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.
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:
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 .
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:
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:
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).
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.
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:
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?»
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