Written by Leon Chow
One of the main worries that stops a family from accepting a new adopted dog into their home is their current dog. There is concern about how the dogs will interact with one another and if they might attack each other. However, this should not put a stop to all ideas of having another dog.
When a new dog gets brought into the home, many owners immediately throw the two dogs together without caution. While there is the possibility of the dogs getting along, every dog is different, and it is impossible to know for certain. If the dogs do not get along, this could be very bad for all involved. When this happens, the new dog is almost always given up and must find a different home. With all the homeless dogs in the world already, this needs to be reduced.
Luckily, there is a way for dogs to become adjusted to each other and the space without the potential for harm. It is known as the Crate and Rotate method. Crate and Rotate is a technique that many dog caretakers have used to prevent fights between dogs. While one dog is chilling in their crate or other confined space, the other is free to move about the home. Then, they switch. This method keeps the dogs separated to avoid any altercations and still allows for both dogs to have play time in their home.
Although it may seem inconsiderate and mean to keep a dog locked in their crate, it is not a punishment in this method and instead, keeps the dog safe. It also allows the dog to decompress and have some time to relax in their den. Giving toys or chewing items to the dog while in the crate helps as well to keep the dog content.
In conjunction with using the Crate and Rotate method, the dogs can separately be taught by a dog trainer to behave better, in general and with the other dog living in their home. With time and training, most dogs can learn to get along with, or at least tolerate, each other. It is important to be informed and cautious to ensure that no dog is harmed, however.
Additionally, pack walking, where dogs walk together, can also be useful to encourage dogs to get along with each other. A lot of confrontations between dogs come from head-to-head contact that triggers a dog’s flight, fight, or freeze response. This frightful encounter is avoided when dogs are instead side-by-side. The structuredness of pack walks allows socialization between dogs without negative contact that can lead to problem behaviors.
Pack walks inherently create a bond between dogs, which stems from their ancestor wolves traveling together in packs to create safety. There is a sense of solidarity with dogs that walk together and that forms more positive relationships.
During pack walks, dogs also get some much-needed exercise that is key to their health and happiness. Many problems with a dog are simply because they have not been exercised enough. Since the dog is expending energy, there is also less energy to be put into negative reactions to other dogs.
There are also many other things that can be done to assist the getting along of pets sharing a home. Everyone – humans, dogs, other animals – is unique and different from one another so it is important to remember that what works for some may not work for all. Finding a trainer to look at a particular situation can be extremely beneficial. Even with challenges, remember that bringing another dog into the family brings more love.