12. Sibling Rivalry
It’s just not reasonable to expect him to concede the throne just because you bring another dog home.
An only dog tends to think he’s the boss, at least when it concerns the canine members of the family.
He’s certainly not expecting an interloper. And, if one shows up, he expects that interloper to assume his lesser position in the world. The problem comes when you fail to anticipate this very normal reaction.
If you expect your resident dog to be thrilled with the newcomer, you’re going to be woefully unprepared to handle the reality. Here’s what’s going to happen: Fido, who’s been with you for years by now, assumes that all he has to do is show the new kid Bowser how the world works.
Bowser, on the other hand, thinks social position is up for grabs. When that happens, fighting is inevitable. Fortunately, even if you didn’t manage to prevent the problem, there are some things you can do to correct it.
The trick is to make both dogs think that being together is the best thing ever. That means reserving some treats and activities for only those times when you’re all together. As long as everyone is playing nicely and being polite, treats are dispensed, and the fun continues.
The instant anybody nips or growls, all of the fun stops. The food goes away, and so do the toys. You play like a statue and stare into space. Only when your two pups are acting civilized again do you resume the afternoon’s festivities.