A huge number of dogs find a new home around the holiday season. With so many people still trying to figure out how to best welcome them into their families, KIRO Radio's "It's Raining Cats and Dogs" turned to the experts to learn how best to make things work with their new four legged friends.
Northwest trainer Joey Iverson says there are a lot of things you can do to ease the transition. One of the biggies is considering how to handle pets you may already have at home.
A big deal for pets is scent, so Iverson says introducing the scent of the resident animals and the new dog is important.
"If we do have resident dogs or cats already living with us, we may want to bring in their scent if possible, bring in that scent for them to explore before bringing dog and dog together."
Iverson recommends making arrangements to give the new pet time to move around the living space while the other animals are not there.
"The other animals can come back in, and they're able to smell the scent of that dog as well."
When introducing a dog into a home with a resident cat, Iverson says it's important to make sure there is a space the cat can get to that the dog cannot. Whether it's a high cat climbing apparatus or a room the dog cannot access, the cat needs an escape route for safety.
When possible, Iverson says first introductions should be conducted in an open, neutral setting. Animals outside won't feel as stressed as when they're in a confined space with a new animal.
Size should also be considered in introductions. If one animal is a puppy, Iverson says the introductions should be very brief, done in increments under 10 seconds.
She recommends watching out for showing of teeth or growling, which indicates a dog is really not interested in interacting at that time.
Intros will be best, Iverson says, if efforts are taken to make the animals feel safe, introducing them in a spacious, neutral setting, where the meeting can be slow and gradual.