Pets are usually social creatures but there are things that humans need to understand about the need for dogs to have an order to the “pack” which includes new pets that you add to your household.
You can successfully socialize your dog to other pets if you understand some basic rules first.
Most dogs would rather chase the new “intruders” away then make friends with them when you first bring a new pet or pets home.
The training (socializing) needs to be in the form of retraining the natural instincts of the dog so that the behavior is more acceptable instead of one of chasing and being inhospitable.
Here are a few tips that will help you to socialize your dog to other pets:
Keep New Pets Safe
Always makes sure that the new pets are safe. Then, make sure that your dog is safe from the new pets incase they have defensive mechanisms like claws or teeth.
Place the New Pet in a Carrier
Place the new pet in a carrier or other sturdy, safe structure so that the dog can sniff and check out the new pet at a safe distance for both the newcomers and the dog.
All the animals need to be able to smell, see and hear each other and get acquainted in this safe way without causing too much stress on anyone.
Humans need to be able to avoid being scratched from a nervous pet too, so be careful of handling any of them, the new pets or your dog. Gloves are useful when trying to avoid scratches.
Have plenty of edible rewards for both the new pets and the dog on hand during the getting acquainted phase of socialization. Reward should also be in praise for your dog and not just treats.
Getting Them Used to Each Other for Longer Periods
It may take a week or two for all of the animals to get used to the presence of the others. Make sure that you do not let them alone until you are 100% sure that all of them are safe.
Bringing the new pet out of the carrier should be done carefully. It is recommended that someone else have the dog on a short leash so that the dog can be controlled while you get the new pet a little more freedom.
Praise the dog for good behavior and monitor very carefully all interactions for the first few weeks. Have the carrier handy for when you are not in the room with the animals and for at night until you are certain that the dog has accepted the new pets.
They should always be brought closer together carefully and slowly and watch the body language of all animals to monitor any fight or flight behavior.
If you notice any signs of being scared or of aggression immediately put the new pet back into the carrier and try again later.
It can take a few hours, days or weeks before the dog is socially accepting of the new pets and the new pets are used to not only the dog, but also the new humans and the new home.
The Need for Patience and Consistent Coaxing
Animals are much like humans in the way that they do not always get along. There will be days when one of them will bug the heck out of the other and you may have to separate them carefully.
Never get in between a fighting dog and another animal. Use a water spray bottle or make a loud noise to distract the animals but never put your body in the middle of an animal fight or try to touch a snarling dog, especially if the dog’s hair is raised.
Some animals will never get along and you may just have to make separate places in your home for them. A little bit of patience and consistent coaxing and most pets and learn to socialize with others.