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I will be speaking of cats in this post, but the information can apply to new dogs, and to either of them being introduced into a mixed group.

That said, here is:

How to Introduce a New Pet to Established Pets

Supplies needed:
** clean towels
** bedding used by the established pets
** bedding used by the new pet (if possible)
** three (count 'em) child gates of the sort that extend to block a doorway or a hallway.
** a room with windows, a bed (yours) and, ideally, access to a bathroom, or where you can conveniently set up a litter box
** 'safe' places for residents to hide - under couches or beds, on shelves; somewhere that you don't have to worry about wholesale destruction to bric-a-brac or other treasures
** clean litterboxes (cats)

Before you get the new one (if possible)
If you can, take a clean towel and rub down the newcomer, and then put the towel somewhere where your other pets hang out. (This gets the scent out there)

Get the room set up. Put the three child gates in the door so that there is no way that anyone can climb over the gates and get into the room. Have the center gate be easily accessible so that when you want to go in there, you can simply remove the middle one, step over the lower one, and put the middle one back.

Rub down your other pets with a towel and put it in the newcomer's room.

Bring the newcomer in. Go straight through the house and to the room where you will be keeping him. Yes, lots of people just open the carrier and let things happen, but it really isn't very wise. Lots can go wrong. (Jetmefund tells of a time someone adopted a new Boxer, took it home and let it loose, then watched as it cornered and killed the family cat. Not the boxer's fault: they go after varmints, which is how they 'read' cats. But still...)

Carry him straight through the house and to the new room. Put the carrier down on the bed, open the door and prop it so that it won't swing closed. Then get out of there. Let him get out and explore on his own steam. Don't pull him out, though if he does come out and want to cuddle and play, so much the better. When you leave the room shut the door.

Handle your other pets - fuss over them, cuddle them.

(The point of all this - towels, cuddling - is that cats, specifically, but dogs as well are extremely scent-oriented. You're putting the scents together. The newcomer will smell your others on you; they'll smell him on you. They'll have the towels to sniff, so you're minimizing the strangeness.

For at least the next two days, keep the door closed. The others will crowd around and sniff and complain (lots of hissing, be warned). On the third day you can open the door a crack - but leave the child gates up. The pets can see each other through the gates, can yell curses, play footsie or make eyes, as it suits them.

At some point (be the judge) you can put all the others somewhere secure and let the newcomer go out and around to sniff and explore. This gets his smell around.

See how they are behaving face to face through the gates. If things look OK, you can take the gates down while you're there. For the first week or so, depending on how things go, keep them separated while you're away.

Some people scatter a little of the litter from the newcomer's pan on the oldsters' pan, and the other way around. I don't do that, but it might work. It's important to get your smell on all of them (they will read it as 'friendly' and approved by the Alpha Cat).

Keep your eyes open and use your judgment.

This has always worked for me, introducing grown-up cats, kittens, puppies... The most important part is your own patience and intuition. Expect good things and they'll generally happen.
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