Your new dog or cat will be an important family member, but what if you already have other pets? Introducing your new pet to their feline or canine companions means proper socialization and positive relationships to preserve safety for all family members. Properly socializing your dog or cat to other pets means giving them the skills they need for positive association with those pets in the home – and great loving relationships among them!

Contrary to the common fable, dogs and cats can live quite harmoniously together, and it can be great for children to be involved with taking care of a beloved pet. However, dogs and cats can have natural instincts that need to be managed when they interact. Making sure they are taught what to do if they’re overwhelmed and managing their surroundings to keep calm behavior a constant goes a long way in making sure your new pets get along with their household. It’s up to you and your family to create positive, safe interactions with other animals in your home!

How Do I Introduce My Dog To A New Cat?

It’s important to find a good match in your new cat – rescue cats that have experience with other dogs makes the process much easier! Confident but calm cats can be dog savvy, and you don’t want to introduce a fearful or high-energy cat that can trigger a dog’s natural instinct to chase it around the home. If it’s a new dog you adopting, choosing one with a history of living around cats, or a puppy that can be introduced and socialized from a young age is ideal.

  • Your dog and cat will need separate safe spaces to retreat in case of trouble to calm them down! When you first bring your new cat or dog home, create areas where the other pet isn’t allowed. Make sure to keep them separate outside of any times that you can provide supervised interaction to ensure safety.
  • While building the relationship, it’s important to keep introduction slow and positive with the use of gates and leashes to give distance if needed.
  • Make sure to reward calm behavior. Any time your dog looks at your new cat and stays calm, it’s time for a reward! But if they become too focused or excited, it’s time to add some distance and try again later.
  • You can also connect with a certified dog trainer – they’ll be happy to teach you management techniques and how to read your dog’s body language to better understand your canine companion!

How Do I Introduce My Dog To Another Dog

Your new dog will make for a wonderful companion in your life. But if you have another dog, live with someone who also has a dog, or hope to socialize your dog in dog parks and boarding facilities, it’s important that your dog understands how to play well with others! Here’s some tips for getting your new pup to play nice.

  • If you’re adopting a new dog to bring home, and already own a dog, try a meet and greet with the potential new pup. Before you bring home that new dog, let them connect to make sure they’re comfortable around each other.
  • Try to manage age differences between your new dog and current dog. New puppies can overwhelm older dogs and make them uncomfortable. Older dogs don’t always appreciate the playfulness and being jumped on that puppies can do, so the new puppy needs to learn how to be polite!
  • Provide a safe space for both dogs that allows room to decompress or relax if they need a break or get overexcited in interactions.
  • Keep your dogs separated while they adjust to each other. Some dogs may need time to adjust to sharing their home with a new dog, so give them the adjustment time they need.
  • Reward positive, polite, and calm behavior when around each other. By building positive association between the new and old dogs, they can associate their new family members with good behavior and training.
  • Go on parallel leashed walks so the new family members can enjoy outdoor walking time together. Make sure your dogs start at a distance from each other, then slowly decrease the distance as long as they stay calm and respond to simple training cues. Eventually, your new pups will be able to enjoy walking next to each other and will be used to the presence of another dog!
  • When beginning play time and interactions, start with leashed interactions before beginning off-leash play. The leash provides an easy way to gain control and redirect their attention if things begin to get out of hand.
  • If all else fails, it may be important to connect to a certified dog trainer. Certified dog trainers can help you through the intro process and teach you important canine body language signals so you can better understand when your new or old canine companion needs a bit of space. They can also help you in preparing your home for safe space, and for discouraging resource guarding.

How Do I Introduce My New Cat To My Dog

  • Find a good match. Ask the shelter or rescue about which dogs have experience with cats. Choose a dog that has experience with cats, or, when adopting a new cat, a cat with a history of living with dogs.
  • Your dog and cat will need separate safe spaces to retreat in case of trouble to calm them down! When you first bring your new cat or dog home, create areas where the other pet isn’t allowed. Make sure to keep them separate outside of any times that you can provide supervised interaction to ensure safety.
  • While building the relationship, it’s important to keep introduction slow and positive with the use of gates and leashes to give distance if needed.
  • Make sure to reward calm behavior. Any time your dog looks at your new cat and stays calm, it’s time for a reward! But if they become too focused or excited, it’s time to add some distance and try again later.
  • You can also connect with a certified cat trainer! They’ll teach you what you need to know about reading your feline companions body language, and training them on positive interactions with the dog.

 

Do you have more questions about being a pet parent? Be sure to check out the THRIVE Guide for Pet Parents weekly to get the answers to your most popular questions. For specific questions and routine care, book an appointment at your local THRIVE. Our veterinarians are here to provide exceptional and essential care for your pet. Don’t wait – book a nose-to-tail pet exam today!