Introducing Your Adopted Dog To Your Existing Dog(s)
Shaw PBR will assist you with introducing your dog to a potential adopted dog. You should bring your dog to the rescue for a meet and greet in the outdoor play area before you bring an adopted dog home. Typically, dogs of the opposite sex do better together. And even if your dog has many different canine playmates, you should still bring your dog to the shelter to meet a potential adopted dog. Dogs are like people, and sometimes a dog may not like another dog for no apparent reason.
What to do once you are home with your adopted dog
- Do be alert and make the reintroductions gradually and calmly. Even if they got along great at the rescue, your dog may be extremely territorial in the home.
- If possible, go for a walk around your neighborhood with both dogs and two handlers. Walk the dogs side by side on leashes and allow them to sniff one another and become familiar with each other.
- Do give your own dog LOTS of love and praise.
- Do leave leashes on the dogs when you are in the home, so that you can get immediate control if needed. You may only need to do this for a short time.
- Do talk normally. Letting the dogs know that you are fine; they are fine; everything is fine!
- Be patient and go slowly with your new dog as they may have been through a stressful surgery, abusive situation or a lot of recent changes.
- Don’t leave the dogs unattended. Even if they seem to get along well in your presence, you should separate the dogs when you leave your house.
Some common mistakes:
- Holding the leash too tensely as dogs may react with defensiveness.
- Leaving toys and chews around the house. This can cause resource guarding which can escalate very quickly. Remove all toys and chews before you arrive home with your adopted dog.
- Feeding your new dog with your existing dog. It’s best to separate them initially, and to supervise always.
- Over-stimulating your adopted dog with introductions to many people or your neighbors’ dogs.
Introducing Your Adopted Dog To Cats
Before you introduce your adopted dog to your cat, you may wish to wait a few days until you have confirmed or instilled basic obedience in your dog. You will need to have your dog under control and know which behaviors are appropriate when interacting with a cat.
Allow your dog to settle down and get to know your surroundings first before you start introductions to unfamiliar animals. Introducing a cat to a dog is similar to introducing dogs to one another. Take your time and create a stress-free environment.
Begin by keeping your cat in a different room. Allow the dog to become comfortable in his own room. Once the dog is comfortable, let him explore the rest of the house for short periods each day while the cat is in another room. This will allow them to pick up each other’s scent.
After a few days, allow the two to meet but keep the dog on a leash. Observe their interactions - a dog that is showing overt aggression, such as snarling, growling, baring teeth, etc., will probably never accept a cat. The cat and dog should be separated by baby gates or kept in separate rooms.
If all is reasonably calm so far, walk the dog around the room on leash, but don’t let go of the leash in case the dog decides to chase the cat. On leash interactions give the cat the opportunity to approach the dog if they choose, or to find a route of escape.
During the first few meetings, the cat and dog will probably not interact face to face. A dog is a predatory animal. It’s a natural instinct for a dog to want to chase a cat. Assume the dog will chase the cat, so you will be prepared. Never allow the dog to intimidate the cat by barking or chasing.
Each time the dog acts inappropriately (barking), let him know these behaviors are unacceptable; try using a quick sharp tone, like “Aah-Aah” to get their attention and redirect their energy. On the other hand, if the cat bops the dog on the nose as a warning, that’s a good sign and should not be discouraged. When they set up boundaries between themselves, they are beginning to establish a working relationship.
Let them interact with the dog on leash for about 30 minutes, then return the cat back to its safe haven and bring the dog to its dog crate or bed. Give the dog a treat and lots of praise.
Increase the amount of time they are together a little each visit. It’s important to be patient and encouraging in their interactions. If you’re relaxed, they will be more at ease. Always praise friendly behavior profusely. Don’t rush the introduction or force them to interact more than either is willing. Pressing them to accept each other will only slow down the adjustment process.
When the cat and dog seem to be getting used to each other, let the dog go, but keep his leash attached to his collar. Let him drag it around the house as he wanders, that way you can control him at any time. The cat will probably hide at first. You should use your best judgment as to when they can begin supervised sessions with the dog off-leash.