Creating Pet Harmony…
When you’re a pet lover, saying no to taking on new additions can be very difficult. Who can resist the lure of those fluffy faces and really, what difference would one more make?
If you are considering taking on another pet, then there are some considerations you’re going to need to take on board concerning the other furry members of your family, particularly dogs.
Dogs, of course, are very in tune to the pecking order and hierarchical sequence of your family and any changes can be unsettling for them. So, if you’re taking on a younger dog then take a look at our tips on how to make sure harmony is maintained in your home, with this short guide.
You can’t tell your dog that she’s going to get a new housemate, but you can start to prepare your home. Find a new bed, a crate and some puppy toys that will be for your new arrival alone and if possible, find a puppy play den that can keep your furry friends separated if need be. Make sure your new pet is healthy and had all its relevant inoculations and treatments.
You’ll need to make sure that you’re ready to start the training process all over again with a clicker and treat bag. Brush off all those old training books and have an idea in your mind where you’re going to start – usually a combination of house training and basic obedience.
It’s unlikely that your dog will be delighted to accept the new arrival, though she may surprise you. Indifference or even plain annoyance is perfectly normal and nothing to be worried about. Don’t forget to keep rewarding your dog with treats when she reacts well to your puppy and encourage any positive interactions she has with her.
Allow your dog some time away when it all gets too much. Send her to her bed or kennel and give her a special treat, so she learns that taking herself away is completely acceptable and encouraged, rather than giving her a cuff around the head or a nip to the ear.
Avoid punishing either animal for bad behaviour as fear-based learning is neither effective nor works well in the long-term, just stick with the positive messaging.
While it’s hard work and may well keep you up at night, the gains in the long term are worth it. If you want to keep adding to your pet-friendly household, it’s worth getting to know the tips and tricks of how to integrate existing and new animals.
Be patient with both of them and give your older dog plenty of love and reassurance that she’s still in her same spot in the pecking order of your household. Show your pup how to act around her and over time, they’ll get more and more used to each other. You’ll soon be left wondering if it might be time to add another furry friend and start the whole exhausting, but ultimately rewarding, process all over again.