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Introducting Your New Puppy to Your Other Pets

new puppy, puppy, pets, cat

Introducing Your New Puppy to Your Other Pets


A new puppy is always an adjustment for any family, but if you already have other pets, it takes even more care. Any time you have pets that are already established in your home, they will be territorial at first when a new dog joins the household. Planning and attention to each pet’s needs, however, will soon make them the best of friends.

All animals feel that they are part of the family “pack,” and that feeling means they will instinctively want to protect the family and their territory. You will need to establish to your current pets that the puppy is now a member of the family, while making sure the puppy understands the rules in his new home.

The most difficult animal to introduce your new puppy to would be a cat, especially an older one. Instinct tells them to tangle with each other, but proper introductions will soon overcome this. The guidelines for cats and dogs can be applied to just about any animals you are adjusting to each other.

Be sure to introduce your puppy to your cat slowly. Don’t ever let the puppy immediately have the run of the house – it will upset your cat because he will interpret it as an invasion of his territory. They will fight, and the cat will most likely win. It’s a bad start. There are several steps you should take over a period of several weeks in order to ensure a happy pet family.

1. The day you bring your puppy into your house, keep him on a leash. When the cat gets curious enough to approach, stay close. Let them sniff each other for a moment or two, but immediately pick up the puppy if they strike at each other. The puppy will be happy to play, but the established pet most likely won’t be interested. After you separate them, spend some time individually with each of them.

2. Restrict your puppy’s access to the house at first. This is, after all, the cat’s territory. Using a baby gate to keep the puppy confined to one room is your best bet. The kitchen is ideal for housebreaking, and the cat will be able to peek through the gate and check out the new guy at his leisure.

3. Each day, walk your puppy around the house several times on his leash to show the cat that he will be staying. Increase the time you do this each day. Let the cat hide away if he wants, but soon he will make it a point to come out and meet the puppy.

4. Feel free to use the word, “NO!” whenever the animals become aggressive with each other. Hitting or swatting should not be used because both animals will associate it with them being together. Using a stern voice that you use for disciplining in other situations, however, will make things clear to them.

5. As the days go by, move the baby gate to expand the puppy’s free-range territory. Eventually, he will be able to wander about the house freely as the two pets become used to each other.

6. Don’t let your cat antagonize the puppy. If she lashes out in an attempt to warn the puppy off or tries to scratch the puppy, move the cat – not the puppy. Why? Because you want to make it clear that the puppy is now a member of the household. Always moving the puppy out will only send the cat a signal that if she continues to attack, you will continue to take the puppy away, increasing his territorial stance.

7. Don’t force the animals to be together if they prefer to remain in separate areas of the house. Often, a cat will retreat for a while to a particular room where he feels comfortable. Let this be a safe area; if the puppy heads that direction, re-steer him toward another area of the house or distract him. He will get the picture over time and realize that this is the cat’s “spot.”

8. If most of your time is spent in one room (like the family room), keep the puppy leashed next to you and allow the cat to pass through and make herself at home for the first several days. If the puppy leaves the cat alone, reward him with praise and the occasional treat. If they tangle, put the puppy back in his enclosed area behind the baby gate. After several days of doing this, let the puppy sit with you without the leash and do the same thing.

If you follow these rules for a period of 2-4 weeks, you will discover that your puppy and cat quickly become used to each other. The puppy will learn that there is a room or area where the cat prefers to be alone. As they get used to each other’s presence, the puppy and cat will settle into acceptance, then become curious and start to make friends. Within a few months, your puppy and cat (or other pets) will be fast friends because you have introduced them to each other with consideration for both their feelings and safety.
Published: 2006-05-08
Author: Lori Wilkerson

About the author or the publisher
Lori Wilkerson-Hilliard has been freelancing for ten years. She knows a little bit about most things and a lot about stepfamilies, pets, mental health and good books.

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