PETS AND GUIDE PUPPIES
cat and dog fighting

 

 

THE PERFECT FAMILY
by Jane Smoak
Having a happy family takes work; it doesn't just happen. Everyone in the family has to know their place and what is expected of them. It is no different with dogs. When you put dogs and people together with other pets it means you have to think a little bit more about how to make the pieces fall into place. In our attempt to raise a well-adjusted Guide puppy that is ready to learn when he is recalled for training, one should consider how best to help him deal with multiple animals in the household.
    Puppies are born into a "family" of pups plus mom. They begin their life searching out the best places to get food, warmth and sleep. They have to compete with littermates and are soon building an idea of social status within the litter. Mom is there to nurture and put limits on behavior. As they grow, the pups will compete for toys and attention. Naturally, when we receive the puppy he is already familiar with social climbing and is ready to jockey for position with everyone he encounters. His approach to life will depend on his personality: he may be shy and easygoing, assertive and outgoing, or somewhere in between. Puppy raisers need to mold our pups so that they will enjoy humans and tolerate other animals, without either being afraid of them or bothering them.
    If you have pets in your home that have strong, assertive personalities, they will probably tell the pup in animal ways that he needs to leave them alone. This can be pretty scary for a timid pup or a challenge to an assertive one. If you have pets that are tolerant, the puppy may take advantage of them. Either way, you have to teach the pup to leave your pet in peace. Some pets will accept a puppy willingly into a household. That's wonderful, but you will have a "party" on your hands if you are not careful.
    
The pup needs to work on self -control and you need to help make this happen. If you can't supervise free time then the puppy and pets should be separated so that everyone can relax.
    It is best to supervise a puppy very closely whenever it is in a position to interact with a pet. This goes for all pets, not just dogs. The pup must learn that the pet gets the food first while the puppy waits patiently for his turn. The pet gets the first choice on toys, and gets to choose where they want to sleep. Pups should never take a toy away from your pet. A pushy puppy can even make an easygoing pet uncomfortable during relieving time. Make sure your pet has his own space. In short, the pet was there first and deserves the higher social status. The puppy will get the benefit of learning self -control from all of this while the pet gets the social status recognition.  Yes, eventually they will be able to play but it must be relaxed play—not roughhousing like “alligator mouth” or running through the house. Mostly, they should just hang out together.
    A Guide Dog puppy will be spending a great deal of time with you, coming and going, and your pets need to be comfortable with that. If they aren't, they will make it clear by showing signs of stress or negative behaviors to get your attention.
    Active, quality time with your pet will help your pet's energy level to be lower and your pet will be more inclined to be restful around your puppy instead of trying to mix things up. It also helps your pet to know that the bond with you is secure. Try taking daily walks with your pet but without the puppy. Teach your pet new tricks or trying agility training. Don't forget grooming and quiet time.
    Not every family can work with multiple pets. It can take some time to get things up and running. When it works our pets can live together in peace without our having to intervene. There is no such thing as “The Perfect Family” but there is such a thing as a happy one. It's up to you, as the leader of the pack, to make it happen.