, Salem, MA


June 14, 2013

Adopted dog having a tough time with new feline family


Dear Dog Lady,

I have a beagle-basset, age 6, that I rescued from a shelter three years ago. My fiance and I rescued a second dog — medium-size, mixed breed, age 2 — last week. The two dogs are pretty compatible, but my dog, for obvious reasons, has his jealous streaks, particularly at feeding time. We are presently feeding them separately, which for the most part, helps the situation, but if they are anywhere near us at dinner time, my dog gets extremely hyper if he thinks that the other dog might get closer to the table than he. Sometimes, if he thinks he is not getting equal attention, he charges at the new dog and scares the wits out of him. Is there anything we can do to help them get along?

A: If feeding them separately causes these two dogs to get along more harmoniously, you know what to do: Feed them separately. It’s a no-brainer. When a dog moves into another dog’s turf, you must expect dust-ups and rivalry. This is perfectly natural in older dogs, especially shelter dogs. The two of them have been together for only a week, and they’re still working out the pecking order — who’s chief cheese, who’s second banana. Let them juggle status. Don’t worry about whether one of them is jealous of you. It doesn’t matter. Dog jealousy is usually about food and provisions, not emotion. When both dogs are around you, try to treat them equally. Exercise these dogs outside as much as you can.


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