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Unlike Oscar and Felix, two human roommates who are extreme opposites of each other and get on each other’s nerves, there are some dogs and cats that can live together in perfect harmony.
There are many homes where canines co-exist with cats, pigs, birds, sheep, guinea pigs, and other critters. Although the latter is uncommon when it comes to canines, it is wonderful to watch dogs bond with other creatures.
If you decide to bring another pet into your home, here are few tips that will help you introduce your cat, guinea pig, rabbit or other critters to your furry canine.
Adopting a Cat
If you want to bring a kitten or grown cat into your home, make sure your home is large enough for both pets to live in. Giving both animals room is necessary so they both can have their own space. It is recommended that you introduce your cat to your dog slowly. This means you should keep them in separate quarters or sections of the room where they can both feel safe.
Gradually, as you introduce your cat to your dog, let them sniff each other so they can get used to each other’s scents. Sometimes, cats adjust right away. This is more likely with kittens because they are playful and tend to bond easier. However, if your kitten or adult cat become scared, you’ll have to be patient because your cat knows your pooch has been the ruler of his or her new home.
The most important rule to remember when you bring a feline into a home with a dog is to show both of your pets equal love. Dogs will sense favoritism just like human children who recognize when a parent chooses between one kid over the other.
This means that when your dog and cat get along, you should praise them both for being good. In the same token, you should praise your cat if he acts friendly to your pup and vice versa. If either one gets aggressive toward the other, separate them immediately.
Reprimanding your pets is not a good idea because you’ll set a negative tone for them both. Instead, correct the behavior by retraining your dog and reintroducing him to your cat and awarding them both when they start to get along.
Adopting a Guinea Pig
Guinea pigs are very sensitive creatures and can get traumatized if you don’t introduce them slowly to your dog. You must gradually build a bond with them and your pooch by making sure your pooch does not bark at them. Little introductions work best. Guinea pigs tend to squeak loud when scared and can also die of fright.
Harley was eight weeks old when she was adopted. My two guinea pigs had been with me for over a year and had their eating routine down. When my dog came home, she fell in love with my guinea pigs and showered them with kisses. This was a bit of a shocker to both piggies at first so I had to slowly take them out each day, introduce them to Harley, and let them sniff each other. It took the guinea pigs a couple of days to accept their new spunky and happy sister.
During feeding time, Harley would sit next to the cage, grab a piece of hay and pretend to eat it. And even though she hated it, she was determined to be like them. I had two little piggies enjoying their meal and a spunky puppy making faces as she chewed and spit out the hay. What a sight that was!
Adopting a Rabbit
Rabbits, like cats and guinea pigs, have diverse personalities. Before you bring a rabbit home, make sure his personality will match that of your dog’s. Introducing your rabbit to your dog follows the same principles as that of a cat or guinea pig.
Rabbits that have a friendly disposition will bond faster with your dog. When it comes to smaller creatures, female dogs seem to bond faster. This is due to their motherly instinct. However, just like any other animal you introduce to your dog, make sure you supervise them when they are alone with each other. Once they bond with each other, your cat and rabbit will share their space.
Animal-Friendly Dog Breeds
There are some dog breeds that are easily adaptable to other creatures. These dogs love to mingle and mix well with other dogs, cats, and critters. According to Animal Planet, some of these breeds are:
- Golden Retrievers
- Bernese Moutain Dogs
- Labrador Retrievers
- Irish Setters
These breeds train quickly, adjust to changes and bond with other animals.
Perhaps the most popular group is the herding group because these dogs are energetic, brilliant, and have the capacity to control livestock. Herding dogs are loyal to the core and will protect their herd from harm. Collies, Shetland Sheepdogs, Cardigan Welsh Corgis, and Belgian Malinois are among the most loyal herding canines.
Another reason herding dogs are extremely special is the bond they make with their flock of stock and human family. One of the most heartwarming news stories in 2017 was about a herding Pyrenees named Odin who stayed behind with his family’s goats during the Sonoma County fires in California.
When the fires started to consume Odin’s home, Odin’s master could not get Odin to get in the car and was forced to escape the fires without him. Odin refused to leave the goats he herded and wanted to shield them. After the fire was put down, the family returned to find Odin encircled by the eight family goats and baby deer who had gathered around him for protection.
Odin’s story is one of the most affectionate, moving and loving examples of dogs and their bond with other animals. Humans can learn wonders from canines and the love they share with other species.
As the Pack Leader you should be able to direct the energy of your animals, so no matter what species you choose your whole household will always remain balanced and peaceful.
With so many options of loving animals to adopt, adding a new member to the family is easy once you follow protocol. However, you must keep in mind that there is no guarantee that your new family member will bond with your dog right away. Time and equal space for both pets seem to be the only secret.
If your furry pooch has a loving personality, then the probability your dog will make a connection with his new brother/sister is high. Remember that even though your pooch may be excited to have a feline sibling, cats get turned off with too much love at once. Also, remember to prepare your canine with training before your new family member arrives.
A few years back, one of my neighbors had a big, puffy grey cat. Every time we passed by my neighbor’s apartment, Harley would wag her tail, and try to get close to play and give the cat kisses. The cat stared from afar, but each time we walked by it moved closer.
A few months later, I was surprised when we reached my neighbor’s apartment and the cat was now at the door. He waited. Harley got close to him and the cat allowed her to sniff him. Suddenly, the cat planted a huge wet kiss on her nose! Needless to say, the cat had finally warmed up to my puffball. The potential for animal friendship has no limits!