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24 February 2021
We all just love the thought of bringing home a new puppy. But there is one area of concern: you already have a pet. How will they react to the new puppy? You have no idea how your other furry friend will feel about the addition of a new puppy to the family. It’s hard to predict our dog’s or cat’s behavior, but in fact, just like bringing home a newborn baby to a toddler, your resident pet will likely feel jealous and neglected for a short period (which is normal), while you try to get the puppy familiarized to your home and your everyday routine. Here are some helpful tips on how to help introduce your puppy to another dog or cat.
It is better to introduce the new puppy at a time when you will have at least a weekend to be home. You will want to observe and supervise closely at first. Try to introduce them on a neutral territory. Take them both to a park and allow them to sniff and play with each other on a leash. If you see any aggression, you have control by holding the leash. Puppies often play rough and do not know their own strength, so your older dog might not enjoy the new addition right away. Remember to be patient and calm during the initial introduction. If your puppy or dog displays unwanted behavior towards one another, it is important to correct it.
Introducing a puppy to a resident cat is a different process from that of introducing it to a dog. It is best to opt for a slow and steady desensitization method for this type of introduction. The goal is to reduce your puppy’s reaction to the cat by gradually increasing its exposure to it.
First and foremost, you want to ensure the safety of both pets. To do so, it is recommended to have them physically separated by a door or gate. Let them get used to each other’s presence and smell. Little by little, open the gate or door and let them interact with each other with supervision. The puppy and cat should be praised and rewarded for being calm around each other. Once they are fully comfortable with each other, you may keep the gate or door open to allow free access for both pets.
Remember that your resident dog or cat may show signs of possessiveness and territorial behavior to assert their place in your home and around their space to show your puppy who is in charge. You can slowly let them play together while supervised so that they can begin to build trust in one another.
It could take up to 3-4 weeks for your puppy and older pet to get along and play comfortably without needing supervision or any type of intervention. Once you have noticed full days where there is no “rough play” you can start leaving them together for short periods of time during the day.
Your puppy may try and demand attention from your resident dog or cat. This may aggravate your older pet who may have no interest in roughhousing with a younger dog. To correct your puppy’s behavior, simply distract your puppy with a toy or by taking them to another part of your house. Remember to praise your older dog or cat for their patience with the new fur-baby.
When you introduce your new puppy, keep in mind that introduction is new to both your puppy and your dog or cat. Your resident pet has been the only pet in the house for some time so it is only natural that it will take some getting used to. Your puppy will eventually learn their place in your household. Give them both time to adjust to each other and try not to stress as they will feed from your energy. Enjoy the new addition and take it one day at a time, it’s all worth it!