Moving in Together with Pets

by
April 30, 2014
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If you and your partner have moved in together or are planning to merge your households, first off, congrats! Secondly, if you have pets be aware that there is an adjustment period that your pets will go through. Aside from slightly new routines and things that they will sniff and get used to having around, your pets will also need to adjust to the new person and (if they have pet), the new pet. Even if they were buddies with your partner’s pet for a while, living together can be a different thing and take some time to bond or bond under the same roof.

Maybe your cat has now lost her bed to the new cat. Maybe your dog no longer can sleep on the bed right next to you and now is at the foot of the bed. Pets need to get comfortable with new people and animals in the house.

5 Tips To Help Pets Adjust To Partners

  1. Pets need to know the boundaries that may have changed. Can your dog sleep on the bed? Can your cat sit on the sofa in that “one” spot? Why are there two litter boxes? The changes may seem abrupt to them, be patient and praise and reward when your pet readjusts to new water bowls, doesn’t eat the other pet’s food, and try to keep other things consistent like walk times, familiar toys, and other creature comforts.
  2. Go slow. It can take days, weeks, months for your pet to fully adjust. Remind your partner that the pets may be confused and some habits may be hard to break for the pets in the house. As much as you can, slowly introduce new things to your pet such as routine changes. Make time to still one on one bonding time. Your pet’s confusion can show itself negatively. Take a minute and a deep breath and realize your pet could be confused and needs reassurance and time.
  3. Encourage good social behavior. If your pet and your partner aren’t instant best friends don’t be afraid to use your pet’s stomach to reach her heart. Have your partner feed your pet some meals and provide treats and rewards. Reward your pet for sniffing, approaching, and investigating things that belong to your partner. If they have been friends for a while, have one of the walks be done by your partner.
  4. Don’t punish. Some pets just need time. Tension can be high. Forcing or showing your frustration towards your pet for not bonding with your partner can cause problems. Breathe. It’ll be ok.
  5. If your pet is showing stress and tension, talk to a behaviorist to figure out what the best route will be to help your pet understand that your partner is not a threat, things are still ok, and the pack has expanded. A behaviorist who can come by your house and observe the household can offer some of the best tips and tricks once they get to see what’s going on.

Good luck! Have any stories to share? Let us know.

Image from Petfinder

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