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Hi All-

As my Celiac family (all of you) I wanted so see if any of you have some tips for introducing current pets with a new pet.

Currently we (me and the hubby) have adopted 2 cats and a dog, our dog is a female 10 years old maltese, very HIGH strung, she wasn't well taken care of prior to our rescue of her. She has gotten better, but she is neurotic (seriously). The two cats love and hate each other, they both love the dog. So I think if we do decide to adopt another rescue animal it would be a dog. I am just worried how the dog would respond, she tends to think of herself as a big dog when around other big dogs and gets a bit aggressive and around little dogs she is scared of them, weird I know. She is mental, but we love her. :D

Any advice?


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Kudos to you for going the rescue route for your pets -- there truly is no feeling like it, that of giving a neglected, abused and/or lonely animal a new life! :)

We've rescued two dogs and a cat in the last ten years. We currently have two dogs (both standard poodles, and rescues) and two cats (our female was from a local rescue organization). It is quite remarkable how we humans spend so much time fretting and worrying about how to approach the introduction of a new animal into our houses - - how to handle the introductions, the sharing of bowls, the sleeping areas, the division of affection, etc., when what invariably happens is this: they work it out. On their own, and quickly.

I really believe through years of observation that dogs and cats are much more adaptable than humans are - - they tolerate one another, and learn to get along (if it isn't automatic) very quickly. I watch in wonder as my rescue dogs, total strangers a few months ago, play happily together, respect one another, and keep each other company. If only humanity could manage this with such class and alacrity..... . .or at all!

Here are the tips that I remember making note of when I got involved in the world of rescued pets: If there is already a pet in the house, dog or cat, the best bet is for a rescue that is the opposite sex. Looking for a rescue that is of a similar energy level is a good idea, as well -- so you'd be looking at a male dog that is high-strung... . .......yeesh! Gotta be ready.... .. . ...<_<

I think your maltese girl may very well surprise you, and adapt well to a new addition. They are SO much better at it than we are! :)

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Try introducing them on neutral turf, like at a PetSmart or dog park, so nobody's defending territory, and have a friend hold the leash of your dog while you hold the leash of your new dog, so you don't provoke any kind of protective feelings towards you in your dog. Let them get to know each other there for an hour or so, then let them ride back in the car together, with one human handling each dog, just in case. Then, bring them inside together. Make sure there are no toys or treats or anything around for anybody to get defensive about. Give all your attention to the older dog so there are no jealousy issues.

It's easier if your new one is a puppy since adult dogs tend to allow little ones more leeway, but it can be done with older dogs too. Eventually, everyone will settle into their place in the pack, provided you provide strong Alpha leadership on your end. If you make sure that your dog understands that YOU are the one in charge, and YOU say that the new dog stays, then eventually he will accept that because you are his Alpha and what you say goes.

There are some great books out there on little dogs... they're a bit unique in some ways because their size makes people react to them differently. My favorites are "Little Dogs: Training your pint size companion" and, one of the best dog books ever, "The Toolbox for Remodeling Your Problem Dog". It's got a couple of chapters about behavior, territory and aggression that might be helpful with addressing issues that could show up when introducing a new dog. It's an amazing resource, and I learned a ton reading it.

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