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It was November and I had spent 3 months searching for just the right puppy. Finally we had found what we considered to be the perfect one. Luckily she was already 7 weeks old so she could already be separated from her mother. I was so excited when we brought her home, our new addition to the family. I made sure I had all the required supplies; food and water dishes, food, a bed and a crate. We were ready. The fact that we already had a cat never really caused me much concern. I figured they would give each other a good sniff and surely it would not take long for them to become the best of friends and live happily ever after. I had visions of our little puppy all curled up with our cat in front of the fireplace.
Reality hit when I walked into our house carrying a crate with our newest family member inside. Our dog is a female so I will use she when referring to a dog. The cat seemed a little curious so in a moment of obvious brain freeze I took the puppy out of the crate to introduce the two. Our cat in a split second armed herself for battle. The hair was straight up making her look like I had just taken her out of the dryer and she started hissing and growling as if her opponent was a rottweiler rather than a puppy that could fit in my hand. The poor puppy could barely walk so she just fell into a ball and shivered and whimpered. I'm sure that as soon as we removed the dog and put her back in her crate, the cat went to her bed and stated plotting a way to have the new puppy just suddenly "disappear" like getting flushed down the toilet. She considered herself to be the queen of the household and it was obvious that there was going to be a battle for the crown. Boy had I called this meeting wrong! In an attempt to help you avoid a similar situation I'm going to outline a few pointers as to what you SHOULD do when you introduce your new puppy to your resident pet. This information comes from research done concerning raising a puppy, unfortunately the how to introduce guidelines would have been much more beneficial if found BEFORE the actual deed was done.
Firstly the introduction must be done slowly. If possible take a towel and rub the new puppy with it then bring it home and put it somewhere that your resident pet will frequent and be able to smell. This will also work if you take something that has the scent of your existing pet on it and put it in the carrier you bring your new puppy home in. When you first bring a new animal into your home she should stay quarantined from the other animals until it has seen the vet. Once she has seen the vet you will still need to keep her separate from the other animals. Allow the animals to smell the new puppy from under the door so they may become to each other. After a few days to a week you can try the introduction but make sure you are close in case you have to take on the roll of referee. If there is some growling or paw raising don't interfere unless of course you feel your puppy is in danger.
If your puppy is being crate trained you can put her back in the crate and continue to take her out for short intervals to spend time with the other animal. Make sure the amount of time you let them spend together is increased gradually. Most importantly never leave the two animals alone and be sure to flood the resident animal with love and attention so they feel secure in their place in the family. This will greatly reduce the risk of having the new puppy take a whirl in the toilet. If you want all animals to live in harmony you have to be patient and let the animals deal with each other in their own way and on their own time.
Cass Hope has been a writer for over 5 years. Cass regularly contributes to online and offline publications in a variety of areas. She also teaches classes in basic obedience for puppies. She is currently sponsoring this site: http://www.1st4dog-training.info
(for web reprints please ensure this URL is hyperlinked)
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