Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Jeb's Rules

Okay, so I'm a cat, not a pit bull. But I live with pit bulls and other assorted mutts, along with a couple of female feline followers and the occasional foster dog, and we all manage to get along. What is The Secret, you ask?

Here are my Top Three Rules for a Harmonious Household:
1) Training, training, training: Not for me...I'm a cat, remember? I do my part when foster dogs arrive to teach them proper dog-cat relations, but most of the dog training responsiblity falls to our resident human. The Human makes sure that each dog is trained on its own, so that they can bond and so the dog knows how to listen to her. (Dogs may have great hearing, but let me tell you, hearing and listening are two different things!) She doesn't stand around giving them commands all day, but she does reinforce good manners and doesn't allow bad manners like pushy behavior, destroying the house, or (most importantly, if you ask me) chasing the cats.

2) Personal Space: Ever try to share one bedroom, 24-7, with your
whole extended family? Even if you like them, enough is enough. Most of us (kitties and pitties alike) are cuddlers, but that doesn't mean we should live on top of each other. Our house is set up with baby gates so that there are rooms that the canines can't get to, where we cats can go to get a break from dog breath when we need it. This is especially handy for those new dogs that come in who haven't quite read through the Dog-Cat Peace Treaty. There are also crates in the house where some of the dogs go when The Human is not home and at night, or if someone is need of a time-out. Some of my siblings - dogs and cats - like to put themselves in the crates for a bit of cozy peace and quiet. If a dog comes in who is a bit of rabblerouser, The Human has him stay in his own room, at least for awhile, so he doesn't try starting a coup. A little one-on-one time goes a long way, too.

3) Personalities: Even under the best Human-Cat administration, not
all multiple pet households can get along as well as we do. So it's a good idea to know the likes and dislikes of everyone in the house (human, feline, and canine) before adding another pet. We're a laid back bunch, so a neurotic little terrier or a hyperactive hunting dog would upset everyone. If you, the human, have fallen in love with a new dog that your other animals have, well, not, then you need to be realistic about how you'll keep the peace in your new household. It may require a crate and rotate system and lots of extra training time. Also remember that some dogs need more attention and training than others and that's okay. Everyone should get what they need, and you have to spend lots of time with your pack to get to know those specific needs and meet them. Lots of pets = lots of commitment.

Time for me to go - I've got a puppy that needs training and catnip that
needs sniffing. Good Luck, Jeb

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