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Introducing a new puppy to your home and existing pets, including the family dog and cats

November 16, 2016



As a family, we have recently got ourselves a standard poodle puppy. We got her from a lovely home, where she has been well socialised and very well handled and obviously cared about, which is important when you get a puppy that isn't from a rescue. The home she lived in before ours, was very different to ours, firstly there was a variety of dogs living with her and no cats and only two adults. In the home with us, there are 6 adults, two cats, one dog amongst other smaller animals. 


We wanted to introduce Annabelle to every member of our family, human, furry and scaly as stress free as possible for them and for her. Murphy the Labradoodle has always been around dogs, when I used to work in rescue kennels (where we found each other), he was really good with all types of dog, including very reactive to the very scared, he always behaved accordingly and his easy going nature helped many dogs become less reactive to other dogs. So I believed introducing a puppy to him wouldn't be too much trouble. 


Murphy is now 7 years old, he gets regular dog massages and likes to take life easy, whereas an 11 week old puppy has other ideas. Despite Murphy being a very easy going dog, I still find it so important to make sure that Murphy has his own time away from Annabelle, this means we would do some training with her, give him so alone time with a chew while we played with Annabelle and if we found that Murphy was asleep we would not allow her to go and wake him up. This doesn't mean we stopped her initiating play as long as he wanted to play too. If either Annabelle or Murphy walked away from play, this meant it was playtime over to the other dog (generally it was Murphy that walked away, puppies don't know when to stop! As you may already know if you're a puppy parent)


Murphy has every right to tell Annabelle off, this doesn't mean he should tell her off if she isn't interacting with him, but if Murphy is playing with his toys for example Annabelle shouldn't try to take them off him, along with many other things such as:

NOT jumping all over him

NOT climbing on his head

NOT putting your head in his food bowl while eating

NOT pulling on his ears or tail

NOT sitting on him

NOT climbing into his bed while he's sleeping (unless your planning on sleeping too)


All the adults in the house are aware that Murphy has to have lots of fuss and attention when Annabelle is around, this means that he gets fuss when Annabelle is getting fuss, if you are doing training with Annabelle, then Murphy can be encouraged to go to his bed with a frozen kong, tough chew or something he likes to keep him occupied, this means that Murphy will be associating good things with Annabelle being around and strengthening their bond and helping Murphy to remain relaxed. 


Importantly all interactions must be supervised, Annabelle and Murphy are pretty much friends now, but we still keep them separate when they are unsupervised, we don't want any negative experiences for either pooch.


How we got Annabelle calm and behaving around the cats was a whole different project, still a work in progress, I will be posting another update on how we are doing and advice for new puppy owners :)