Recently I took a trip down to the local shelter. I highly recommend you take a trip there yourself to get an idea of the reality of the pet situation in your neighborhood. Rows upon rows of dogs, cats, puppies, and kittens all looking for a warm home and loving owners. I had no intention of getting another pet while I was there; I simply wanted to have a look for myself. The last time I went to the shelter, I was too young to remember it, and I thought it would be a good idea to refresh my memory.
I spent a few hours taking some of the dogs out of their kennels and simply playing fetch with them, just to give them a chance to get out for a while. Some people may call it teasing, but I think it is better to give them a little break then no break at all.
The last dog I took out of the kennel that day was Mercedes, a two-year-old German Shepherd Mix. I was astounded by her calm demeanor and her amazing listening skills. She already knew several commands such as sit, stay, and lay down. Of course, seeing such a wonderful dog sitting in a shelter, my heart could not hold back. I had to take her home! The only problem with this was that I have another dog at home, a three-year-old Yorkie named Diesel.
This is probably one of the main concerns that people have when adopting a pet. Will the new pet get along with my current pet? Below are a few tips that I would suggest you read over before you get a friend for your friend at home.
1. Take your current dog down to the dog park, or over to a friend’s house that has other dogs.
The first thing you must realize is that the reaction you receive from your current pet may be different than what you expect. Animals have complex feelings and a lot of this may depend on how they have been raised. Have you had your pet around other pets for extended periods of time? Such as with other relative’s pets or possibly going to the dog park on a consistent basis? If not, your dog could act aggressively around other dogs and be less likely to take kindly to a new dog.
2. Be ready for the territory war.
Another thing to be cautious of is the idea that your current dog may become territorial. This not only means anger and aggression toward the new dog over certain areas of the home or toys, but also the possibility of marking his or her territory by urinating.
The best way to prevent jealousy or “alpha dog complex” is by showing love to all of your pets. When you pet one dog, the other is likely to come over to get some of the attention as well, so this part should be easy. Of course, somewhere down the line, your dogs will have to learn to take turns, but it is imperative to do your best to offer the same attention to both! It is also smart to avoid allowing one dog to do something that the other dog cannot. For example: if you have a little dog that has always been allowed on the couches, and then you get a big dog and do not want him on the couches, you should refrain from letting the smaller dog on the couch as well. Otherwise this can confuse the dogs.
4. Try your best to not leave dogs alone for long periods of time.
Until your dogs become familiar with one another, and you feel confident that they are able to remain calm and civil with one another, do not leave them at home alone. If you have to leave both of your dogs home alone, separate them first. Keep one outside and one in the house, until you return home. This is not something you will have to do forever, but it is smart to do, at first, until you can be sure that they will be civil with one another.
Many shelters will allow you to bring in your current dog to make sure that they get along before you bring the dog home! I would highly suggest doing this to ensure that you are going to have a happy home for everyone involved!
Please always remember there are great pets at the shelter! Many of which have lost their owners for various reasons. My new dog Mercedes was left at the shelter due to the fact that the owner could not afford her anymore. As I said before, she already knows her basic commands and she is actually already house broken. So, before you go looking for your next dog, make sure you are ready for one at home; then, take your current dog with you and head to your local pound or shelter to find an amazing friend!
If you have a story about your dog or cat you adopted from the shelter we would love to hear about it! Please comment below and share your story with us!
Featured Photo Courtesy of spotreporting