It’s never a good idea to assume that all the animals in a household will get along. For whatever reason, nature predicated a deep, instinctual hatred among certain species, and we as humans, should not presume to know differently or try to reverse nature’s rules. We don’t need to force shared eating spaces and time, sleeping arrangements, or opportunities to play. Chances are these events will rarely be peaceful (if at all). The smarter thing to do instead is to adopt a dog that won’t muster up too much trouble in a pet-clad home. Here are some suggestions on how to do just that.
Determine If Your Pet is “Pet-Ready”
First, consider if bringing home another pet will be a good idea. Pets already inside the home regard their surroundings as their territory, and the minute another creature enters that territory, all defensive and predatory senses kick in — warranted or not. It would, therefore, be best to determine how “animal-friendly” your existing pets are prior to bringing in something that could be interpreted as threatening. To see if your pets are friendly enough, introduce them to another animal between a gated fence or crate and watch the reaction. If the result is amicable, introduce them without the barrier. Again, if the result is amicable, your pet could be a good candidate for a live-in buddy.
Think Opposite Sex
Some breeds get along better with their opposite genders. Same-sex dogs don’t get along as well as opposite-sex dogs do. And that’s not too surprising if you think about it. A new male pet could already have an aggressive disposition and a clear distaste for serving a submissive role. But a male pet already living in a household may have no intention of losing his existing dominance to “the new guy.” When these types of dogs are suddenly introduced to each other, the end result is a very competitive pair of dogs – with each trying to establish an alpha-role of some sort. Note that this behavior dissipates after neutering.
Adopt a Dog On the Far Side of the Age Spectrum
Older dogs are seemingly more tolerant of puppies than dogs that are around the same age. You have to be careful to bring home an even-tempered puppy though. A puppy that’s too aggressive or energetic may not respect an older dog’s boundaries. A puppy that’s too submissive may give the older dog the impression that it’s ill. To make a canine relationship work, the puppy must be playful enough to welcome affection from the older dog, but not so rambunctious that it constantly invites disciplinary barks and nips.
Adopting an older dog, on the other hand, requires additional cautions since some dogs simply won’t tolerate living with another pet. An older Pitt Bull is an example canine that’s just too dominant for this situation. To ensure a peaceful match, introduce your existing dog with the one that you want to adopt at your local shelter. A lot of shelters provide the space and opportunities for dogs to acquaint themselves because they know the risks of not doing so first.
Dogs and Cats
Could there be a more potentially frightening match? We don’t think so. The dog-cat relationship is exemplary of the deep, instinctual hatred we mentioned earlier (despite the few and far exceptions to the rule). Pit bulls, terriers, greyhounds, and gun dogs contribute to the worst dog-cat relationships, while other dogs are much more tolerant (especially if they’ve grown up with cats). But don’t expect a loving relationship with the two. In most scenarios, the pair will learn to steer clear of each other more than likely, at the cat’s request.
Consider the old’ Snip Snip
As mentioned earlier, dogs are less aggressive after being spayed or neutered. This procedure will lessen hostility within a pair or group of male dogs, female dogs, different-aged dogs, and of course, dogs living with animals of a different species (including you!).