Awkward Alert! New Love Meets Old Love

I know you’re familiar with that moment, the moment when his deep brown eyes meet your already smitten smile. At first you think soul mates, but soon realize it’s much more. Your eyes lock and it dawns on you that there’s no turning back. He’s the one.

Things start to move at an unpredictably fast pace. Next thing you know, he’s moving in. You pull into the driveway of your condo and announce with excitement, “We’re home!”

The first few days are undoubtedly an adjustment. Helga, your brute Doberman Pincher, is not happy about having a new housemate. She marked her territory several times, ripped the fabric from the couch and emptied every trash can in sight.

You are becoming unhinged when you hear growling coming from an upstairs bedroom.  Helga has your new love pinned up against the wall! You’re flabbergasted! Where did you go wrong? What could you have done differently? You were certain that Helga would love your new addition: Fluffy, the sweet little Bichon.

When adding a new pet to the home, it is important to plan ahead. Dogs are territorial creatures that instinctively want to protect their owner and their habitation. When a new pet comes home, the resident dog may not react well to the unfamiliar situation. Here are a few simple tips to help with this sometimes-awkward circumstance.

Do not make your pooch feel less important. Dogs can sense favoritism. It is best to keep attention evenly distributed. This could be hard at first, but soon becomes second nature. Learning to appreciate each pet individually is an important element to any multiple pet dwelling.

Do gradually ease both pets into the sticky situation. The new pet should be comfortable with their strange surroundings before introducing them to the other animal. Keep the resident dog away from the premises until the new animal seems comfortable. Then slowly allow the resident dog to become comfortable with the fact that another dog is present. Let them sniff around and feel at ease with the situation. Now it is time for the two of them to come face-to-face.

Do not let the new pet and the old pet spar. It would be fantastic if all dogs instantly started playing with one another, barking together and napping side-by-side, but this is commonly not the case. If the resident dog feels their territory is being taken over, they may react in an aggressive manner. Don’t leave the animals alone until there is no threat of violence.

Do prepare a solo space for the new dog to lodge. Forcing a kinship between the dogs is a great way to start a feud. Have separate spaces planned for both animals until they are emotionally ready. It will become clear when and if the two animals are ready to snooze jointly. In the meantime, both have a safe, calm place to go – important to a dog who is feeling nervous, threatened or otherwise unsure.

Do not forget to have fun and let things fall as they may. Adding another dog can be a stressful situation, but it can also be the best thing since sliced bread. The old dog will more-than-likely learn to love their new roommate. The dogs will, in time, become protective of each other. Don’t worry too much. If they still hate one another after a few months, they’ll just have to get over it, now won’t they?

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