Pets have the ability to bring a great amount of love into any household. Good preparation, giving your new pet time to adjust and rewarding good behaviour will help smooth your new pet’s transition into your household.
Choose your new pet wisely
It is important to consider the personality of your current pet. Think about how your pet acts around you and other pets before choosing a new addition to your family. If your dog is an enthusiastic ‘cat chaser’ it may not be a good idea to introduce a new cat to the household.
Give your new pet time to adjust to its new surroundings
Moving into a new home is a big challenge; let your pet get used to his/her surroundings before introducing them to other household pets. To do this, you may want to separate your new pet from your current pets by putting them in separate areas of your house. Swapping their toys or blankets may help to familiarise them with each other’s scent.
Introduce new pets slowly
Just like us, first impressions between our pets can be very important. When the time comes to introduce your new pet, introduce them slowly. Make sure you have good control over your pets in these early interactions. In some cases it may be better to introduce your pets in a neutral setting, such as a park or friend’s house. Gradually increase the time of interaction as your pets become comfortable with each other.
Reward good behaviour and avoid punishment
Offer praise, treats, toys and affection to promote positive interactions. If there is a conflict, do not punish your pets as this can create more confusion. Simply separate your animals and give them some space to themselves before their next interaction.
Pay attention to the way in which your pets are interacting. Dr. Jennings says “it is wise never to leave your newly introduced pets alone to ‘work it out’ on their own”. They should be supervised at all times until they are completely comfortable with each other.
Friendships take time to develop and your pets will need time to adjust to each other. Taking things slowly will make it easier for you to achieve a friendly and loving household between your pets.