So, you brought home a new cat or dog, and to your surprise, they just aren’t compatible with your current cat or dog. Or maybe suddenly your current pets are no longer getting along. This is a common frustration for a lot of pet owners, but there are things you can try when your pets aren’t getting along.
One of the most common reasons for two pets not getting along is territory. Some animals are a lot more dominant than others, and if you have two dominant animals you might find a lot of fights over territory. This is true for cats versus cats, cats versus dogs, and dogs versus dogs. The very first thing you want to make sure of is that your pet is fixed. Spayed or neutered animals become a lot less territorial. The second thing you want to be sure of is that either animal is not experiencing a psychological problem. Just like us, pets can experience stress and other psychological issues. If you suspect your pet might be experiencing a psychological problem, it’s usually best to see your veterinarian.
If you’re having a problem with introducing a new animal to an animal already owned, you need to try gradually introducing them instead of forcing them to be in the same area together. Separate everything from sleeping spaces, to food bowls, litter boxes, and anything else they might share. If you crate your dogs, make sure they have separate crates. Also, be sure not to be partial to one and not the other. For example, if your animal is used to sleeping in your bed or the new animal wants to sleep in your bed, you’ll need to not let them until the introduction is complete. Sleeping in the bed is a sort of territorial thing, and if one is sleeping in the bed and the other is not, then one animal is getting dominance over the other. You want to be sure one animal is not asserting dominance over the other.
After a while, usually a week or two, gradually start moving their things closer together and see how they react. If they are okay, keep moving their things closer and closer until eventually they’re in the same area as each other. If the animals show any resistance to being closer, just move the stuff back to the area it was before and keep trying again until they’re finally comfortable. Another thing you want to do is give them incentives for every time they are getting along with each other and be sure the treats are given to them while they are close to each other. This will reinforce that them being close is a behavior that you expect from them.
If suddenly two of your animals aren’t getting along when they usually do, you would need to do a reintroduction. This is the exact same steps as above. Sometimes our pets get just a little too territorial and we need to remind them that they aren’t the only pet in the house. However, a lot of times when this happens, it could very well be a health issue. If reintroduction absolutely doesn’t work or your pet is showing abnormal behavioral signs, take them to the veterinarian.
Never strike a pet for not getting along with another pet. This will only make matters worse and stress the pet out even more. Incentives such as treats, walks together, or anything else positive is the best reinforcement. If your pets start physically fighting, get a water bottle and spray each of them once or twice. Never try to separate them yourself because your pet may accidentally strike at you. I hope these tips help and I hope your fur babies start getting along soon!