A new puppy often brings a world of wonder, joy, and mischief into an owner’s life. However, when it comes to other household pets, they may not exactly be eager to roll out a welcome mat—at least not at first. While socializing your puppy to your other pets may sound difficult, it’s actually very easy. Here’s how you can help your puppy become a member of your pet pack.
When to start socializing
Early socialization comes with a vast number of benefits, and fortunately, it’s both easy and fun for you and your puppy! All you need is a dog collar, leash and you’re good to go! Taking your puppy out and about around your neighborhood or at a dog park helps them grow accustomed to seeing and interacting with other dogs. If you’re worried about possible diseases, no worries! Vaccinations are usually offered at 6 weeks so you can start having safe and fun adventures with your fur ball fairly sooner than you think.
Puppies and other dogs
It’s important to remember that dogs are pack animals with a dominance hierarchy. This means one dog is usually the alpha that leads the pack, while the others fall in rank. Dogs are also territorial animals. It’s best to introduce your new puppy and current dog in a place that’s unfamiliar to both of them, such as an open field. This can help ease the tension your older dog may feel.
While you let them sniff each other out and interact, keep a close eye on body language. Make sure there are no signs of aggression between either dog, like staring, growling, or bared teeth. You can also feed your older dog treats if you notice they are exhibiting accepting behavior. Should your older dog start showing aggression, distract both dogs and try again after an hour has passed.
The key to socializing your dogs is remaining calm and in control, even if one of your dogs start acting up. You can also purchase a crate or playpen for your puppy so that your older dog grows used to the younger’s presence in the home without any altercation.
Puppies and cats
Cats are not usually keen on the idea of a puppy living in their home. However, despite any initial annoyances, it’s not impossible for your cat to grow used to having another furry family member.
Before you socialize your fur-babies, you must designate off-limit areas to your puppy, as it gives your cat its own personal space away from its energetic new sibling. Never leave either pet unsupervised when first introducing them. You should also keep a close eye for any aggressive or unwanted behavior.
Some tips include placing your puppy in a crate and letting your cat warm up to them. This gives your cat full control in getting acquainted with their puppy brother or sister. Let your cat define their own space and boundaries with your pup.
Puppies and other house pets
Whether you have hamsters, parakeets, or snakes, you should definitely take the time to introduce your pup to each one. Of course, it’s not a great idea to let your pet rabbit loose when introducing your puppy to it. But your puppy should be aware of its furry, scaly, and/or feathery siblings.
Make sure that each of your animals have their vaccinations up-to-date before socializing them to your puppy. Also, you should introduce each of your pets gradually (one at a time, if possible) over all of them at once. Like with cats, keep careful watch for any signs of aggression and always supervise your animals.
Socialization itself is not difficult, but acceptance can be. It may take a while for your household pets to consider your new puppy a member of the squad. But with enough patience and control, your puppy and other pets will eventually become lifelong friends!
Want to learn if your puppies are playing or fighting? Read our other blog: Is My Pup Fighting or Playing? How to Tell the Difference.