How to make two dogs get along?

Those of us who love dogs often fantasize about the idea of ​​expanding the canine family and being able to give a home to more dogs in need. However, it is important that you know how to make two dogs get along, because there are times when there are conflicts between two dogs that share the same territory and the wrong or excessive reaction of the guardians can aggravate the situation, leading to fights.

It is also important to take into account that these coexistence problems are not only due to territoriality, which is instinctive in all dogs, but are also related to the lifestyle to which a dog has become accustomed and its level of sociability. , which depends as much on your genetic inheritance and personality as on the education you have received and the experiences you have lived.

For all these reasons, you should be aware that it will be your responsibility to prepare your home to receive a new dog and create optimal conditions for your good old best friend to feel comfortable with the arrival of this new member of the family.

How to make two dogs get along

What to do when two dogs get along badly?

Unfortunately, it is impossible to eliminate the risk that our dog will not get along, at least at first, with the new dog that we have introduced into his space and routine. It is natural that dogs want to protect their territory and the resources found there to ensure their well-being, and the introduction of a second dog at home means a great change in their day to day and implies the need to share not only the physical space and material resources, but also the attention of their human companions.

So, it is very likely that at first your best friend will have some difficulty accepting his new partner, and may even reject any type of interaction. If this happens, the first thing you should know is that it is essential to act calmly and fairly objectively , because if you are predisposed to reacting aggressively or uncontrollably, you will only increase the level of stress and tension implicit in a conflict situation, and this can to cause a feud between two dogs to evolve into a direct dispute or fight.

Remember that violence only breeds more violence! So, forget about the yelling and the punishments , and focus on defusing the situation. Here are some helpful tips if your dogs don’t get along:

  • Never force two dogs to interact . To make two dogs get along, the interactions between them must always be spontaneous and, for the result to be positive, the environment must also be. If you force them to interact against their will and share a space that was previously exclusive to one of them, the result will likely be negative.
  • Don’t scold them . If you have to signal to one or both dogs that they are misbehaving, a firm «No!» it is enough to tell a dog that it is carrying out an inappropriate behavior, as well as divert attention towards something positive to guide the behavior (as we will see in the next point). Do not go overboard with scolding or use any form of physical punishment as this can make the dog feel confused or threatened, causing it to adopt a defensive or offensive posture to protect or defend itself.
  • Diverts the focus of attention in case of conflicts . If you sense that two dogs are about to get into a conflict over a certain object (for example, a toy), try to divert their attention to something else that interests them (a treat, another toy, etc.).
  • Pass them together . You can propose a walk so that the dogs stop concentrating on the dispute over a certain resource and benefit from neutral ground (both will know how to recognize that the street is a common territory shared with other individuals, so there is less risk of disputes between them). In almost all cases, the walk is a positive and desired moment, so to get two dogs to get along it is advisable to walk them at the same time. In this way, they will relate to that stimulus that is so good for them.
  • Separate them for a while . In case the conflicts are permanent at home, a good strategy may be that the dogs live in separate houses for a while and that you encourage the first interactions in a neutral environment (in a park or square, for example). If you have someone you trust who can house your new dog for a few weeks (without conflicting with their own dogs or other pets), this could be an option to calm things down and give them a chance to get to know each other little by little. bit.
  • value castration. If you’ve adopted two male dogs who don’t get along, keep in mind that sexual and territorial instincts can make living together with two non-neutered male dogs particularly difficult, especially after reaching puberty, when significant hormonal changes occur. and behaviors associated with sexual desire, territory protection and competition for available females are intensified. Likewise, coexistence between entire females can become really complicated for the same reasons. In these cases, and even when there is no female or male nearby, a male or female dog may see another male or female as a rival with whom she has to compete for her resources. So, to avoid fights and favor a peaceful coexistence, It is recommended to carry out the castration of dogs and bitches that share the same home, since this procedure, in addition to preventing diseases, can have a positive impact on the behavior of the dog, reducing or even eliminating behaviors related to sexual mounting, escapism or marking. And regardless of whether or not you decide to neuter your dogs, 
  • Seek the help of a professional. When two dogs get along very badly, if both or one of them has serious difficulties to interact with other individuals or shows signs of aggression, it is highly recommended to consult an expert in canine ethology to try to identify the cause of this behavior problem and establish management guidelines compatible with the requirements of each dog.

Finally, if two dogs that don’t get along come to fight inside the home, here we explain how to act in the event of fights between dogs that live together .

Why do my dogs get along?

We have seen the measures that we must adopt when two dogs get along badly, however, if what we want is to improve the relationship between the two to avoid conflicts, it is essential to understand the reason for this situation. Therefore, the first question you should ask yourself is: «why do my dogs fight» or «how do two dogs come to hate each other». Although in the previous section we have commented on some of the reasons, let’s get to know them all in more detail:

  • Lack of socialization . Exposing dogs to different stimuli from when they are puppies allows them to learn to relate positively to them. This includes other dogs, people, and animals. For this reason, a dog that has not been properly socialized can reject the arrival of a new canine companion at home, making living together a real nightmare.
  • Incorrect presentation . Even if the dog has received a correct socialization, the intrusion of an unknown dog in his territory can be seen as something negative if an adequate introduction between them is not carried out. If he hasn’t been socialized, a bad introduction will make the situation even worse.
  • competition . As we have commented in the previous section, when dogs of the same sex that have not been sterilized live together, they can compete with each other for the availability of males or females, for resources, etc. In these cases, as we have said, it is advisable to evaluate the castration of both dogs, as well as to guarantee that each one enjoys its own resources (bed, toys…).
  • Age difference . Sometimes, when a puppy is adopted and an elderly dog ​​lives in the home, the older dog may not tolerate the newcomer’s energy, so he prefers not to interact with him and may even try to distance himself by growling or barking. In these cases, if the older one doesn’t hurt the younger one, we don’t have to intervene.
  • Mishandling on your part . Do you treat both dogs equally or are you more strict with one of them? If you now pay more attention to the newcomer and ignore the dog that already lived in the home, it is normal for him to associate the new one in a negative way and reject him. It is very important that you remain impartial and give the same attention to both dogs.
How to make two dogs get along?  - Why do my dogs get along badly?

How to make two dogs that hate each other get along?

Now that we know the different causes that cause two dogs to get along badly, we must identify the one that leads our dogs to hate each other to the point of fighting in order to treat it. At this point, we can anticipate that, in most cases, such a conflictive relationship between two dogs is due to poor socialization and an inadequate introduction process. Therefore, we will mainly focus on these cases:

The importance of socializing dogs

Let’s follow the natural order of things and focus on things first, which in this case is dog socialization . If we want to make two dogs get along, first of all we must make sure that each of them has had the opportunity to come into contact with a variety of stimuli and individuals to assimilate a good number of resources that will allow them to manage their own emotions. and deal with a series of unexpected or unknown situations that you will be exposed to throughout your life.

This is only possible when a dog is socialized correctly, especially during the first weeks of its life, when the socialization period occurs during which puppies learn to recognize friendly species. Likewise, it is possible and very necessary to socialize adult dogs , especially if we want them to share their home with other individuals, because a dog that has not been socialized may have interaction problems with other dogs, even in common spaces (for example , during their walks).

A correct presentation

Now let’s move on to the second key measure to make two dogs get along, which is to introduce them correctly from the beginning. Keep in mind that the sudden invasion of a space that the dog considers its own can be a trigger for conflict, especially if it occurs by an unknown dog or with which it does not have a good previous relationship. So, the best strategy to avoid dog fights or conflicts is to pre-introduce the dogs on leashes in neutral territory , such as a park or square, during their daily walks.

Once the dogs have been able to greet and sniff each other, it is best to take a walk together so that they can get to know each other better and relax. At the end of the walk, they will go home together and, as a precaution, the guest dog will go in first and be given the opportunity to explore the space without the other animal present. Only when we see that both feel comfortable, we can let them go and let them interact freely with each other. These first steps can be repeated several times over several days until we notice that the two dogs seem to interact spontaneously and harmoniously in this common space, which is the home they will share from now on.

However, if when the time comes you still feel unsure about the reaction they may have, a simple solution would be to install an auxiliary fence or gate in your house that acts as a physical barrier between the animals, but allows them to see and smell each other without trouble getting used to each other. This is a way to impose a certain safety distance during their first days of living together at home without resorting to confinement, since this is a method that is not recommended due to its counterproductive effects on the behavior of dogs.

How to bring together two dogs that don’t get along?

We already talked about the first two and most fundamental steps, which are: working on the socialization of each of the dogs and presenting them correctly in a neutral environment until they have gotten used to each other’s presence and can begin to share the same home. When this moment arrives, it will be key that you have prepared your house so that the dogs do not have to fight for the space and available resources. This means that each of them must have their own resources , that is, their own bed, their own feeders and drinkers, and their own toys, which they will eventually be able to share, but always based on a legitimate will and not a lack of resources.

Also make sure to provide them with an enriched environment where they both have a chance to exercise, expend energy, and entertain themselves when left alone. And when you are at home, try to introduce them to intelligence games and activities that they can enjoy together, always remembering to distribute your attention and caresses equally between the two dogs to avoid jealous or possessive behavior that will cause conflict. Having said all this, when it comes to bringing together two dogs that don’t get along, keep in mind the following steps:

  1. Carry out the presentation as we have explained in the previous section.
  2. Bring them together inside the house only when you see that there is no danger and the older dog spontaneously allows the new one to enter.
  3. In case you have fixed a fence, make a first approach when you have observed that you have been smelling each other for days without growling and without showing signs of threat.
  4. Use positive reinforcement at all times with both dogs to get them to associate with stimuli that are good for them.

Last but not least, do not neglect the education of your dogs because it is your responsibility as a tutor to teach them the behaviors that will promote a good coexistence. All dogs should learn at least basic obedience commands and the best way to keep them motivated during training is to use positive reinforcement to recognize their efforts and encourage learning.

In addition, to make two dogs get along sharing the same home, it is important that you teach the new member of the family to respect the space and possessions of the other dog. And if you have difficulties in this process, be sure to take a look at the following article: » My dog ​​does not listen to me, what should I do?»

How to make two dogs get along?  - How to bring together two dogs that don't get along?
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