Introducing your new pet can be so exciting but also a little daunting so it’s important to do it in the right way in order to build positive relationships and safety for both pets and people. Despite the myth, dogs and cats are able to live happily together however these initial meetings need to be managed to ensure a calm and happy household going forward. It’s down to the owners to introduce them to other animals in a positive way.
Introducing your dog to another dog
Meet and Greet
Before you bring your new pup home make sure the two are comfortable with each other. Both dogs should meet in an environment that is neutral to ensure one is territorial.
Reward, reward, reward!
Any behaviour that is polite and calm should be rewarded, give them treats and fuss to ensure the behaviour continues. If either of the dogs react in a way that isn’t positive simply take them away from the situation so they can calm down.
Go on walks together
Start with a walk where each dog is on the leash and the pups are distanced so they can stay calm and respond to training cues. The dogs will soon get used to the presence of the other dog in a positive way so when this happens feel free to move the dogs closer to each other and allow more interaction.
Introducing your dog to a cat
Finding your perfect new addition
Search for a cat/dog that is confident with the other! Introducing a cat that fears dogs and may run when it sees one isn’t the best idea. If you are rescuing, try choosing a cat that has a history of living with a dog or a puppy that can be solialised from a young age.
Reward behaviour that is calm and friendly
It’s easy for animals to get excited when they see each other however this can often turn into unmanageable situations. Instead, try rewarding calm behaviour, for example if your dog looks at the new cat and stays calm give them a treat. If they become hyper focused or too excited, take the dog away from the situation and try again when they are calm.
Slow and steady wins the race
Getting a new pet can be so exciting but it’s important not to rush the experience. Keeping things slow and positive is always best. Use gates and leashes wherever possible to create distance and safe spaces. Short visits, regular visits are always advised.
How do I keep both animals safe at all times?
We advise to try introductions on the lead or in a safe space. Allowing your pets to leave the situation is important. Create a space that lets them feel safe and that they aren’t going to be disturbed is important to keep stress levels low. Don’t allow the pets to be alone for any period of time at the beginning, this ensures safety for all.
Is there anything I can buy that will help with introductions?
There are many products you can purchase to help your pets feel a little more relaxed for introductions. Calming supplements – a few days before the meet these herbal remedies can be popped on top of food, helping to reduce anxiety. Pet Remedy natural plug-in – these are great for cats as you simply plug them in at home and it uses a natural blend of oils to tackle stress. Calming treats – giving your dog treats during the introduction? You may as well give them calming ones! Designed to regulate your dog’s natural response to discomfort and fear they are infused with camomile to reduce the impact of the fight, flight or freeze response.
Don’t be afraid to contact a certified dog trainer if you are unsure, they can make sure everything runs smoothly!