Pet Column: Tips for multiple pet families

Tippy, Mongo Moo Moo, and Dash all preform a “sit” before being given a treat. Photo by Elle Williams.

By Elle Williams  
Pet Columnist, Canyon Lake Insider 

Having one pet is great, so why not get another? Having multiple pets can enrich both the lives of humans and the life of their current pets. Multiple pets can also cause conflicts. Here are some tips to make sure things go as smoothly as possible:

1. Have two dogs? Buy three of each toy, bowl, bed, or anything your dogs find valuable. This can help avoid possession aggression and resource guarding. When resources are abundant, dogs and cats feel more secure.

2. Have a cat and a dog? Make sure your cat has vertical spaces to get up and away from the dog in case your cat needs a break.

3. When teaching your dog new tricks, leave one in a crate or room with an activity. This way, you will have the dog’s full focus.

4. When teaching loose leash walking or if you’re working on-leash reactivity, make sure to walk one dog at a time. 

5. Getting two cats from the same little is a good idea. Getting two dogs from the same litter often results in littermate syndrome, a term coined by dog behaviorists. Littermate syndrome symptoms include fear of strangers (people and dogs), fear of unfamiliar stimuli, high level of anxiety when separated even for a short time, reactivity, and redirected aggression.

6. When introducing a new dog, make sure to let your current dog meet them on neutral territory such as a public park.

Elle Williams is a local in-home dog trainer and the owner of Give a Sit Dog Training. She is certified in dog psychology, nutrition, and grooming, and specializes in basic and advanced obedience, puppy prep, and behavior adjustment training.


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