When two families combine households or when you get a new pet there will always be some interesting interactions between the previous pet and the new one, so here are a few words on what you need to know about pet compatibility and how to make the change easier to cope with for both.
If you have a pet, you already know how to take care of a second one, so it won’t be twice as difficult for you, but for the first pet things might be quite confusing. Nonetheless, each species has its own specific needs and you need to understand these before bringing a new pet into your home.
Start on neutral ground
The first steps to ensure a good interaction between the pets is to have them meet in a neutral location. As you know, most animals are territorial and if you simply bring a new pet into what they consider their ground then they will try to defend it.
If you have dogs then a park is the ideal location for the introduction of the two pets and you should find some activities in which they can play together. If the new pet comes from the shelter you have to bring the current pet to meet and play several times before making sure they are compatible.
If things go well and the two pets seem to be friendly then a home visit will push the limits of their interaction one step further. Prepare the meeting by removing their favorite toys and bowl to minimize the possible territorial disputes and see how things are going.
Even if there are some small incidents the dogs will learn and adapt their behavior according to what they think their owner wants, but give time for these things to happen and don’t make them more nervous than they already are.
If you offer a consistent degree of attention to both pets and don’t put them in situations where they have to compete for your interest or for any other things then they will gradually adapt to the new environment.
The idea of adaptation is quite different when we’re talking of cats or other pets because these animals are much more temperamental. You usually learn very quickly if two cats get along but following the gradual adaptation processes we talked about will help.
Remember that the steps you take only help when there is some compatibility. Just as with human beings, some personalities don’t connect with one another, so, if you see that this is the case with two pets, then you should think of alternative solutions.