How To Prevent Your Pets From Fighting – Many of us don’t like to suddenly bring in an extra relative or friend. So it’s no surprise that pets sometimes feel the same way. Indeed, even a president’s pets are not insusceptible to such relational pressures. Cohabitation issues were highlighted nationwide when bad blood broke between Socks, the cat – an eight-year Clinton White House veteran – and Buddy, a chocolaty Labrador who arrived at the scene in 1997.
The socks hissed and bared his teeth whenever Buddy was there. Buddy responded by barking and pulling on his leash to reach the cat. The feud was bad enough that the Clintons separated the pets as they left the White House, taking Buddy with them to Chappaqua, New York, and placing socks on with Clinton’s secretary, Betty Currie.
But such bitter rivalries are not inevitable, say animal behavior experts. There are a lot of things pet owners can do to make it easier for a newcomer to enter and prevent war from being declared on the living room floor. And there are ways to end the rivalry if it’s already underway.
Tips for ending Feuding
Here are some tips from trainers and animal behavior experts, including the site’s consulting veterinarian, Dr. Nicholas Dodman, a nationally recognized animal behavior specialist and head of the Behavior Clinic at Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine.
It is best to introduce yourself to each other when both are very young. If you plan on having two pets in the household – especially if they’re a cat and a dog – it’s best to introduce them during the so-called sensitive developmental period, says Dodman. Between the first 2-7 weeks for cats and between 3-12 weeks for dogs, “you can introduce wonderful lifelong perceptions of one species towards another species,” he said. The older they are, the more difficult it is to teach peaceful coexistence.
Choose the newcomer carefully. On the off chance that you can choose the type of canine that joins the family last, ensure that it doesn’t have an acquired quality that will consequently conflict with your feline or any smaller animal. Many dogs, like Clinton’s Buddy, a chocolate Labrador, are bred to hunt and catch small animals on the hunt – which is not a good trait for living with your cat.
According to New York City dog trainer Steven Diller, “Even if you have a cat that’s cool with dogs, bring a little dog in there that isn’t overly active and start acclimating them right away. “
“If you pick up the new animal from a shelter, take the pet with you, introduce it and see if it gets along,” says Karyn Garvin, an animal behaviorist in Tucson.
Go slowly when you introduce the two animals. They will need time to trust each other. If, for example, you bring a dog to a house that has housed a cat, you can try placing the new dog in a crate and letting the resident cat inspect and sniff it in due time. When the cat is safe, you can move the crate closer to the cat. If all goes well, try placing the cat’s food in front of the dog’s crate so that he learns that she needs to approach the dog to feed and be able to do so safely.
Look for windows of opportunity,” advises Dodman. Use a halter and obedience controls to teach your dog to lie down and relax before introducing the cat from a distance, with a harness, or in a baby carrier. It might be helpful to attempt the intro in a room they are unfamiliar with “some distance away that they remain calm and seemingly comfortable,” he says. Then reward them for their good behavior.
Again, this is done smoothly, and everything is happening in small steps,” he said, adding that both animals need proper exercise and structure in their lives, a routine of activities that do not revolve around the other animal.
What if nothing seems to be working and they are still fighting like cats and dogs? Garvin says that even though the two animals refuse to mesh perfectly, they can learn to coexist.
It may be that the way for us to live harmoniously is for the cat to have that area of the house, and the dog to be in the other room,” she says. In one dramatic case, when she was called in to settle such a dispute, she had to correct the dog’s behavior with an electronic training collar that delivered a light charge when the animal jumped on the other animal.
Dodman says that the last resort might be to try medication if your vet agrees. There are non-addictive prescriptions that do not interfere with intelligence or learning that can help an animal relearn its behavior towards another without becoming anxious and defensive.
If one of the animals has to leave
But Dodman and Garvin agree that sometimes the only solution is to find a new home for one of the fighters by placing them with another family you trust and who will provide loving care. In that case:
Make the transition gradual. If a relative or family friend is bringing the animal, “ask them to come to spend some time with the animal – or, if it’s a dog, ask them. to take him home for a few hours, ”Dodman said. “Patience is the name of the game.”
Have the potential new owner visit your home and spend time with your pet. “Introduce them and make sure they get along – maybe take day trips,” says Diller.
Let go completely. This may be the most difficult part, but experts advise that after the movement is completed, give the animal time to bond with a new master. According to Diller, “Once he moves to the new environment, I wouldn’t even offer tours, as it just creates confusion