There is nothing more exciting than bringing your new four-legged friend home for the first time. The joy and wonder in on his face as he takes in his new surroundings and family is enough to melt a heart of stone. However, if you already have other dogs or cats in the home, they might not share in the joy and excitement.
Handle it right, though, and there is no reason not to choose one of the many dogs for sale in Glasgow that are looking for a new home. Furthermore, a young companion can often have truly rejuvenating effect on an older dog. Here we offer some tips on getting the introductions right.
Doggy Social Dynamics
There are two things to remember about canine social dynamics. Dogs are very hierarchical, and they can also be territorial. Unless you know from experience that your older dog is very relaxed about other dogs visiting his territory, then there is a better chance of things going smoothly if the initial meeting takes place somewhere away from home on neutral ground.
Also, in an ideal world, enlist two friends, one to handle each dog. That way there is no favouritism from you.
Let them do their “dog stuff” and have a good sniff at each other, and watch their body language closely. Growling, bared teeth and raised hackles are all signs of aggression, but remember, dogs are hierarchical and need to establish ground rules between themselves.
If your older dog growls a warning at a new puppy that is being too boisterous, it is not necessarily anything to worry about. Try to avoid interfering, unless it looks like things are going badly wrong, and if tensions do get high, defuse the situation by distraction, not punishment.
Give them time
Avoiding interference as much as possible is perfect, but that does not mean shutting your new puppy into a room with an older dog and leaving them to sort themselves out. Always be there to supervise while they get to know each other, particularly if your older dog has a tendency towards aggression.
Even if they seem to be getting along fine, give them at least a couple of weeks before you leave them alone together. Bear in mind that you only see how they behave when you, the pack leader, are present. If left alone, they might start to compete for superiority.
Again, once they are of similar size, a little skirmishing like this is nothing to worry about, and is normal dog behaviour, but be careful while the puppy is small.
Dogs and cats
In the vast majority of cases, a puppy will chase a cat that runs away and will be curious about one that stands its ground. Again, discourage cat-chasing by distraction rather than punishment – the puppy is only following a natural instinct.
Ensure you set out some ground rules as to where your new puppy is allowed to go, so that there is a safe area for the cat to escape to.
Also, do not punish your cat if he gives the new puppy a disciplinary swipe. Again, he is simply setting up the boundaries in their relationship, and sometimes puppies have to learn the hard way!
Cats and dogs can become firm, lifelong friends and companions, but do not expect it to happen overnight. It takes time for them to build up a relationship, and invariably, it has to be on the cat’s terms.