Why Can’t Everyone Get Along?
One struggle of being not just a dog person but an animal person is that you sometimes end up with a zoo. You may have several dogs, dogs and cats, a dog and a horse, maybe even a whole farm. This choice of lifestyle is fulfilling, admirable, and–let’s admit it–a bit hectic! You have to keep the cat out of the fishbowl, the dogs away from the cat, the dogs away from each other…Why can’t everybody just get along?
Sometimes, the animals find their own rhythm and manage to magically live in perfect harmony. Other times, they need a little help. Here are a few tips I use during training to help the new animals get along with the old:
- Gradually introduce the animals to each other. Don’t just throw them in a room together and ask them to be best friends. Let them get used to each other’s scent and presence first.
- Make sure each animal is still allowed his/her own space. My “place training” exercise provides each dog with his/her own spot to retreat to whenever they get too active for the owners to handle.
- Don’t be afraid to crate train! Dogs see their crates as dens, which means they feel safe, calm, and secure there rather than trapped. It’s another good way to offer the dogs their own space.
- Don’t show favoritism. Dogs especially are very capable of jealousy and it may start a contest for dominance.
- Be appreciative of tolerance. Your dogs may never be best friends. Your cat may never really get along with your dog, and your gerbil may just never be allowed out around your cat. That’s okay. As long as everyone can co-exist peacefully within the home, it’s a win.
If you’re struggling to find this harmony within your home, give me a call. I only work with dogs, but I can provide a customized in-home training program that will lay out the details of place training, crate training, basic obedience, proper leash handling techniques, and proper bonding between your dog and other pets. I can be reached by telephone at 800.649.7297 or via e-mail.