Introducing Your New Dog/Puppy to Other Dogs or Cats In The Home - Dog Training Blogs
Updated: Jul 9
How exciting! You're about to bring home your new puppy or dog, and you want to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible with the other animals in the house, but how? It's best to start the process before your new dog is in the home so that there is plenty of time for preparation for you and the other animals. If you've already introduced and there have been issues, separate them and follow these tips below.
A scent swap is a great opportunity to see if your current dog/cat will be comfortable with a new dog in the home, but also to see how the new dog/puppy will react to your current animals.
Use bedding/blanket that your current dog/cat uses often and give to your new dog in a neutral space away from their bed.
Watch the behaviours. Does the new dog sniff and walk away, try to rag/play with the bedding, toilet on it, or any other behaviour you weren't expecting? Ideally, we want a nice calm sniff and move on! If not, it's best to get a professional behaviourist involved to ensure things go smoothly.
Vice Versa. Do the same as above, but now you're using the new dogs bedding with your current dog/cat.
Management! Management! Management!
Ensure you have your house separated into "current dog/cat" space and "new dog/puppy" space. Your new dog should not be meeting any new animals until they are comfortable and settled in! This is where a lot of people get it wrong and rush greetings.
Moving into a new home is a very vulnerable time for a new dog, so give them space. Some dogs settle much quicker than others - some take a couple of weeks to feel safe, and some can take months!
Continue to provide scent swaps during this time to continue the introduction process.
Next Step For Cat Intros!
Assuming everything else has gone to plan, you can start to allow your new dog to see your cat. Keep them separate by a baby gate or glass door initially and consider having your new dog on a lead. Reward your dog for any disengagement from the cat. Over time, you can remove the lead and reward for calm behaviours.
Introducing To Dogs
First impressions count here! The first greeting should be done in a neutral space like a field. Both dogs should be on lead, but it must be loose and relaxed (you can consider using a longline if your dog pulls or check out our dog training article on loose lead walking here). Both dogs should have individual handlers.
Slowly get closer while rewarding for disengagement.
When they greet, allow for loose leads and keep greeting to short, calm introductions.
Move the dogs away from each other with a happy voice.
Continue the walk while repeating the above steps.
Ensure that your dog is focused on you, or you can get your dog's focus easily at any time. If at any point this becomes a struggle, create more distance or consider having a break and try again another time.
If this has gone well, the next step is to continue the walk home with both dogs walked together.
For the first few days It's good practice to monitor the dogs when together and keep eating, playing, and sleeping separate until you are comfortable that there will be no conflict.
Do not rush things! This more often than not leads to issues. Both your new dog/puppy and your current animals need to feel safe and secure before introductions.
Seperate and go back a step if there are any issues. Always consider bringing in a professional if this happens - the sooner we can help, the higher the chance of success!
If you already have a dog or cat that is worried about dogs, it may be worth getting a professional to help from the offset to see if a new dog would be a suitable addition.
If you are looking to introduce a new dog to your home or have any other issues, get in contact today!