So it's happened! You've fallen in love with another dog and are desperate to add him to the family! But while you're excited to bring home a new companion, you're worried about the reaction of your existing furry friend.
So how do you ensure the introduction goes smoothly and create an environment where all can thrive? Here are some tips for a successful meet!
1. Prepare the arrival
Your home should be well prepared for the arrival of your new dog. To avoid any squabbles over toys, beds or bowls for your current dog, it's best to buy new gear for the new pooch. Avoid putting them in a position of conflict as much as possible, even if your pet has never been possessive in the past.
2. Introduce them on neutral ground
When it's a two-dog introduction, it's best to do it outside the house to prevent your first canine from becoming too possessive. With the help of someone close to you, take the two dogs for a walk, walking them individually and at a distance.
Let the dogs interact as if you were on a normal walk. Keep the leashes loose so as not to increase the tension between them and let them meet at their own pace. Avoid pushing them to introduce themselves or get closer to each other, as this could lead to conflict. Having treats on hand can help facilitate the meeting and reward the dogs for good behaviour.
3. Bring the new dog into the house
Bring the dogs inside once they have become familiar with each other. For the first 24 hours, you should pay close attention to how your dogs interact.
You can also create boundaries between the dogs with baby gates so they can see each other without coming into contact. It's best to feed them in separate rooms, with different bowls, and give them time to finish eating before allowing them to meet again. If there are no signs of violence, you can begin to gradually move their bowls into the same space.
4. Dog meets cat
As with any other dog, you need to make sure your cat has a safe, separate space with the necessary items for the first 24 to 48 hours your new dog is in the house.
While your dog is on leash, let your cat roam the house and examine your new pooch's bowls, toys, bed and other items. Do these interactions infrequently in the first few days of living with your pets, making sure they are always brief. Once both of your pets seem comfortable with the new living arrangement, you can begin removing the leash.
Getting a new pet can be a time-consuming headache, but it will undoubtedly bring a lot of happiness and action into your home. By being patient, attentive and taking it slowly, you'll have the best chance of making your two pets best friends for life!