Teaching new pets to meet older pets

Keeping a happy household with more than one pet. takes a lot of effort.

BEFORE bringing home your new dog, introduce your new pet to your resident pet in a neutral area like a park. Keep both dogs on leashes for a short time.
Be matter-of-fact about the situation but stay alert. If either dog reacts aggressively, consider getting a different second dog or none at all.

Dogfights generally involve a struggle between an existing resident dog and a new arrival, often of the same gender. Dogs in the household, just as in a wild pack, have a hierarchy, with one animal being the dominant one. Respect this hierarchy when you introduce the new dog; you will cause conflicts if you treat both dogs equally.

Assess which dog is the dominant one, it is usually the older pet and act accordingly. The dominant dog generally should be first when greeting the owners, passing through a door or getting fed. But he shouldn’t mistreat the new pet in any way.

Reinforce your own position in the household by teaching your dogs the commands “down” and “stay.” Giving them a “down-stay” command while they’re side-by-side communicates to them that this is your house, and they will behave themselves here regardless of how they feel about each other.

How can I get my cat and dog used to each other? Put the new dog on a leash when he meets your cat. Prepare yourself for some major upset on your cat’s part. Do not get too concerned over a good-natured cat-and-dog chase but do correct your dog when it happens.

Your cat will take a while to adjust to the newest member of the household. Help her by ensuring she has open doors and windows to escape. Give her a place to eat where she can feel secure and where you will not have to run interference, like a tabletop or a strictly ‘no-doggy’ area. Also keep the litter box out of your dog’s domain.

If you have any questions, please write to me at connie-pets@euroweeklynews.com. I’ll be happy to help.

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