Really looking at your lifestyle, your current time commitments, and why you want a new pup is a must to successfully adding a new fur baby to your family. Taking the time to prepare mentally is just as important as what you need to do to prepare physically. The more you prepare ahead of time, the more comfortable your family and your new family member will be.
You may be ready for a pup and feel your current fur baby is ready for a sibling, but now what? The more time you spend preparing, the smoother this new transition will be. You pretty much have three things to consider: 1. how your resident cat or pooch will be affected, 2. understanding the “newbies” history and adjustment, and oh yeah... 3. your own lifestyle adjustments . . . (It’s a lot of freaking work)
Plan ahead of time where you will create separate spaces for the animals. It’s important that they can take a breaks from each other. Get separate food dishes, and to create less drama, feed them at different times or make sure there is space between their food bowls if you are feeding at the same time. Set up the puppy's crate in a more neutral area of the house, and make sure each dog has their own crate. By setting up the space ahead of time, you can have all your energy to focus on the introduction. If there is more than one human family member, discuss and plan out who is going to do what of the doggie duties ( who does potty walks, who's in charge of feeding, who's in charge of vet visits, who's in charge of grooming). Having everyone understand and agree on staying consistent with the training commands.
If it is a possibility, I strongly recommend bringing your resident dog to meet the new addition on neutral territory before the big move in day. This gives both dogs a sense of familiarity when meeting again at your home. Make sure both pooches are on leashes, let them sniff, and go for a short walk together. If you have someone else that can walk the new pup, that would be ideal.
If meeting ahead of time is not possible, you can also introduce the new hopeful friends outside your home for a greet and walk. Meeting on neutral territory is a must and will set the tone for this new transition.
If the resident elder is a cat, keep the puppy in the crate and have the cat investigate at their leisure. Confine the puppy to one area of the house for the first week or so, letting your kitty know they are here to stay, but the cat can continue their free roaming.
Do not leave the new pup and the resident pet unsupervised. Allow these new “friends” to get to know each other on their own time. Never force them to be together. Monitor their body language and take appropriate action if necessary. Working even just a couple times with a trainer during this period would be very helpful for you in setting household boundaries as the pack leader.
Confine the puppy to one area of the house for the first week or so, letting your kitty know that the new addition are here to stay. The cat(s) can continue their free roaming as usual. Pay attention to your cat during this time. If you sense distress on their part, continue to do things separately. Puppies often want to play more than a cat is interested in.
After a few months, your family will be in stride with the new routine.
Congratulations on your new family!