Adopting another pet? Congratulations!
Already have a pet at home? Proceed with caution...
Introducing a new pet to a home that already has a pet can be a gradual process that requires patience and preparation. Here are some tips to help you introduce your new rescue to your home when there is already a pet in the home:
Choose the right timing
Pick a time when both pets are calm and relaxed, and when you have enough time to supervise their interactions. Avoid introducing a new pet during a time of high stress, such as during a move or when there are other significant changes happening in the household.
Start with scent swapping
Before the pets meet face-to-face, start by exchanging their scents. This can be done by rubbing a towel or blanket on one pet and then placing it near the other pet's bed or feeding area.
Introduce them through a barrier
The first face-to-face introduction should be through a barrier, such as a baby gate or screen door. This allows the pets to see and smell each other without the risk of direct contact. Gradually increase the amount of time the pets spend together separated by the barrier.
Supervise interactions closely
When you feel comfortable that both pets are tolerating each other through the barrier, it's time to introduce them directly under close supervision. Keep the interactions short and positive, and reward good behavior with treats.
Gradually increase the amount of time they spend together
Gradually increase the time the pets spend together, always supervising their interactions closely. Be prepared to separate them if either pet shows signs of aggression or discomfort.
Give them their own space
Both pets should have their own space where they can retreat to if they feel uncomfortable or need a break. A separate bed or crate can help prevent any potential conflicts.
Remember, introducing a new pet to a home with an existing pet takes time and patience. Be prepared for the process to take several days or even weeks, and don't rush the pets into a relationship before they are ready.
Article by Traci Theis, National Trainer of the Year AKC
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