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How to Introduce a new dog to other pets

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Introduce dog to other pets

Getting a new pet is exciting for you, but for your resident pets, it may be overwhelming. You may be worried that they will not share your joy about the new addition to your family.

If you are concerned, read on to find out what you can do to help aid the transition and develop a positive long-term relationship. Here is how to introduce a new dog to other pets.

Create A Plan

Increase the chances of a successful introduction by putting together a well-structured plan with a step-by-step process.

Consider Their Size

When putting together your plan, consider the size of your pets and the difference between them. Consider the impact this may have on the introduction, particularly in terms of safety and control.

Consider Their History

Take into consideration how your pet typically interacts with dogs they are unfamiliar with. If you have any information about your new dog’s temperament, take that into account when creating your plan.

Consider Their Age

Is there a considerable age gap between the pets? Depending on their personalities, introducing an older and younger pet to one another can sometimes be more challenging, whereas introducing two young pets can be a quicker and easier process.

Tire Them Out

It might be a good idea to exercise your pets to try and tire them out before you make the introduction.

You know best about whether exercise is more likely to decrease your pet’s energy levels or have the opposite effect and ramp them up. If it is the latter, it would be best to avoid exercise and keep them calm.

Select A Safe Location

It is important that you introduce your new family member to your resident pets in a safe and structured environment.

Enlist Help

If possible, you should enlist the help of another adult in case the introduction does not go well. One of the animals may become aggressive or scared so having at least one other adult involved will help you to contain the situation.

Use Positive Reinforcement

Reward positive behaviour using treats, praise, and toys. This can be particularly helpful for nervous animals.

However, be careful as animals often see these as valued resources and can cause competition between dogs that do not like to share.

Monitor The Situation

Make sure you are fully present during the introduction. Remove any distractions and do not go on your phone so that you can focus on the situation at hand.

During each stage of the plan, assess the situation and observe your pets’ body language. If at any point either or both animals are responding poorly, stop the encounter and reconsider the tactics before continuing with the introduction.

Seek Professional Advice

If you have any concerns about introducing a new pet into the family, contact your veterinarian or an expert training provider or behaviourist for advice.

Through training and expert advice, WitsEnd can help you to get the very best out of your pet. If you need help with making introductions or socialising your new dog, get in touch with our team on 0116 244 2455, or email [email protected]

Dr Shahad Mohammed
Veterinary Physiotherapist
National Association of Veterinary Physiotherapists
Dr Shahad Mohammed