Perfect Puppy Care Book – Chapter 4 – Bringing Home Puppy (Part 3)
Chapter 4 – Bringing Home Puppy (Part 3)
If you have other pets, you may be worried about how they will accept the new puppy. How do you let them know that you still love them, even when there’s a new addition to the household? In general, most animals can get along fine if introduced and managed properly.
If your existing dog has a history of any kind of aggression with other dogs, call a professional dog trainer. Some people think that the perfect puppy makes an aggressive dog less aggressive, but this is rarely the case. Your new puppy could be seriously injured if your existing dog has problems with other dogs. A professional dog trainer can help you evaluate the situation and assist you in determining what’s best for your family.
If your existing dog is fine with other dogs, then proceed with the introductions. If you have more than one dog, do introductions separately. When you first bring your puppy home, put your existing dog in a separate room. When you’re ready to introduce them, have them meet in a neutral area, such as a neighbor’s yard. (Make sure that the yard is safe for your puppy.) Both dogs should be on leash, with a different person managing each dog.
Let them sniff each other. Try to hold the leashes loosely so that they don’t sense any tension from you. If either dog becomes too excited, call them apart. Praise both dogs for good behavior. If things go well, bring them home.
Do not leave the dogs alone together unsupervised. Puppies can be relentless with older dogs. Some older dogs will discipline puppies. They may growl or snap at them, which is their way of teaching them canine manners. This is fine, as long as it doesn’t escalate into injury. Other older dogs won’t discipline a puppy at all. The bottom line is that you always should be in control of the situation. If you see your new puppy pestering your older dog, redirect the puppy’s behavior. Don’t let your older dog get nagged so much that she becomes stressed or unhappy.
Don’t allow your puppy to steal your other dog’s toys from him or eat from his food bowl. Don’t let your older dog take all the puppy’s things, either. You are the leader in your household, so it’s up to you to maintain manners for all parties. Give each dog individual attention so that everyone feels loved.
If your cat has had positive experiences with other dogs, introductions will go more easily. In any case, the key to success with cat-dog introductions is to go slowly. It’s best to keep them apart for several weeks and gradually get them used to each other.
Manage the situation so that your cat is kept elsewhere when your puppy is loose, and so that the cat can be loose when your puppy is in her crate. Rub a towel over your puppy, especially on her paws, and leave it with your cat so that she becomes accustomed to your puppy’s scent. Rub a towel on your cat, especially on her cheeks, and leave it with your puppy so that she gets used to kitty’s scent as well.
After a week or two, introduce the pets in person. Always keep your puppy on leash. Keep your cat’s nails trimmed short—cats have been known to swat at puppies and can cause injury, especially to the eyes. Praise both pets for good behavior. Don’t force your cat to approach your puppy or hold her up next to your puppy. Let her approach at her own pace. If she chooses not to, keep up the management routine and try again later.
As they gradually become accustomed to one another without incident, make sure that things continue to go smoothly. Set up baby gates so that your cat can have a safe escape route if necessary. Don’t let your puppy chase your cat or play with her roughly. If necessary, tether her to you until you can teach her the leave it cue. Don’t let your cat terrorize your puppy, either. Stay in control, manage their interactions, and you’ll have a happy multi-species household.
If you have other pets, such as guinea pigs, rabbits, or horses, take your time in introducing your puppy. Set realistic expectations. For example, if you have a terrier puppy, it may be difficult to stop her from chasing a pocket pet, and she could injure or kill it. Always manage interactions to keep everyone safe.
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