There comes a time in a pet owner’s life where they ponder if they should get a friend for their pet – someone to hang out with while you are away or at work. Although this seems like a great idea to keep your furry friend entertained, if done incorrectly, there can be total chaos and resentment.
Think of it this way; how would you feel if someone came to your house, slept in your bed or a brand new one, ate your food, and got more attention from your family members? It wouldn’t sit well with you! You’d almost immediately start to resent this new comer. This is what can happen if you go the wrong way about introducing a new pet to your existing pet.
Resentment is not the only thing that can come from a bad introduction. Over time problems can arise that range from depression for the existing pet to anti-social behaviour that could lead to fights and injuries.
No matter what types of animals your pets are, there are always steps you can take to ease the tension and make the introduction run smoothly. Petplan have put together some tips and tricks for when you need to introduce a new pet to your existing pet.
It is important to get your existing dog familiar with the new dogs smell. This can be done through a towel or a stuffed animal that somewhat resembles the newcomer. Rub the new dog gently and thoroughly with the towel or stuffed toy before they come home and give it to your existing dog to examine it and get to know the smell. If they have any negative reactions to these items they should be turned in to a positive to allow them to associate this smell with positive reinforcements – hugs, pats, treats etc.
When you decide it’s the right time for your 2 dogs to meet, it should be done on neutral ground (the park or a friend’s house). This way neither of them can become territorial and aggressive towards the other one. The best way to do this is to get someone to take your existing dog for a walk while our new dog investigates his new home – allowing him to pick up the other dogs scent without the added stress. Once he is familiarised, take the new dog to meet your other dog at the neutral spot.
Be sure that the introduction of both animals is controlled with either a separation between the two (a wire fence or gate) or that they are leashed and able to be restrained with any signs of aggression. A good tip is to have treats ready to reinforce good behaviour and allow them to associate one another with rewards. Allow the two to get to know each other for a while and be comfortable in each other’s company.
After they have acquainted themselves with one another, it is time to take them home. For a start, be sure to remove all toys and other items that the 2 could possibly fight over and feed them in separate rooms.
As they begin to know each other better and are no longer competing for your love, you can bring their toys back and feed them together. However, it is imperative to supply numerous toys to decrease the chance of a fight as well as feed them a number of small portions to trick them in to thinking that they have plenty of food even with another body in the house.
With a new dog, everyone wants to fuss over them and give them all the attention. Make sure that you give your existing dog just as much attention and affection in order to not make them feel left out and alone. If you follow these guidelines and there is still a bit of hostility, it is best to let them work it out for themselves without jumping in too soon. What may look or sound bad can just be a way of them getting to know one another – so just keep an eye on them while they familiarise themselves.
Remember that introducing your new dog into the house has to be done gradually, allowing both your existing and new dog to get comfortable with one another. Dogs live as packs, so the introduction of a new member to the pack is ultimately up to the pack leader (you), however by slowly introducing the new dog, you allow for them to know the pack rules and hierarchy – leaving a greater opportunity for them to be welcomed in.