This is a great question that I receive quite often from clients. Many of our clients have other pets like Golden Retrievers, other dogs, cats, horses and more. How do we effectively introduce your puppy to “the pack?”
Learn YOUR Place In the ‘Pack’
First, realize that there is a pack structure. You may not know it, but it’s there. If you’ve done a good job, then you should be the pack leader…the “Alpha.” In many households though, a pet is allowed to display dominance and “be their own boss.” If you have a pet that is very dominant, then you have to take extra caution. If you have a pet that’s very submissive and not aggressive towards other animals, then the transition will be much easier.
If your other pets are submissive
If you have a submissive and loving pet, then introduction can be as easy as just having them in a room next to each other or having your puppy in a crate while you introduce him/her to the “pack.” Allow them to sniff each other. If you purchased a “Recherche” Golden Retriever, you will have a major advantage because we not only obedience train our pups, but we extensively train our pups in socialization with other people and pets including dogs and cats.
Most English Golden Retrievers which we have trained will have no problem with another dog…in fact, they may be too eager to play with them. Most of the time, our English Golden Retriever pups will attempt to jump all over and play with your other pets. Because of this you want to be gentle with the introduction. Puppies are like rude junior high boys. They can be very annoying to adults. If you have a very patient and playful dog/cat, that will make for an easy transition. If you have a very mature, laid back and calm pet, then your English Golden Retriever can be quite annoying and you will simply have to take your time with the introduction.
If you have a submissive and loving pet, then the crate time is more for your Golden Retriever to calm down and not get too excited about meeting their new best friend.
If your other pets are dominant
If you have a dominant or possibly aggressive dog, then you have to be extra careful. It may take hours or even days before you put the two pups together. English Golden Retrievers are generally calmer than American Golden Retrievers, which will help. You want to make sure your English Golden Retriever pup has calmed down and is not hyper when you introduce him/her to your pet.
Make sure you are present during the introduction just in case there is any aggression shown. If your pet shows their teeth, growls or shows any sort of aggression, then you must immediately correct your pet. If said aggressive behavior is coming from a cat, then most likely you’re not going to do much to change it. However, if the aggressive pet in question is a dog, then you must re-train your dog to understand that he/she is not the alpha, but you are. You are accepting the new pup into the “pack” and your dog doesn’t have any say in it.
English Goldens are very smart and will learn quickly if your older pet doesn’t want to be friends. Normally they will leave each other alone if your older pet shows no interest. You simply want to take your time so that your older pet will get used to the smell, sound, and look of their new Recherche English Golden Retriever friend.