socializing pets


Meeting Children

Children can often be too loud and boisterous for puppies and kittens, so supervise early encounters until you are confident that both are comfortable in each other’s presence.

Before introducing a new dog or cat to children, warn them that, in a new environment, away from its siblings, the puppies and kittens may be a little nervous at first. They should bel quiet and wait for the pets to come to them.

Allow the dog or cat to make the first move, and do not force it to be in the presence of any house guests. The puppy or kitten should set the pace of early meetings with kids. Some are more outgoing than others.

The safest approach with young children is to have them sit on the floor with a cushion on their lap. Gently place the kitten or puppy on the cushion.

Give the children a few treats for the pet so that it might more readily approach them. Do not let the children grab or pick up the pets on this first meeting – a nervous pet may scare easily and try to bite or scratch. Limit the time the kids and dog spend together so that neither gets overexcited.

After a few meetings, once the new dog or cat is comfortable with the children, they can be more hands-on in their playtime.


Meeting Older People

If your new dog or cat is a little boisterous, exercise caution when introducing it to elderly members of the family, especially those who are unsteady on their feet. Start by asking the elderly person to sit rather than remain standing, and then allow the dog or cat into the same room.

Discourage the pets from trying to jump up or scratch, and allow it to approach the family member or friend in its own time, with some gentle encouragement along the way.

Dogs and cats of sizes enjoy sitting on people’s laps. Just be sure the person in question is comfortable with the arrangement.


Meeting Strangers

Not every person your pet meets will be inside your house, so it is important that the new arrival is taught how to behave when encountering people out in the world.

When out walking, if your dog (or cat) wants to approach strangers, allow it to do so while maintaining control of the lead. Bear in mind that some people are uncomfortable around dogs or cats they don’t know, so be sure to check before you approach them.


Meeting Other Pets

For Dogs:

Restrain your new dog on its first meeting with other pets. You do not know how either will react, so limit how close they can get to each other. This is especially true with smaller animals that the dog might consider natural prey. It might be wise to put your dog or puppy in a crate when it meets smaller animals like a cat for the first time.

Keep a close eye on adult dogs at their first meeting, especially if they are of the same sex.

Cats may be wary on first meeting a new puppy or dog. It is best to hold the dog back until the cat is comfortable around it.


For Cats:

Keep the new cat and the established pet in separate rooms at first, switching them around every few days, so they can become familiar with each other’s smell. Supervise the first few meetings, making sure the new arrival has a safe place to retreat to in the event of an aggressive reaction.

Contrary to popular belief, cats and dogs can become good friends, especially when introduced to each other at a young age.