Can’t We All Just Get Along?
Author, Professional Pet Sitting Etc.
If you’re the pet parent to a lone pet, the thought of welcoming another to your home has likely crossed your mind. After all, it’s said cats are best in pairs (a single cat is more likely to be lonely and needy, while a pair will keep each other busy and amused), and you can’t always be around to monitor your dog’s behavior and keep him from being destructive, but a buddy just may do the trick. And what about a Boxer brother with a Siamese sister? That must be the best of both worlds, right?
While there are many benefits in parenting two pets – such as additional companionship, increased socialization, improved mood and health – the fear of “what if they don’t get along?” is likely looming in the depths of your mind. Sure, bringing home a cute kitty to join your canine companion may spell disaster, but with the proper preparation and follow-thru, the outcome can be spectacular.
Helping Pet Live Harmoniously takes time.
Here are a few helpful tips for making a smooth transition from a one pet household to two.
Obedience. If your current pet is a dog, ensure he is trained well enough to mind your commands to sit and stay. If a cat, you can find books on feline obedience training in the fiction section!
Take it slow. The number one rule in introducing a new furry family member is to do so gradually. To your current pet, bringing a new dog or cat into his home is an invasion of his territory. And for the new pet, being thrown into an unfamiliar environment leaves her with no boundaries or rules to follow. Effective methods of introduction are as follows:
- Before introducing two dogs, take each for a long walk, with you and your current pooch in the lead with a friend or family member following behind with the newbie. This will drain their energy and allow them to become familiar with each other in a place that neither of them “owns.” After a while, drop back and allow your original dog to sniff the new guy’s rear, not allowing them to meet face-to-face just yet. Resume your walk, with your dog back in the lead, and allow the new dog to have a sniff. Gradually, you’ll find you’re able to walk together, with you and your friend between the dogs. When they are tired, calm and incident-free, it’s time to take the two to their home. Let your original dog enter first, giving him the opportunity to properly invite his new sibling inside.
- Traditionally, we think of cats and dogs as mortal enemies; thankfully, that’s just not the case. When introducing a new dog to your kitty companion, place the two in separate rooms with an adjoining door. This will allow the two to get used to hearing and smelling each other without the risk of direct interaction. Place a blanket or towel with your new dog’s scent with your cat, and vice versa. Be sure to spend time bonding with each pet individually to allow time for them to become comfortable and relaxed in their separate environments. Once each appears comfortable with the current situation, switch their positions. It may be beneficial to switch their rooms multiple times during this pre-introduction stage. After a day or two, it will be time for a face-to-face introduction, with barrier between the two, such as a baby gate. Reward each for remaining calm, and discourage bad behavior. In most cases, with a little time and a lot of patience, your new dog and your cat will come to accept one another and become friends, or at least learn to tolerate each other. Just be sure to monitor their actions before allowing them to be together unsupervised.
- If you are a pet parent to a cat, you’ve likely witnessed her territorial behavior. Believe it or not, the same approach you would follow when introducing a dog to a cat also applies when one cat is meeting another cat. When they get to the point of being able to share a space, set up their environment to encourage security, fun and plenty of territory for both cats. Use cat trees, perches and hideaways to create low, mid-level and high ‘getaways’ so each cat feels he has even more territory and security.
The decision to take on an additional pet is one that should not be made lightly. As you ponder, keep the following in mind:
- Not all pets will get along with newcomers; do your research and assess personalities carefully before bringing home a new furry friend.
- Pets of the opposite sex often accept each other more readily.
- As a pet parent, you must spend one-on-one time with each of your fur babies.
- Pets may fight over food, toys and territory – know how to properly handle such situations.
- Spaying and neutering not only prevent unplanned litters, but can also reduce competitive behaviors.
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About the Owner and Professional Pet Sitting Etc
Dorinne Whynott, is a long time animal professional. She is a successful business owner establishing one of the largest pet sitting companies in New Hampshire since 1990. Click to Read her complete History.
Professional Pet Sitting Etc. is a leading business in the pet care field and continues to grow since 1990. It is an AWARD WINNING business, having been awarded the 2015 Best Pet Sitting , 2015 Best Dog Walker, Business of the Year Awards in 1996, 1997, 2006 and 2010. It boasts 30+ amazing pet sitters on staff, over 3000 clients in 38 cities from Nashua to Concord, NH. Hundreds of satisfied client testimonials can be found on their website and more 5 star reviews on their Facebook page, Google+ page and more. They have sustained an A+ rating with the BBB, A rating with Angie’s List and are unmatched in the Pet Sitting Industry in New Hampshire.
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