Q: How do I introduce adult rescues into the home with existing pets, such as cats and dogs?
A: Introducing an adult dog to a home with resident animals can be tricky. It’s a big change for all the animals involved, which means raised stress levels that could influence behaviour. There is no one-size-fits-all approach, and different approaches may be used depending on the individual animals involved.
Introducing on neutral territory while on leash is usually best, but in some cases off-leash is better, and sometimes introducing within the new home works a treat. Because so much depends on the individuals and the unique situation, it is ideal to consult with a qualified behaviourist for assistance – they will be able to assess all the relevant factors and decide on what will be most effective for all the animals involved.
When it comes to introducing a new dog to resident cats, extra care must be taken and safety is a priority. This is also when consulting a behaviourist is highly beneficial. Mistakes made during unsuccessful introductions can make integrating a new dog a nightmare for everyone in the home, and can dramatically raise stress levels in animals, so err on the side of caution and work with a professional.
Katherine Brown, Behaviourist