Jealousy with new family members

And just who might you be, then?

A jealous dog can be quite amusing – like when it fawns its way to the foreground, keeps prodding or whines. But through time, its defiant behaviour becomes irritating, if not downright dangerous. Just why dogs suffer relationship stress and how their owners can prevent this, is answered by the experts from Maxi Zoo.

Dogs are social animals. As such, they live with a pecking order which for them is set in stone once it has been clearly defined or fought over. Should a new member of the pack come along, be it the mistress’s new partner, a baby or another house pet, a competitive struggle might possibly kick off. Who assumes what position in the hierarchy? If that’s been resolved and each member of the pack sticks to it, then what we humans call jealousy doesn’t crop up.

When a new partner arrives

As your four-legged friend’s social partner, you occupy a very important position for it. Nonetheless, you should never look upon an animal as a substitute for a partner nor put them at the centre of your life. That will cause trouble as soon as the dog suddenly has to share your time and attention with a new partner. It must be made clear to the animal that it always ranks below the human, regardless of whether it’s one or two. Combine something positive for your dog with the new partner by going for a walk together where your partner comes too or by playing together with it. This way, your canine companion will learn that something nice and exciting is going to happen as soon as your partner enters the field.

When a baby arrives

The same applies here, a distinct ranking should already exist before the family expands. The baby’s room or nursery should already have become an exclusion zone for the dog weeks before the birth. This way it won’t associate the ban with the baby. If the baby’s at home, please don’t keep your pet away from it! That can fuel the fire of competition. It should be noticeable to the dog that neither itself nor its rank is being threatened. Just let your canine friend take part in the family life. When he or she is near the baby, you can encourage some positive bonding by praising and rewarding them.

When another house pet arrives

If it’s another dog, the two of them will establish a pecking order between themselves. What’s important is that you recognise this pecking order and that you don’t go against it in the presence of the other dog. A keen sense is called for here. Sometimes it helps to let the dogs get to know each other on neutral ground outside their territory. If a cat is being added to the family, you can move in its personal chattels in advance for some sniffing. Once the feline family member has arrived, give your dog the same attention as before. The acquiring of rabbits, guinea pigs, birds and other small animals should be well thought through when you have a dog at home. Its mere presence stresses them out. You should only let them meet briefly under supervision, if at all. Give your pets time to get used to each other gradually.

And, particularly where babies and new animal incomers are concerned, never leave them alone unsupervised with your dog! Should your dog display on-going aggressive, disruptive behaviour then we recommend therapy or at least clarification of the causes with the vet.

Call into your local store today to discuss your dog’s personal needs with our Maxi Zoo Pet Experts.

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