According to the Bella Vista Animal Shelter, shelter animals can take up to 90 days to get used to their new home life & routine.

Animals might be protective of their territory or a family member. Always be aware of a change in behavior. Treat different facial expressions, fur raised, tail movements, and growling as
possible signs of discontent. If these signs present themselves, separate the animals and begin the listed steps again.

Keep adopted cats separate in a small room such as a bathroom. Allow current animals to get to know one another through smell-by switching blankets or sniffing each another under a door. Let your new cat out for short periods, then assess after 1-3 days for the cats’ comfort.

Introduce dogs slowly on leash. Take the dogs to neutral territory and walk them on opposite sides of the path. Introduce the dogs to your home on a leash. If possible, have the dogs enter
the home at the same time. Assess the situation. If all seems well, take one animal off-leash. Assess again. Do not allow food or toys to be on the ground unsupervised. Always feed the
animals separately with lots of space between them or in separate rooms. Do not let children pet or approach animals while they eat.

Like people, there will be animals who do not get along. The Bella Vista Animal Shelter always asks that you bring your current dog to the shelter where they can supervise the interaction between animals. The Bella Vista Animal Shelter has many animals returned to the shelter due to conflicts with existing animals in the home. They do all they can to ensure that your new shelter animal has the best chance to stay in a happy loving home.

Likewise, when dogs are out in public, these same steps should be used to introduce them. Your dog may be friendly, but you do not know what experience the other dog may have had. Always ask before approaching an unknown animal if you may introduce yourself or your pet.

Dogs and cats in public places must be on a leash at all times in Bella Vista.