you’re bringing home a new dog, you don’t want to just toss the two dogs into the same room and hope they like each other. There are some things you can do to make introductions go more smoothly.

For example, make sure that you introduce your dogs to each other in neutral territory. A good place that would be considered neutral would be on a walk together around the block or even at a local park will work well.

And don’t force the dogs to interact but instead let them go at their own pace. Dogs will naturally want to sniff each other to get acquainted. Watch both dogs to look for distress. Make sure that you have a person to handle each dog on a leash. Make sure that you are calm to begin with and don’t put a lot of tension on the leash – you want both dogs to feel relaxed and calm.

Or if you are bringing home a new cat perhaps from a shelter, they usually allow room visits where you can bring in your current pet, whether it be a dog or a cat, and have it interact with the potential new kitty in the supervised room. Since it would be more difficult to introduce cats outside, unless you have cat harnesses and leashes, a meet and greet room at a shelter would be more ideal neutral meeting area.

Relax, I’m Part of The Fur Family

Both dogs should be relaxed and have open mouths. If one or both dogs gets stiff, growls, or bares their teeth you’re likely to have aggression. At that point, separate the dogs and take a break before reintroducing.

You’ll also want to keep the dogs separated (crate training works very well) when you’re not home to supervise them. Be very patient because it can take dogs a few weeks to really settle in and feel at home.

Once you feel that the two dogs are relaxed and tolerating each other or are even friendly with each other, you can take them home together. At home, you can ease the transition by making sure that each dog has his own food and water bowl and toys.

YIKES! Here Comes a Cat

When introducing a new cat, you’ll have a different set of considerations. Cats, in particular, can become very stressed when entering a new home. Work with your dog before you bring a cat home on obedience and being calm.

By using clues and cues you can train your dog to remain calm and feel safe. Early training shapes the dog’s personality and consistent, firm and kind discipline is the most effective training for humans or animals.

If your dog is calm when the cat comes home, the cat will have less stress and will be less likely to have problems with the dog. When you bring the cat home, place him in a separate room with food, water, and a litter box.

Your dog and cat can become more familiar with each other’s scents through the door. Then you can begin to introduce them in the same room keeping your dog on a leash. The dog will want to establish who is boss, but can do so nicely. If your dog is a Labrador, you will find they typically do well in multi-pet households.

Provide your dog and cat with their favorite treats when you introduce them, and keep the introduction brief. Eventually, you can leave the door open and let your cat roam.

Cats are very good at hiding when they feel threatened. Don’t force your new cat to come out – give him time to get used to the surroundings. And continue to work with your dog on leaving the cat alone so that it can feel safe.

When you’re not home, keep your dog and cat separated until you’re sure that the two are comfortable with each other. Eventually your cat and dog may become the best of friends, but at the very least they’ll learn to tolerate each other.

Introducing A New Cat to Your Current House Kitty

 When introducing a new cat to your current cat’s territory, remember that they can be just as a territorial as a dog would be. You will want to go about the introduction of the two pets just as you would with a dog and cat scenario, with a couple added steps in between.

First off, set up an isolation room, so the new cat can get used to its surroundings and scents. One way of getting your two cats to adjust to each other’s scent is by feeding them near the door where the new cat is being isolated. This will help the cats to correlate each other’s smells with a positive event, such as eating their yummy cat food. You can also play with your cats near the isolation door to help them to associate more positive experiences with one another’s scent.

Another way to allow the cats to become familiar with each other’s scent is by rubbing a clean towel or sock on the new cats face, and then leaving the towel or sock in a room for your current kitty to become acquainted with the new cat’s smell as part of the home’s environment.

After a couple of days of this sort of interaction, it is time to allow the cats to see one another face to face. It may be a wise idea to have a baby gate separate them at first, just to avoid any possible physical altercations. It is likely that the cats may hiss at one another or perhaps not even give the other cat any attention.

Once they seemed to have calmed down and become adjusted, allow them to be in the same room together, while you are present. They will probably become friends overtime. If hissing and growling, or bullying continues by one or both of the cats, it would be a wise idea to have an animal behaviorist intervene and assess the situation.

Home Sweet Home

After considering all of these factors, you have most likely already made some important decisions about how and when to introduce new pets into your family. This is the one time in life when you really do get to choose your own family.



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