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How to Introduce Dogs
When you meet someone new, you typically shake hands, make eye contact, and exchange pleasantries - but with pets, the rules are a little different.
From tush-sniffing to suspiciously circling one another, pets have their own methodology for getting to know each other. Their etiquette is based on a set of formalities instinctual to them, but adorable and foreign to us humans.
Bringing a new pet into your family is always a thrilling adventure, but it may ruffle some feathers for your four-legged furball. Plus, you know what they say about first impressions: they last the longest. So please be sure to have a solid plan in place for introducing your pooches Rex and Rocky - don’t just burst through your front door and hope it will work out.
The initial meeting between Rex and Rocky will set the tone for their future interactions. If you’re careful and deliberate about “the first encounter,” you may just witness a smooth transition into lifelong friendship.
First, grab those leashes and hit the road! But make sure Rex and Rocky meet outside on neutral territory (aka, not your driveway). Take your new crew for a walk and let them feel like a pack. You want the pups to focus on the walk and remain in the same proximity without tension. Choose a path you don’t normally use so it’ll be fresh terrain for both dogs. If you're walking at night, don't forget to grab your Halo Dog LED Dog Collar.
Next, Rex and Rocky need to size each other up face-to-face. Let them sniff one another in a spot where they won’t feel confined (like against a fence or corner). If they feel like playing, let them horse around for a few minutes, then move on.
Home, Sweet Home
Now it’s time to head indoors. Bring the resident pooch inside first, then grab the newbie. Limit their interactions to stay nice and short, and if they exhibit signs of stress or anxiety, immediately separate the duo and resume once they’ve relaxed
Skip the dinner dates for Rex and Rocky until you know if they’re food-aggressive. During mealtime, make sure they can’t reach each other’s nosh and keep an eye on things.
No Space Invaders
When you’re away, don’t let the dogs play - yet. Keep Rex and Rocky in different rooms for now. You need to make sure they won’t fight and potentially hurt each other while unsupervised.
Who’s The Boss? (Spoiler: You)
Follow the leader! Pooches are pack animals, and you’re in charge. Rex and Rocky will ultimately figure out who’s the dominant doggie, but you’re Chief Of This Household. Praise their good behavior and distribute your attention (and treats!) equally among your brood.
Meeting Of The Meows: How to Introduce Cats
Just like with Rex and Rocky, you need to play it safe when welcoming a new cat into the mix. Kitties can be territorial. They thrive on routine. And when they get upset, those little razorblades inside their paws (known as claws) tend to emerge. So gently easing Buttons and Bella into this unfamiliar dynamic is crucial for long-term success.
Give ‘Em Space
Before letting Bella loose in your castle, let her acclimate to the new digs with a room of her own, decked out with a litterbox, bed, toys, and food area. A bathroom or bedroom (or any room) will be adequate, as long as Bella’s got some privacy. The idea is to let her get comfortable with her environment, then slowly let her into other areas.
A Little Peek
By this time, Bella and Buttons have surely glared (and probably pawed) at each other under the door. After a week of isolation, slightly open the door and let them see eye-to-eye. If the kitties exhibit signs of irritation (crouching, growling, hissing, flattening their ears), return them to their respective rooms to settle down.
Making Scents: Part 1
Bella and Buttons need to develop positive correlations with each other’s smell, and dinnertime is a great place to nurture this ideology. Put their dishes on opposite sides of the door (but not too close) and inch the bowls closer together over the following few days.
Making Scents: Part 2
Now you’ll take the sniffing game a step further. Grab a clean towel and gently rub it across Bella’s face. Leave it in Buttons’ area, and vice versa. The kitties should be curious about the pheromone-soaked towels and this will get them adapted to each other’s scent.
It’s A Group Thing
Finally, it’s time to let Bella and Buttons roam free! Once Bella becomes acquainted with her surroundings, let her investigate. Allow the kitties to roam around in one another’s room. Have some group play time. Cats are instinctual hunters, so engaging them in activity can deflect hostility and help them bond.
Remember to be patient as you introduce your new furball into the mix. It may take some time, and they may bicker, but with some persistence and fortitude, you might have a set of BFFs (Best Felines Forever ) sooner than you think.
Our dogs didn’t get along at all when we first introduced them. It was discouraging – and very frustrating for everyone. But then we took them for a walk outside – neutral territory. Once they started barking at other dogs together, I think they realized they were a team. Sure we have scuffles every once in a while when food is around – but they are best buddies now. If you bring your new dog home and they fight – don’t panic or take the dog back to the pound. Of course keep both dogs safe – but give yourself and the dogs time to figure things out.