Pet Introductions

The RHS recognizes how important it is to adopters that their new pet is a good fit for their family. The RHS adoptable pet personality profiles provide valuable insights into the character of adoptable dogs and cats as viewed in a shelter environment.  Compatibility assurances with other pets, including other cats or other dogs and children are not included in these profiles since  behaviour can be variable and any recommendations regarding compatibility may provide adopters with a false sense of security based on these assessments.

How a pet interacts in the shelter environment is not necessarily an indicator of how they will behave at home. Home is full of resources to guard and changes in routine, which may not occur in a shelter environment. Even shelter introductions with other dogs, cats or children may not inform us about their behavior in the home. A pet  may behave differently with each dog, cat or child based on their past experiences, how introductions are performed or the way the other dog, cat or child approaches or behaves. For example, if a dog only sniffs a cat who stands still, it doesn’t tell us what he will do when the cat runs away. If the cat is in a crate for the introduction, the dog’s behavior could be a result of the barrier, a result of a novel situation, or even the dog’s experiences with crates!

It is dangerous to make broad generalizations about how each pet would behave with resident dogs, cats or children due to this amount of variability. Although shelter introductions may provide further information on compatibility, the RHS supports adopters by providing management tips for the first few months to help facilitate, supervise and monitor interactions among their resident dog, cat or children and the new dog to ensure a successful placement.