If you already have pets, and are considering getting a puppy, this article is for you. Below, we look at the potential issues and briefly explain how to get around them to ensure that your new dog settles in with your existing pets as quickly as possible.
Get into your pets’ heads
Without a doubt, you’re going to have to help both parties to understand what’s going on and teach them to accommodate each other. At first, you’ll need to supervise every encounter. To do that, your understanding of cat and dog body language will enable you to see problems coming and step in before the claws come out and fur begins to fly.
Chances are you already understand your cat well, but it’s a good idea to brush up on canine body language before introducing one into your home. You need to understand both sides of the conversation. This page is a great place to learn most of what you need to know about dog & puppy body language.
Use scent to make the introduction
If the breeder allows it, get a t-shirt and stroke the puppy you have chosen with it. Take this home and leave it somewhere your cats can find it. You should also wipe over areas of furniture your cats use with the t-shirt. Mixing the scent of your new puppy in with the other scents in your home will allow them to get used to it. When you bring your puppy home they’ll feel far less threatened by it presence.
Re-train the cat
This bit can be tricky. If you own cats, you’ll know they are very much the boss; they tend to do what they want, when they want. Of course, this can continue even when you have a new pet. However, you need to be practical and think about breaking some habits that may lead to conflict. For example, if you feed your cats on the floor switch to feeding them on a surface that a puppy cannot reach. That way, you’re removing a potential flashpoint between your cats and the new dog. Puppies are curious and will be attracted by the smell of food. When your cat sees the puppy eating its food on the first day a fight is almost inevitable. Changing your cats’ eating habits for a week or two or more can stop this type of misunderstanding from occurring.
Take things slowly
On the day you get your puppy home, you’ll be able to introduce him or her to every member of the family. However, you may want to wait a while before showing the pup to your cat or cats. Let the puppy explore, but try to keep them apart for a couple of days. That way, your cat will smell the fact the pup is around and get used to the fact that the dog is there, but their life hasn’t changed. When they actually see the pup they’re more likely to respond calmly. Just make sure they’re not left alone until the dog has learnt that the cat isn’t a plaything and shouldn’t be chased.
If you want more detailed advice about introducing a puppy to your existing pets, a good breeder like Douglas Hall Kennels will be able to help. They understand the importance of settling a puppy into their new home and recognise that it’s not always easy to do so. As a result, they have the expertise to offer advice that’s tailored to your specific family circumstances.