Introducing A New Dog to Your Cat
Introduce Gradually continued...
2. With the dog paying attention to you, have your assistant
entice your small pet to walk a few feet back and forth. If the pet will not
move willingly, the assistant can support the animal comfortably and hold him
just above the floor. Move the animal a short distance. Permit the dog to look,
and then try to redirect the dog back onto you. Use treats if necessary. Help
the dog to stay calm and relaxed, even while watching the pet move about.
3. Move the dog one to two feet closer to the pet. See that the
dog stays calm for five minutes, and then have the pet move around a bit. The
dog should look at the pet while remaining calm, and then, turn and listen to
you while you talk to him. Praise and/or offer him a treat. Allow the dog to
look at the pet again and gain his attention back to you. Continue until the
dog is comfortable looking at the pet and looking back at you, all the while
remaining calm and controlled.
4. If possible, allow the pet to move freely about the room. Do
not do this if the pet is inclined to approach you. Can the dog still remain
calm and relaxed? Can the dog see the animal moving about and still switch his
attention back to you? If so, great! If not, stay at the previous step longer.
If, at any time, the pet attempts to approach within the dog’s range, have the
assistant move the pet away. To be safe, you do not want the dog and pet
sniffing for the first time while the dog is sitting or lying next to you,
especially if he knows there are treats nearby.
5. Stand up and allow the dog to move to the end of his leash.
Continue to speak to him intermittently to be sure he will pay attention to
you. If the pet approaches the dog, allow them to sniff noses. Keep the dog’s
leash loose so he doesn’t feel that he is restrained. However, be very vigilant
because if the dog lunges at the animal, you need to be close enough to pull
the dog away before contact is made. If the other pet is so small or fragile,
and/or the dog so large or powerful that the dog could kill it or inflict
serious damage with one bite, have the dog wear a muzzle when they first meet.
While the dog is sniffing the pet, call him to you. If he turns and comes away
from the pet, fabulous! If he needs a bit of coaxing, that’s okay--as long as
he is able to focus on you once you get his attention. If the dog becomes
totally engrossed in the animal and won’t come away, then go back to a previous
step and work at that level a bit longer before trying this step again.