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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.

WebMD Veterinary Reference from ASPCA Virtual Pet Behaviorist

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