Thereʼs a few things to consider when introducing a puppy to multiple pet households when you first bring them home.
Keep it calm
Ensure the pup has a quiet, settled experience when entering the home to give them time to sniff around and check out the surroundings.
Children will be understandably excited but should be encouraged to sit down and just allow the puppy to come to them. Greeting it with a gentle pat, treat and calm voice.
Your other dogs should be introduced to the pup in a controlled manner, allowing plenty of space between them. Neutral territory can be helpful for first encounters.
Create a positive association
Introducing a puppy to multiple pet households can upset the other pets who may not welcome sharing their home and the attention, so we want to make any interactions they have when the puppy is around, positive.
Use treats or other rewards to help create a positive association with the new family member, rewarding calm behaviour and good interactions. Also ensure you give each equal time and not make a big fuss over the puppy so that your other dogs in particular resent having the newbie around.
Keep cats separate
If you have a cat, you should start with them separate rooms or areas with the doors closed for a few days, so they can sniff and smell each other under the door.
Use a Feliway pheromone diffuser or catnip to help keep them calm.
Once comfortable always give the cat somewhere up high to retreat to and allow observation from a vantage point. Never force animals to interact.
If going out, always ensure a barrier is between other animals until you are sure there arenʼt going to be any problems. For some animals, a barrier may always be needed.
Give older dogs time out
When introducing a puppy to multiple pet households, never favour one dog over the other, take it slowly and give senior pets some time out, ensuring any aches and pains from osteoarthritis or other niggling issues are taken care of before puppy arrives.
As your puppy may have only had its first round of vaccinations, it may not be fully protected from the core diseases canine distemper, hepatitis and parvovirus, so when introducing a puppy to multiple pet households, ensure parasite protection is up to date on all animals as well to keep them safe from fleas, ticks and intestinal worms, and that any playmates are up to date with their vaccinations.
It’s best to avoid areas where there are lots of dogs – dog parks, catʼs and communal dog bowls or just pick them up in these areas.
Vaccination regimes differ slightly depending on the area so itʼs best to check with your local vet about when itʼs safe to get out and about.
Nexgard SPECTRA will provide them with protection from these and other common parasites and can be given to puppies from 8 weeks of age and over 2kg.
For more tips on bringing your new puppy home, click here, and for tips on ensuring your home is puppy proofed, click here.
About the Author: Lara Shannon is a NDTF certified dog behaviourist and trainer, Executive Producer and Host of Pooches at Play on Channel 10 and editor of Poochesatplay.com. Lara also runs her own dog training and boarding business in Melbourne’s Bayside area and is the Author of Eat, Play, Love Your Dog.