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Tips for introducing a new pet

Canine Creek Pet Wash and Boutique

With many people spending more time at home, many (myself included), have found themselves bringing a new pet into their lives. For me it was another kitten. It's always exciting bringing home a new furry friend, but if you have other pets, careful introductions can help to smooth the way toward harmonious merging of pets.

I'll share a few tips on what I've learned from my readings and past experiences.

First, it's good to start slow. You want to make everyone as comfortable as possible. Set your new friend up in a pet-proofed room that they have all to themselves. Then, set up some food and water, and give them some time to get used to their new surroundings. Once they start feeling comfortable with their new little area, let your new pet and your current ones sniff through the door. Maybe even introduce a toy to encourage playing at a safe distance apart. You may hear some hissing or growling at first, but just be patient, reward good behavior and surely results will come.

Next, after everyone is showing more positive reactions, you can start supervised meet and greets. Keep your cat or dog on a leash or have someone hold them when introducing the new kitten. Allow the pets to explore each other and intervene only if you detect signs of impending aggression. Usually, gently correcting inappropriate behavior on the part of the new or existing pet and reinforcing desired responses will diffuse the situation, but be prepared to use the leash and retreat quickly if tensions escalate. I also bought a new feather chaser toy to encourage playtime together.

It's definitely helpful with younger pets, since they display more submissive behavior, but I believe positive reinforcement and patience is key. It may only take a day or two or it may take several weeks for your pets to tolerate each other. It may take months before the pets are relaxed with their housemates, but you are on your way to success if you reach the stage of a calm truce between them. For more tips and information call or stop by Canine Creek!

Canine Creek is located at 798 Tucker Rd., Ste. 5., Tehachapi. For more information call (661) 822-0307.