1. Introduce your newly adopted pet to other pets in a neutral location. Do not introduce a new pet in the “territory” of your current pets. This will set up a confrontation.
2. Do not have the first meeting of the newly adopted pet at the front door. Again, reinforce the neutral area. For dogs, it might be a park down the street. For cats, you might want to place the newly adopted cat in a bathroom for gradual introduction, avoiding confrontation. This way the animals get to smell each other and used to the idea of an intruder. Provide a hiding place like a covered kennel or safe room. Being able to hide lowers a cat’s stress when confronted by strangers, changes or excess activity.
3. Be patient and build trust with your new pet. Expect them to take some time getting to know you, and to feel safe. Do not “push” them to respond to you until they are ready to engage.
4. Do not overly lavish attention on a new pet, as it will establish the expectation that this level of attention should continue and the pet will become stressed if the attention does not continue. The tendency is to lavish a lot of attention in getting to know each other and to bond, but this can backfire when your normal routine sets in.
Information provided by Dr. Rolan Tripp of animal behavior network. Visit www.animalbehavior.net to learn more.