Monday, April 1, 2024

Congratulations on your new family member! Getting a new dog is exciting for all but can be initially stressful for the new dog, as they enter a new environment. Some dogs are easy going and adjust very quickly, others may take more time to warm up and be 100% comfortable in their new surroundings. This is especially true when it comes to warming up to other furry family members! 

To help make the introductions as smooth as possible, here are some helpful tips on how to introduce your new dog to others pups and even kitties!

Introducing Dogs:

If you have other dog(s) in the household, initially introduce the dogs to each other on neutral ground (if they haven’t already met at the shelter). For example, meet at a park, and take walks around the block.

When introducing the dogs to each other, have both dogs on a leash. Start by walking the dogs past each other a few times (no touching). Follow this by allowing the dogs to sniff each other for 3-5 seconds (on leash) a few times. Gradually lengthen the time of dog-to-dog sniffing/touching from 5 seconds to 10 seconds to 30 seconds. Once both dogs are comfortable with each other on-leash, you may want to take them to a fenced in area to allow them to sniff/play off-leash before going into your house.

In the first few weeks of owning a new dog (or until you are 100% comfortable), you may want to crate the new dog when you leave the house to ensure there are no issues between the dogs.

Introducing Cats:

If you have cat(s) in the house; have the dog on a leash upon entering the house, so that the cat(s) can safely approach the dog and get away if necessary. SLOW AND GUIDED is the best approach. Cats take a lot longer to adjust than dogs, so sometimes it may take several days (or weeks) until they are comfortable being in the same room as each other. 

If the pup you are bringing home as never interacted with cats before, it may be best to keep them separate by a door or baby gate and have them get comfortable with each others scents before they have any one-on-one interactions.

If you adopted your pup from AAWL, don't forget you can reach out to our behavior hotline to get assistance from both our canine and feline behavior experts.