(As posted in Crazy Dog Newsletter by Dr. Jon)
Growing your furry family is exciting! If you are considering a new pet, here’s a few tips to keep in mind.
Initial introductions between dogs should be done gradually. If you’re getting a new dog, try having them meet in a park or neutral area. If adding a cat to a family with dogs, make sure your dog can see you bring the carrier in, then supervise a meeting in a controlled, safe room. You may want to place the cat in a separate room with the door closed while he or she gets used to all the noises, smells and atmosphere of the house. Your cat can sense and smell your dog under the door. When you do finally introduce the two – it’s recommended that you keep your dog on a leash at first so they don’t make chase!
The purpose of this initial meeting is, of course, to gauge how both animals react to each other. It is very important to watch your dog for signs of aggression, such as:
(1). Fur standing up on the back of the neck
(2). Low growling
(3). Curled lips, exposing teeth
(4). Direct staring
(5). Pricked ears
If your dog displays these symptoms, he may be deciding if the new animal is friend or foe. Keep the two pets a safe distance away from each other and if the behavior continues, separate them.
More often, though, your dog will simply be curious and cautious when meeting his new friend. Sniffing and checking each other out is normal, and it may take the two a while to get used to each other. There may be some brief instances of barking or play-growling as the animals test the other’s boundaries, but this is a normal part of canine interactions. After all, dogs are pack animals and instinctively and quickly establish their position in the pack hierarchy. Their survival in the wild was based on good pack behavior and cooperation with each other.
At the end of the introduction you should be able to determine whether the two animals get along. Did they seem relatively friendly and playful toward each other? Did either animal appear scared or overly stressed? If the general reaction was a calm and peaceful one, you are on the right track with your new companion.
Best wishes for miles of smiles with your new pack member!
Mrs. Doolittle, Doolittle’s Doghouse