Tips for Successful Introductions

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Are you adopting a dog into a family with other pets?  Dogs, cats, and other pets may not be instant friends, but there are things you can do to work toward a successful introduction.  The LaGrange – Troup County Humane Society along with the City of LaGrange Animal Shelter encourage you to bring existing family members and pets to the animal shelter to meet before you commit to an adoption.  If you have questions about making arrangements for a meet and greet, contact us at info@lagrangehumane.org or call 706-298-3608.

Done properly, an introduction between two dogs, even if they don’t seem to get along at first, can lead to a lifelong, harmonious friendship.

Always practice safety and caution when introducing your dog to one he or she is unfamiliar with. Although some dogs instantly connect with one another, other canine friendships may take a great deal of time and effort to develop.

Follow these guidelines to safely and successfully introduce dogs:

First Things First: Set your dog up for success!

Plan introductions for a time when your dog is calm and relaxed. Exercising your dog with a long walk or an intense game of fetch beforehand is an excellent way to ensure he’ll be calm for the introduction.Familiarize yourself with your dog’s body language, particularly the signs that he’s uncomfortable. These signs can be very subtle, such as: lip-licking, yawning, a tightly closed mouth, avoidance or looking away.  Other signs are more obvious, like growling, barking, and lunging.

During introductions, you’ll need to closely monitor your dog’s body language and either slow down or take it back a notch if he or she begins to show signs of stress. Prepare to keep introductions short and sweet to ensure their success. While some dogs may hit it off right away, others will need time to feel comfortable and accept a new friend. Don’t be discouraged or disappointed if your dog needs to take things slowly.

To safely introduce two dogs, both dogs should initially be restrained using a properly fitted collar or harness and leash. Use positive reinforcement to reward good behavior and build a good, positive association with the new dog.

Find Neutral Ground
It’s important to choose a location that’s unfamiliar to both dogs. Naturally territorial, a dog may view a park or backyard that he regularly frequents as part of his territory and may react negatively to a new dog invading his space.Depending on the personalities and comfort levels of each dog, you may be able make a successful introduction on a small stretch of unfamiliar road or, you may need a much larger open space, like a park or large, neutral outdoor space.

The shelter features a newly fenced area away from the kennels where the dogs and family members can meet safely!

Start Simply: Don’t do too much too soon!

With both dogs securely leashed, the dogs should be close enough to be aware each other, while at a far enough distance as to not become provoked or excited by the other’s presence. For some dogs, this first walk can happen as close as 10-feet or less apart, while other dogs may require greater distance.

When both handlers are walking closely enough that the dogs are aware of each other, but far enough apart that they aren’t becoming excited or agitated, reward your dog with a high-value treat and praise when he looks at the other dog. By rewarding your dog for simply looking at his future friend, you’re helping to create a positive association with the new dog.

Repeat this step often, only moving the dogs closer together by short distances at a time and only when both dogs are calm and relaxed. If one or both dogs, at any time, becomes excited, agitated, or shows signs of stress, distract your dog and only return to the introductory walk when both dogs have returned to a calm, stress-free state.

Baby Steps

Once both dogs are comfortable being walked within close proximity to one another without incident, take turns walking one dog directly behind the other. Then, switch positions. This gives each dog an opportunity to smell the dog in front of them without becoming overwhelmed. Continue rewarding both dogs for walking nicely without reacting excitedly or negatively to each other.

If this step in the process goes smoothly, you can now walk the dogs side-by-side, as long as both remain calm. If, at any point, one or both dogs becomes excited, stop what you’re doing, allow the dogs to relax, and begin again at the closest successful distance. Continue progressing at a pace both dogs are comfortable with until eventually you can allow them to interact while being closely monitored.

Moving Forward: Bringing your new dog home

Now that both dogs are comfortably interacting in neutral territory and you’ve decided to adopt, it’s time to move the introductions to a more familiar location. Remember, however, that moving to a familiar location may trigger some territorial behavior.  If you’re bringing a new dog to an existing dog’s home or backyard, be sure to put away any toys, bedding, or food that may lead to conflict.

Consider keeping newly introduced dogs in the home separated by a sturdy pet gate and monitor how they respond to one another while safely separated before allowing them to romp and play together. And, of course, always handsomely reward good behavior and positive interactions.

Until you are absolutely certain both dogs are comfortable and safe together, never leave two newly introduced dogs unattended together. Instead, separate the dogs in crates or securely in different rooms of the home while you’re away.

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Dog Body Language

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Because each dog is an individual and will express fear, aggression, stress or joy slightly differently, there are no hard and fast rules for interpreting dog body language. Tail wagging, for instance, can indicate several emotions. The important thing is to look at the entire body of the dog. With that said, here are some examples of dog body language and an explanation of what they might mean.

Play bow

The rear end of the dog is up, while the front end is down. The play bow generally means: “I want to play.”

Tail wagging

Contrary to popular belief, tail wagging can mean many things:

  • A low-hung wagging tail could mean: “I am scared or unsure.”
  • A high, stiff wag can mean: “I am agitated, unsure or scared, but not submissive. I might bite you or your dog.” If the dog’s body is stiff, he is staring, and his ears are up, use caution. Keep the dog out of trouble because he may be about to make a bad decision.
  • A loose wag – not really high or really low – normally means: “I am comfortable and friendly.” But you should keep watching the dog’s entire body. Some dogs need a lot of personal space. They will tell you if you get too close.

Freeze

A dog freezes if she is scared or guarding something, such as food or a toy, or feels cornered. She may bite, so please slow down and pay attention to what she’s trying to convey.

Rolling over

Rolling over generally means the dog is being submissive, but look at the whole dog. If the tail and mouth are loose, the dog is probably comfortable and asking for a belly rub. If the tail is tucked and the lips are stiff, the dog may be scared. Some dogs will solicit attention and then become fearful and bite, so observe the whole dog, looking for comfortable, loose body language.

Ears perked up

When a dog’s ears are forward, he is alert, interested in something.

Tail between the legs

If the dog’s tail is tucked between her legs and her ears are back against her head, she is afraid and uncomfortable about something.

Signs of stress

When a dog is stressed, he often shows displacement behavior, any of a variety of activities that seem inappropriate in the situation. These behaviors occur most often during times of emotional conflict. For example, a dog may start grooming himself when he’s afraid and is faced with the decision to fight or run away. Self-grooming, an odd response to a “flight or fight” situation, is displacement behavior that the dog uses in an attempt to calm himself.

Some typical displacement behaviors:

  • Yawning in new or emotional situations
  • Panting when it’s not hot
  • Lifting a front paw as someone walks toward the dog
  • Licking his lips, even though the dog hasn’t been eating or drinking
  • Scratching himself when he’s not itchy
  • Looking away as a person or another animal walks toward him
  • Shaking off after someone handles him or another dog plays too roughly
  • Stretching out as though doing a play bow, but not asking for play
  • Making a puff (exhale) of breath, sometimes whining at the same time, and looking away or turning away
  • Lying down and trying to make whatever is happening stop by not taking part in it

Signs of fear

Be aware that your dog is likely feeling stress along with fear when he/she:

  • Starts to drool when she normally doesn’t
  • Paces or circles
  • Tucks his tail and moves away from something
  • Starts to whine
  • Sweats through her feet
  • Puts his hackles up, his tail is low or high, and his body is still
  • Starts to growl, and may start to move away
  • Starts to curl her lips or show her teeth (which may be the only warning she gives before biting)

Diffusing the stressful situation

Many people chastise dogs for growling, but that just discourages the dog from attempting to communicate that he’s stressed or fearful. If your dog is growling or is indicating in some other way that he’s stressed, stop whatever you are doing and try to determine what the dog is reacting to. You want to help the dog become more comfortable in the situation or manage the behavior in the future so that a bite to a person or animal doesn’t happen. Often, if we slow down whatever situation caused the fear and start exposing the dog in small amounts at a distance, we can help him to completely overcome his fear. We can also help dogs become more comfortable in general, in order to keep them, and us, safe.

Want to learn more?

If you want to learn more about your dog’s body language, Best Friends animal behavior consultant Sherry Woodard has this to say: “Turid Rugaas has a lot of information on dog body language in her book On Talking Terms with Dogs: Calming Signals. And in her DVD, Calming Signals: What Your Dog Tells You, viewers can see her pointing out various signals dog use to communicate with each other. Other valuable books are Canine Body Language: A Photographic Guide to Interpreting the Native Language of the Domestic Dog by Brenda Aloff, Canine Behavior: A Photo Illustrated Handbook by Barbara Handelman, and Dog Language: An Encyclopedia of Canine Behavior by Roger Abrantes.

This article originally appeared on the bestfriends.org website and may be accessed here.

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New Pet: Bringing Home a New Family Member

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What are some of the things you should keep in mind when bringing home a new pet?

Adopting a new pet

Before bringing home a new pet (whether a puppy, kitten, dog or cat), do your best to make sure they are as healthy as possible. You can start by acquiring the animal’s complete medical history. If possible, see if you can find out the following:

  • Whether your pet is up-to-date on vaccines.
  • Whether your pet has been tested for heartworm disease and has been on a consistent preventative. Ask which heartworm prevention medication the animal has been taking, and whether the medication has been well tolerated.
  • Whether your new pet has been on flea and tick prevention. Again, ask for the specifics of which preventative has been given and whether any side effects were noticed.
  • What food your new pet has been eating. If you’ll be feeding the animal something different, you’ll want to make a gradual transition to the new diet to avoid gastrointestinal upset.

You should ask for copies of all medical records and give them to your veterinarian in advance. If your new pet hasn’t been examined recently, make an appointment with your vet for a physical exam. At the appointment, your vet can administer any necessary vaccines and test for fecal parasites.

Keep in mind that any change, even a positive thing like moving to a home, is stressful for animals. Stress, travel and transport can aggravate underlying disease and may even cause disease. So, do what you can to minimize stress during this time of transition.

Cat-proof or dog-proof your home

Once the basic medical needs have been assessed, take some time to inspect your surroundings. Are your home and yard appropriately dog- and cat-proof? Some common safety concerns: toilet seats, electrical cords and outlets, house plants (some are toxic to pets), garbage cans and inadequate kitchen food storage. You may want to move valuable or fragile items. It’s a good idea to have a crate or a safe room where you can confine new animals when unsupervised, or for gradual introductions to existing pets.

Bringing home a puppy or kitten?

For young animals, keep in mind that they are still babies. Puppies and kittens do best with consistent feeding and eating schedules; this also helps facilitate potty training and litter box training. Some other things to consider:

  • Use age- and size-specific pet toys. Also, be watchful of objects or toys that might look interesting and tasty from your pet’s perspective, and that could be ingested and cause potential stomach and bowel problems.
  • Use caution when exposing puppies and kittens to older animals and don’t take them to high-traffic locations such as dog parks or pet events until they are fully vaccinated.
  • Make sure your puppy or kitten gets enough quality time with you and the rest of your family. Discuss in advance which behaviors you want to reward and which behaviors you want to ignore, and make sure everyone in the family is prepared to be consistent with training. Avoid rough play patterns, as they teach bad habits that are hard to reverse later.
  • Supervise puppies and kittens closely, especially in the first few weeks in a new home; consider placing a bell on your pet’s collar so he or she is easier to monitor when not in sight.

Bringing home an adult pet?

For older animals, see if you can learn about any training or health problems they have, and be proactive: Make a plan to deal with any issues. Don’t try to do everything at once, though; gradually introduce new experiences under controlled circumstances. Remember, lots of quality time is very important during the first weeks that a pet is in a new home, and consistency and routines make things easier for everyone. Adult animals should also be confined to a safe room or crate when unsupervised, particularly during the first few weeks.

Introducing a new pet into your home

If you have other pets in your home, keep in mind that you need to plan introductions carefully. If possible, implement a quarantine period of 7-10 days in case your new pet comes down with any illness secondary to the stress of travel. For cats, a safe room or transition room should be set up to house the new cat as you gradually introduce him or her to your other pets. Be sure the door can be securely closed. Two weeks before bringing the new cat home, consider using a pheromone diffuser. Cat-appeasing pheromones — such as Feliway — help ease the stress of new cat introductions.

Once the quarantine period is over, try placing a toy near the bottom of the door separating the new cat from the other cats. This may facilitate play under the door. To help with scent transfer, use a towel or glove to pet all the cats daily, focusing on the cheeks and base of the tail. Once the new cat seems settled and relaxed, start to rotate locations. If this goes well, progress to short (five minutes or less) visual introductions. Do this several times a day until all the cats are relaxed, and then try supervised contact. To be prepared for breaking up an altercation, have a squirt gun or spray water-bottle handy. If everyone is getting along, the length of time the cats spend together can gradually be increased and human supervision can slowly decrease.

For dogs, it’s best to let them meet on leash in neutral territory. If possible, have one person for each dog, and if you have more than one dog, introduce the new dog to only one dog at a time. If you can, bring the dogs together multiple times before they live together. Try to do introductions when everyone is calm. After you bring the new dog home, don’t leave the dogs together unsupervised; use a crate or a transition room to keep dogs separate. You’ll want to separate new dogs during feeding time and remove highly desirable toys, treats and beds during the transition period.

Follow these simple but important guidelines, and before you know it, your pets will be well-integrated members of your household.

This article was originally located at bestfriends.org.  The original may be found at: http://bestfriends.org/resources/dogs/new-pet-bringing-home-new-family-member

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Bringing a New Dog Home: Preventing Problems from Day One

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Before you bring your new dog home, there are a number of ways that you can prepare for the new addition to your family. First, get the dog an ID tag with your information on it (name, phone number, address).

Before leaving the adoption site, check that your new dog’s collar is not too loose. Many dogs in new situations pull out of their collars and run. If your dog pulls out of her collar, she will be loose in a strange area with no contact information. To be extra safe, you might want to purchase a martingale collar (a no-slip collar available at pet supply stores) or a harness to use, in addition to the regular collar, until she has demonstrated that she can handle all the new and startling experiences of a new environment, such as other dogs, city noise, and traffic.

Keep your new dog on lead except in a fenced-in yard or an approved, fenced off-lead area. Always use a leash or lead near traffic, since your dog can be distracted or fearful for just a second and run into the street.

What does my new dog need?

To be happy and healthy, your dog will need the following:

  • Constant access to a bowl of fresh, clean drinking water
  • A nutritionally balanced diet
  • A safe place to eliminate outside (if she’s not being litter-trained)
  • Some daily exercise

If he or she hasn’t had any yet, your new dog will also need some training. Investigate the dog trainers in your area and pick out one who uses humane methods. Humane trainers do not use chain or prong collars, nor do they advocate yanking on or lifting the dog by the collar. For more info, read “How to Find a Good Trainer.” Your dog needs you to be the leader (albeit a gentle one), so you will also benefit from the training classes. If you don’t function as the leader, your dog will start making decisions on her own, some of which may be inappropriate or dangerous.

Your dog also needs daily, loving interaction with you and a social life. Socialize your dog by bringing him on car rides, letting him be around children and other dogs, taking him to the groomer, shopping with him at pet food stores (some of them let you bring your dog in), and walking him in public places.

Strive for structure and consistency in your dog’s daily routine to give him a healthy feeling of stability as a member of the family. The relationship between your family and your new family member can be great if you are patient and positive.

You should also select a veterinarian with whom you are comfortable, since you’ll need to bring your dog in for regular checkups. Finally, find out what the local dog laws are (such as leash laws) and what the licensing requirements are for dogs in your area.

Do I need to dog-proof my house?

Before your new dog arrives, you should dog-proof your home in much the same way that you would child-proof your home for a toddler. Look at your home from a dog’s eye level. What can he reach? If you don’t want him drinking out of the toilet, tell everyone in the household to make sure they put the cover down. If anyone in the house smokes, put ashtrays out of reach, since cigarette butts, if eaten, can lead to nicotine poisoning.

Will his wagging tail inadvertently wreak havoc on your prize possessions? Dog tails have been known to sweep the contents off the top of a coffee table. If you like to keep lit candles around, make sure they are above the dog’s reach. Is there anything he can trip on or become tangled in (such as electrical cords)?

How can I prevent my new dog from chewing up my stuff?

If your new dog has her own toys, she may not be as interested in chewing up human things (though leather shoes are hard to resist). Buy durable rubber or nylon toys that satisfy the dog’s urge to chew. Toys that you can stuff treats into (like Kongs and Buster Cubes) should keep her occupied for a good long while. If she starts chewing one of your personal items, immediately get her interested in a dog toy instead.

What should I know about making my yard safe?

Do a walkabout of your yard. Is your yard completely fenced in? Are there any spaces or gaps that your new dog or puppy can squeeze through? Is there anything that he can climb on that would allow him to escape over the fence (e.g., a wood pile, a fountain, latticework)? Some dogs know how to flip open gate latches, so latches should be clipped or locked if your dog can reach them.

What sort of plants do you have in your yard? Snail bait and some plants (such as oleander, azaleas and rhododendrons) are poisonous to dogs. Antifreeze is another hazard for dogs – it is toxic and can be fatal. Dogs are attracted to its sweet taste, so don’t allow your dog to drink from standing water near where cars have been parked.

Do you have an uncovered pond or pool in your yard? Dogs have been known to drown in backyard pools when they jumped or fell in and couldn’t get out. You should also make sure your trashcans have tight lids to avoid “dumpster diving” by your dog. Besides the smelly mess that an overturned trash can creates, some of the items in your trash (like chicken bones) may be dangerous for your dog to ingest.

Ideally, you should check your yard for safety before your new dog comes home. If you haven’t done this prior to the dog’s arrival, supervise the time that your pet spends outside. Even a child’s toy can be trouble if it is chewed up and swallowed.

This article originally appeared on the bestfriends.org website and may be accessed here.

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How to Introduce a Dog to a Cat

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By Sherry Woodard, Best Friends animal behavior consultant

Some dogs do fine living with cats; others simply cannot live safely with felines. Sometimes, a dog can live with certain cats (depending on their age, temperament and activity level), but not others. Even if your dog has successfully lived with cats in the past, it is important to remember that each dog and each cat is an individual and therefore each introduction is different.

When introducing your dog to a cat, pay attention to the body language of both animals. If the cat’s ears are pinned back or his tail is swishing back and forth, this is a good indicator that he is displeased. You particularly want to be aware of dog body language that could be potential warning signs. If your dog has a strong prey drive (the inclination to seek out, chase and potentially capture animals seen as prey — usually smaller animals such as cats or rabbits), she might become very focused on the cat. She’ll stiffen, stare, and may start barking or whining. If you see these signs, do not let her near the cat. Ideally, her body language will be loose and relaxed around the cat. It’s OK if she pays attention to the cat, but you don’t want to see her fixated on him.

In addition, a dog’s interaction with a cat can change depending on the environment. Just because your dog is OK with the cat inside the house doesn’t mean she’ll exhibit that same behavior outdoors. She might fixate on the cat and start stalking him when they are outside together. So, be aware of her body language around the cat in each new situation, until you know how she is going to respond toward him.

There are many different ways to introduce a dog to a cat. If the first method of introduction you try doesn’t work or you don’t feel comfortable with it, try a different option. Even if the dog has had experience with cats and the cat has lived with a dog before, proceed cautiously during the introduction. It’s best to have two people present — one to intervene with each animal, if necessary. If you have more than one dog, introduce each dog separately to the cat.

Option 1: Slow and steady desensitization

If your dog is too fixated on the cat, you can try desensitization, the goal of which is to reduce your dog’s reaction to the cat by gradually increasing her exposure to him. Put the cat in a room (e.g., a bedroom, a bathroom or a spare room) with a tall baby gate across the door. The room you choose should be one the dog cannot access and doesn’t need to access. For example, if the dog sleeps in the bedroom with you at night, don’t pick that room for the cat. The idea is to separate them and only allow them to view each other during specific times.

In his room, give the cat all needed supplies: litter box, toys, food and water. Keep in mind that cats are good at squeezing through small gaps and are also good climbers and jumpers. So, make sure your cat can’t get past the gate you put up. The gate needs to be a barrier that allows the cat and dog to see one another, but does not allow them to access each other.

To begin desensitization, let the dog view the cat briefly through the gate, and then get the dog to focus on something else, such as playing with a toy or practicing cues. Sometimes it helps to keep the dog on leash so that you can move her away from the cat when you try to refocus her attention. Praise and reward the dog for being able to focus elsewhere. Continue to give the dog short viewings of the cat throughout the day.

Sometimes, even seeing the cat at first is too exciting for the dog. If this is the case, close the door and begin feeding each animal on his or her side of the door: The cat eats his food in his room, right next to the door, and the dog eats her meal on the other side of the door. This allows each animal to associate the smells of the other with something good: food. You can also swap out the blankets and bedding of each animal, giving it to the other. That way, the dog can get used to the cat’s smell and the cat can get used to the dog’s smell, without overstimulating either of them.

Hopefully, through this process of slowly letting the dog see the cat and get accustomed to the cat’s presence, the dog will eventually become desensitized and lose interest in the cat. In some cases, the dog will lose interest in the cat within a couple of hours, but it can take days, weeks or even months. Each dog (and each cat) is an individual and will learn at his or her own pace.

With that said, though, it is possible that your dog may not ever be able to safely share space with a cat. If you don’t feel you can trust your dog around your cat, you should keep them apart. Many dogs can injure or kill a cat very quickly, and your dog can also be injured by the cat. Your first priority should be ensuring that everyone stays safe.

Option 2: Face-to-face introduction

This is a more fast-paced introduction. One person should hold the dog on a loose lead and watch the dog’s body language. Someone else should watch the cat’s body language. If the cat is not raising his back or hissing around the dog, he can be allowed to move around freely. A cat is rarely a threat to a dog, but some cats will be on the offensive when meeting dogs.

If the dog is calm around the cat, you can ask the dog to sit, or lie down and stay, if she has been taught those cues, while the cat moves about freely, sniffing the dog if he wishes. The dog should be praised and rewarded if she ignores the cat. If the dog is too fixated on the cat (e.g., staring at the cat, has stiff body language, will not listen to you when you call her name) or if she lunges and tries to chase the cat, you should try a different strategy for getting them to share space, such as Option 1 or Option 3.

Option 3: Look at That

If the quick introduction did not work and your dog is not becoming desensitized to the cat, you might need to try some more structured training. By playing Look at That (LAT) with your dog, you can help to teach her not to fixate on the cat. You’ll be teaching her to look at the cat and then look back at you for a treat. Essentially, she’ll learn that it is more rewarding to not pay attention to the cat.

To start working on LAT, you need to figure out the dog’s threshold while on leash: At what point does she notice the cat, but still respond to you when you say her name? That is her threshold. Each dog has a different threshold. For one dog, five feet away from the cat might be her threshold; for another dog, it might be 25 feet. You’ll know you have gone past the threshold when she starts barking or lunging at the cat. Another sign that you’re getting too close to the cat is if she starts moving more slowly, staring and stiffening her body. If you call her name and she doesn’t respond to you, move a few feet away from the cat.

Once you’ve figured out the dog’s threshold, grab a clicker and some really delicious, pea-sized treats. If you don’t have a clicker, a verbal marker (a word like “yes” or “good”) will work just fine. Put 10 treats in your hand and keep the bag close by for later.

When you see the dog looking at the cat, click the clicker or use your verbal marker and give her a treat. The first few times, you might have to put the treat right in front of her nose, but fairly soon she should start looking expectantly at you as soon as she hears the marker. That’s because the marker (either a clicker or a word like “yes”) always means a treat is coming. Use up the 10 treats, clicking as soon as she looks at the cat.

The 11th time, before using the marker, wait and see if she will look at the cat and then look right back at you. If she does that, either click or use the verbal marker when she looks at you and then give her a treat. If that doesn’t happen, go back a step. Mark her 10 more times for looking at the cat and then try again. Once she is reliably looking at the cat and then looking back at you, you can slowly start moving closer and closer to the cat. If the dog becomes fixated on the cat when you move closer, you’ve gone past the threshold and need to move back.

As you train, her threshold decreases, which means that the two of you will be able to move closer and closer to the cat. Continue practicing LAT with your dog until she can be right next to the cat without an issue. How quickly your dog’s threshold decreases will depend on you (how much you practice and the types of treats you use), your dog (since every dog learns at a different pace) and your cat’s comfort level.

Introducing kittens and puppies

If you are introducing a kitten to a dog, keep in mind that kittens may not have any fear of dogs, so you must watch the dog carefully. Because kittens are small and want to run and play, dogs with a strong prey drive may be very excited by a kitten’s movements. Even if your dog is OK with your adult cats, it is important to watch her closely when she’s with a kitten. If your dog is young and high-energy, she could hurt or kill the kitten simply by trying to play. So, for safety’s sake, keep kittens and dogs apart any time you are not watching them.

Introducing adult cats to puppies can sometimes be easy, since a well-socialized adult cat might be fine with a puppy acting like a puppy. However, if your rambunctious puppy is chasing your shy cat, it is up to you to intervene. Until the puppy is old enough to have more self-control and has had some training, you will want to manage their interactions. You don’t want your puppy to learn that chasing the cat is a fun game. Baby gates can be used to keep the animals safely and comfortably apart. To help you keep an eye on your puppy, you can also put her on a leash. That way, if she begins to chase the cat, you will be able to easily direct her away from that behavior.

Seeking help from a professional

Animals with good past experience often adjust well and quickly to a new pet in the house. But if introductions don’t go well, seek help from a professional dog trainer or behavior consultant. Don’t ever use punishment: It will not help and it could make matters much worse.

This article originally appeared on the bestfriends.org website and may be accessed here.

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