When it comes to introducing a new pup to your children and to the household cats you can’t do a re-take on that first experience, so make sure it’s a good one.
Children are naturally going to be excited about the arrival of the new puppy but try to diffuse the energy so they are nice and calm for the puppy’s arrival. Give the children some small puppy treats and show them in advance how to give them to the pup on the flat palm of their hand. This will give them a job to do, and the pup will have a positive experience meeting your children.
Give the pups lots of breaks to process what he or she is learning and to rest. Have a puppy playpen set up in advance so you have somewhere calm to pop him in. Puppy playpens should be ‘no-go’ areas for children. Rest and sleep are very important for a young developing pup, and children should be taught to respect that.
With young children, make a rule that they can’t pick the pup up, otherwise they will be constantly picking him up when all he wants to do is to walk about and explore. Have them sit down and call the pup over to play.
Introducing other family dogs should always be done either behind a physical barrier like a crate, playpen or stair gate, or at the very least on leads. For more information on introducing your dogs read our blog post on Introducing a New Puppy to an Older Dog.
When introducing your pup to the family cat, remember to restrain the pup and not the cat. Your cat will be able to fend for itself. He or she may spit or hiss, but that’s ok as it will teach your pup to be wary.
It’s important that your pup is never allowed to chase the cat, so for the first year you need to make sure he isn’t allowed to. This may even mean you have to attach a long line to your pup to prevent him. Always make sure your cat has plenty of room to escape the pup, or somewhere up high to get out of reach. If you leave them home alone, try to leave them in separate rooms.