Adam Holmes loves has two dogs and a cat, but he loves them all equally. He advocates against animal cruelty (especially in training methods) and currently writes forHavahart Wireless, a provider of wireless pet fences.
Getting a new dog is awesome! However, it can be a potentially sticky situation if an owner has other pets controlling the environment. If you’re looking to adopt a dog or if you have just taken one under your wing, there are some ideas that can help integrate the new guy or gal into your living situation. It seems like it would be a straight forward introductory meeting between your pets, but it’s a touch more complicated than that.
Below are a few ideas to help assimilate your new dog with other pets. From there, you’ll have a flourishing animal kingdom well underway.
Sharing of emotion
First and foremost, you’ll want to share the love between your new dog and other household pets. It sounds simple, but with pets, it isn’t. You need to make it a top priority to give your new dog an equivalent amount of attention compared toyour other pets. If you give the K-9 any less, she might not feel comfortable, leading to sadness and even potential agitation. If you give her more attention, the other pets will feel like castaways.
Don't give your cat more attention than the new dog, even if the cat is acting this silly (photo via CC)
Take home: Share emotion to the point where you’re obsessing over equality. Even looking at a certain pet longer than the others in a recently changed environment can tarnish the potential your house has for pet equilibrium. Like most relationships, if you focus and take positive steps with emotional distribution, you’ll be in a good position.
Awareness of space
Whether you’re introducing your dog to a room full of birds and kittens or to a backyard full of bulldogs, the principle of space is critical. Animals can be territorial, and the dynamic of pet integration can put a big wrench in your plans for a smooth assimilation process. Part of the introductory phase should involve teaching the pets how to co-exist spatially. Whether it’s setting up a wireless dog fence to provide equal space before grouping pets together or simply monitoring your new dog consistently as she adjusts in the backyard, keep it in mind.
Let your pets get used to sharing the same space (photo via CC)
Take home: Everyone wants space, and pets are no different. If your new dog has enough room to get comfortable, while also avoiding overwhelming the previous pet tenants, the situation will have a much more friendly tone.
Setting the rules
Similar to children, you don’t want bullying when introducing your new pets. One way to quickly mitigate this is to set the rules. While the breed of dog and also the existing pets create variation in this concept, developing an authority through the early phases of pet acquisition is crucial. Particularly if you’re introducing a new dog to other dogs, it can make a big difference long-term if you monitor all interactions for the first week or so.
Take home: As a caretaker, you don’t have to be an authoritative ruler. What you want to aim for is having the respect of all of your pets. From there, your voice won’t need to be raised or used too frequently. Your presence will take care of it.
Introducing a dog to a household with other pets is a journey that gets people excited in life. However, it doesn’t come without difficulties. These are some ideas to consider as you expand your animal kingdom.