It’s less stressful for the puppy to meet the family one by one. Keep introductions calm and quiet, and take care not to crowd the dog – let it come and get acquainted when it’s ready. The goal is that the puppy has positive experiences with humans. When they meet a new human, throw a treat down, and reward for confidence. It helps to toss the treat down so they move away from jumping up.
A similar approach applies to non-human members of the family. Introduce them one at a time, and watch out for signs of aggression. It’s important that they all feel comfortable, so let the pets approach each other in their own time.
Cats can be the most difficult to introduce to a new puppy. We suggest a simple strategy; to have a safe place for cats to get away to, and ensure the puppy never chases the cat. The dog should be on a leash or in a crate, so that the cat can build up confidence and start learning that the presence of the dog is a good thing – it gets treats and knows it can get away if it wants to, but doesn’t feel threatened by the puppy.
Mixing their scents can also be useful. Allow the animals to get used to each other without direct contact – bring through the cat’s bed so the dog can smell it and recognise the presence of another animal in the house without wanting to act on chasing it.
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