Introducing a new dog into the family

By Jessica

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Families that have pets often find themselves looking to adopt or purchase another animal to help grow the love and joy in their home. While finding the newest pet can be fun and exciting, introducing them to your current animals can prove more challenging than one might originally anticipate. We reached out to a few of the JustAnswer pet Experts to see how they would help introduce a new dog into a pet occupied home.

Introducing a new dog to your dogs

Our Veterinarian Expert, Dr. Loretta, recommends the following tips for introducing a new dog to your dogs:

  • Have the dogs meet in a neutral location to prevent territorial reactions.
  • If you have more than one dog, introduce them to the new dog separately so the “gang up” effect doesn’t occur.
  • Use positive reinforcement so both dogs experience good things when they are in each other’s presence.
  • If you are introducing a puppy to an older dog be prepared for the older dog to lose patience with the persistent pestering that comes from puppies. A mild warning growl or snarl is normal and will help the puppy learn boundaries.
  • Once the dogs are tolerating each other’s presence without aggressive responses and they no longer seem to be investigating one another you can bring them home.

Introducing a new dog to your cats

Martha Winidish, our certified dog trainer, helps navigate introducing a new dog to your cats:

  • If the cats don’t have experience with dogs make sure they can easily get to a safe area away from the dog.
  • Do not force the cats to meet the dog or allow the dog to lunge at the cats. Give them the opportunity to approach the dog when they feel ready.
  • If you cat has claws you will need to observe their interactions to make sure the cat’s claws don’t harm the dog. Trimming the cat’s claws before the first introduction can help mitigate this issue.
  • If you cat is declawed, you will need to make sure you are there to assist, if necessary, as the cat will not have the tools necessary to stop potential harassment from the dog.
  • If you plan to crate train your new dog you can start by putting the dog in the crate and letting the cats check out the dog. When you let the dog out, keep the cats behind closed doors. Let the cats become comfortable with a crated dog for a few days.
  • Change the closed door to a gate so the animals can see one another. Allow the cats to go over to see the dog. If the dog responds excitedly be sure to exercise him efficiently before making another introduction.

If you need additional assistance introducing your new pet into your home please reach out to our certified Experts, available 24 hours a day at JustAnswer