- How to introduce a new puppy to your dog
- The first few hours
- Making the first introductions
- Keep everyone calm while introducing new puppy to dogs
- Keep the first interactions short
- How to introduce dog to cat or kitten
- Keep both your dog and your cat relaxed
- Keep both your pets safe during their first interactions
- Reward good behaviour
- Aim for short sessions and frequent breaks
- Letting your dog off the lead
- Separate them at mealtimes
- Can puppies be around cats before vaccinations done?
- Top tips for how to introduce dog to cat:
Dogs usually make firm friends easily, and your pup will almost certainly love being around other canine companions. In fact, they’ll probably jump at the chance to play with any animal, including cats. Here is how to introduce a dog to another dog or to the other pets in the family.
As with any new experience for your pup, it’s important to introduce them to other pets carefully, to give their friendship the best possible start. But oftentimes this is easier said than done. An older dog can get territorial when they’ve stopped being the only four-legged member of the family. And a cat will let you know in no uncertain terms when they’re not happy with the new roommate.
So, find out how to introduce a dog to a cat or a puppy to an older dog without World War III breaking out right in your living room? We’ve broken down the process of introducing a new dog into easy steps. Here is what you can do to help make the experience a smooth transition to family life for the new arrival and keep fellow pet residents calm during those first interactions.
"While dogs and cats can often get on well together, some pets are best kept away from dogs. Rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters and reptiles, for example, should be protected at all times."
How to introduce a new puppy to your dog
We understand puppy socialisation can take time, and introducing a new puppy to dogs can be daunting. Your existing dog is probably used to having the house to themselves, so it can come as a bit of a shock to them to have to share for the first time! Try these tips on how to introduce a dog to another dog, and this process can be as smooth as possible.
The first few hours
Your puppy needs some time to get used to their new home and their new family before they meet their new non-human family – so sometimes it is easier if your older dog is out of the house to start with. If they are used to staying with a family member, they could have a night’s visit away – or else going out for a long walk can just be enough to give your puppy a chance to explore their new home.
Set up baby gates in the doors of your house so both dogs can see each other but can be kept separate and safe while they get used to each other’s presence.
Puppy pens can be really helpful here too.
Making the first introductions
Once your puppy has had a chance to settle in, go to the toilet, explore the room/s they are going to be living in and is relaxed and happy, you can put them into a play pen so they are safe, and bring in your older dog. If you know your dog will be calm and quiet, this is better done off lead so the dogs can use their full range of body language and communication. They can also control the amount of interaction they want. If, however, you know your older dog will come in like a whirlwind, a harness and a long training lead might be the best option.
Keep everyone calm while introducing new puppy to dogs
Keep the meeting low-key and calm. You do not really want to be looking for them to play – just be able to see, hear and sniff each other, and be calm and happy in each other’s company and begin to get used to each other. Reward calm, restrained interactions with gentle strokes, calm words and perhaps some small treats.
If things start to get boisterous, use the baby gates to give a little more distance between them.
Very soon, they should be relaxed enough to meet outside of the pen. This is best done at a time when both dogs aren’t full of energy – so after your older dog has had a walk. Again, if you think things could get boisterous, have your older dog on a harness and long lead – just in case you have to stop any over-enthusiastic play that could scare your puppy.
While your puppy is young and in these early days, supervise all interactions between them.
Keep the first interactions short
Keep the introductions short, but frequent, and they should soon become the best of friends.
Top Tip: Before introducing your puppy to an older dog, make sure your existing dog's vaccinations are fully up to date, so that everyone stays happy and healthy.
If you have any concerns about the process of how to introduce a puppy to an older dog, or have any concerns, ask for help ahead from a behaviourist or trainer.