A new arrival
If you’re following me on Instagram, you’ll know that last October we had a new arrival.
No, it wasn’t one that wore a nappy (although that might have been helpful). He was one of the fluffy variety who enjoys nibbling slippers and barking at the postman.
One that you can’t take your eyes of for a second or you’ll find a chewed dummy as a result.
Yep, Freddie the Pomeranian moved in.
So how did the cats feel about the new puppy?
Our cats already had the arse with us for having a child. They used to rule the roost, so weren’t overly keen when we brought the noisy, grabby one home. It’s better now that she’s learned not to ‘stroke’ them with toys, or crawl after them shrieking, but introducing a dog was another hurdle in our feline-relations.
So if you already have pets, and are considering getting a puppy, this article is for you.
At the time, I searched the internet to find tips of how to introduce them, but couldn’t find anything really helpful. So I thought I’d write something myself about how to settle a new dog in with your existing cat or dog as quickly as possible.
You are going to have to help both parties to understand what is going on, and teach them to accommodate each other, and live in harmony. A puppy will have no idea of how to behave around other animals that are not related to him or her. Your cat or dog is also going to find the situation confusing, so you will have to take the lead (no pun intended).
Provide existing pets with some private space
Before your new addition to the family is due to arrive, set aside a private area that each cat or dog can use to get away from the puppy. It needs to be somewhere that they cannot be pestered, and can enjoy some down time. Their ‘safe place’.
We used an old baby gate to pen off certain parts of our house so that the cats could escape, and having this space allowed us to quickly and easily defuse a face-off. The cats could escape to our bedroom if Freddie became too much.
If you have time before the puppy arrives, let your pets get used to using this space beforehand. Your existing pets should never be made to give up their favourite spot to a new arrival.
Use smell to introduce the new arrival
If you see mixed breed puppies for sale, and find one that you want to buy, tell the breeder that you already have pets in the house. Explain what breed they are and what type of temperament they have. A good breeder will be able to tell you how likely it is that the new puppy you are thinking of buying will fit in with your existing pets.
Our breeder was able to give us advice about how Freddie was with other animals and also around her grandchildren, which was obviously a massive factor in our choice of dog.
Most breeders will happily let you put a cloth in with the puppy for a few minutes to pick up their scent. You can take this home and leave it somewhere your existing pets can find it and investigate. Doing this will get them used to the scent of your new puppy, which will smooth the introductory phase of their relationship.
When you arrive home, follow your normal routine and greet your pets as normal. While you do this, you can leave the puppy in the car with someone for a few minutes. Then get the pup out, put them on the ground and let your existing dog or cat investigate them. It is best to do this one dog or cat at a time. That way you will have better control over the situation and both animals will be more relaxed.
We had quite a bit of hissing followed shortly by a cat escaping to the top of one of our wardrobes!
For the next few weeks, keep an eye on how they interact. Naturally, there will be a few squabbles, but your pets will soon teach the new arrival how to behave. We kept the partitioning of the house up to keep Freddie away from certain areas that the cats felt safe in.
Obviously, this article will only give you some basic tips and our pets’ relationship still needs time to grow.
For more depth about dog body language, read information like this article that goes into more detail. These signs will help you to spot problems at an early stage so that your animals can *hopefully* go on to become friends!
Have you got any more tips about introducing a puppy to your household?
Disclaimer: This was a sponsored post by Douglas Hall Kennels. The opinions in this blog are based on my own experiences.