Introducing a New Pet | Dog Training – Greenville Dog Training

Introducing a New Pet | Dog Training - Greenville Dog Training

Welcoming Them Into Your Home Without Chaos

 

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Whether it’s a new puppy, kitten, or an adult dog or cat, introducing a new pet can sometimes be a bit tricky. Much like humans, our pets can all have different demeanors and feelings about welcoming a new member into the family.

It’s important to note that all introductions, regardless of the breed, should be done slowly. Introducing a new pet may come easier for some than others depending on the past your new and current pet has had. Rushing the process will force a negative reaction, especially if your pet already suffers from anxiety in some way.

 

Where To Start | Introducing Outdoors

If you’re introducing a puppy and an older dog, this can be done outside. Make sure that each of them are on a leash. We highly recommend keeping all involved constantly moving, so don’t stand still while the meeting is happening. Make it a bit of an adventure.

You can start by taking them for a walk and keep walking as they try to pull and sniff one another. Eventually, they will get a little bored and fall into sync with the walk instead of obsessing over the new dog they haven’t gotten to “meet” yet. An important part of this training is remembering not to yank and overcorrect the leash to the point where it makes it a negative experience for either dog involved. Be sure to move them away gently if they get a little too excited or curious. 

As a little time passes, you can ease them closer together and maybe allow them to sniff each other’s behinds. But again, keep that motion going. After your standard walk time, you can head back home.

 

Introducing Indoors

If you’re in an area where going for a walk may be difficult, the weather isn’t cooperating, or it’s a new kitten/cat you’ve brought home, there is still a safe way to begin introducing a new pet.

What you’ll need to do is take your current pet’s crate and place it in the living room or a bigger main traffic area. Granted the crate is large enough, guide your new pet inside. They can stay in here anywhere from 20-60 minutes.

***Disclaimer – If you have a pet that is territorial with their crate already, this is NOT the training option for you.***

Have your other pet on a leash and lead them into the living room. This optimizes safety for both of them, but allows you to get an idea of the reaction your old pet will have towards your new one.

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Body Language

Especially when introducing a new pet, you’ll get a pretty quick idea about how they feel around each other.

Body language is huge factor that should be observed with all of your pets, in any situation. It gives you a window into their mind since they can’t speak for themselves.

If your old pet runs up and growls, hisses, or aggressively paws at the crate, then that’s a pretty good indication they aren’t happy. Though the crate is acting as a safety barrier, there’s still a possibility they could hurt your new pet.

In this training scenario, your hopes will be for your old pet to come up to the crate, sniff it, maybe seem a little bit interested, and then go calmly lay down. This will move your introduction stage along much faster. If they go up to the crate in an exciting manner (this is more for dogs than cats) and you think they may accidentally hurt your new pet, you can determine they’re just trying to be friendly but proceed cautiously. 

 

Supervised Interactions 

Always have supervised interactions in the beginning no matter the breed of pet you’re introducing. Although it’s the last thing any of us want, pets can sometimes be unpredictable and things can turn sour very quickly.

If you do choose the crate route, after about 20-60 minutes of successful calmness while in the other’s presence, you can slowly let your new pet out of the crate. If your old pet is a dog, they should still be on leash at this point. Same goes for the new dog/puppy before being released from the crate.

Be the Tortoise, Not the Hare

Regardless of the kind of new pet you have, let them come out of the crate on their own. Don’t force or pry them out. They will take better to the trust and understanding of allowing them to go at their own pace. If they’re sniffing around, let them do so.

If it’s a dog or puppy, be sure they’re leashed when entering the crate so they’ll still have it on as they come out. You’ll want to take them directly outside to potty to avoid accidents. Keep in mind that it’s still best that all involved maintain a constant state of motion. A closer introduction when exiting the crate may have your adult pets feeling confrontational and obligated to growl or snap. Keep your older dog away as you guide them outside.

Once the cat/kitten has emerged or you’re back inside from taking your puppy/dog potty, you can bring them back to the living room. After about 5-10 minutes, if your old pet has shown they’re calm, you can then begin a closer introduction. It’s also completely fine to put them back in the crate for an hour or two and mimic the same process throughout the day.

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Taking the Next Step | Creating a Safe Space

If you have a new puppy, they should be on leash all the time in the home within the first several weeks to months. This will give you the ability to correct any bad behavior before it starts throughout all of their training, not just introductions.

You want to have a designated area for your new pet to be in that gives them plenty of time to get away from the other pets in the home at the beginning. For cats or kittens, this would entail a room with their little box, food, toys, etc. that your dogs or other cats aren’t allowed into. For puppies, you can continue using their crate if you want or similarly, giving them their own room/area away from other pets.

You’ll continue the small interactions throughout the day for about 20-60 minutes and then place the puppy or kitten back into their crate or room for a few hours. The goal here is to not overtire either of your pets. They will both need time away from each other to avoid confrontation.

Repeat the process for several days, increasing the time they’re with each other as the days go on. 

 

Continuing Training

Let’s say at this point you’re pretty confident that your old pet is coming to terms with having your new pet in the house and likewise. But the training can’t stop here.

Your older pet may get to the point where their initial excitement of their new furry brother or sister wears off and they begin to get annoyed. Paying attention to body language here will be another key factor as it was in the initial introduction and will continue to be throughout the course of their life.

As their interaction times increase, you’ll want to see how your old pet is affected by it. If your older pet is showing these signs of uncomfortability, it’ll be up to you to direct your new puppy/kitten back into their own area or safe space. This doesn’t need to be an extended period of time, generally 10-15 minutes does the trick. This should hopefully cease after a few months of getting used to each other, but it’s still always important to observe your pets as the weeks go on.

If it seems like any of your pets can’t get past being reactive towards others, the guidance of a skilled trainer will be the best option for you. They will be able to identify the difference between a puppy who is causing your dog to growl because they’re being antagonizing versus a dog who’s growling unnecessarily and just straight up being a bully. 

 

One Big, Happy Family

As you power through this process, even though it may seem agonizingly slow at times, we want you to remember that all pets are different. They may hit it off and be best friends for life, or maybe just end up putting up with each other. Either way, we wish you and your new pets the best of luck on becoming a happy family!

 

 

Still need help? – Post a comment 

Leave a comment below if you need clarification on anything or if you have any other questions about your puppy. 


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