Dear Miss Behavin’: We have a lab named Rudy who we’ve had for years, and recently adopted another lab named Sandy. They get along for the most part, but Rudy gets so jealous when we pay attention to Sandy! How do we reassure him that we still love him just as much as when he was an only child?

Luckily, this is not uncommon! If Rudy has been an only child for most of his life, it is only natural that he would have a difficult time learning to share all of his resources (space, toys, beds, attention) with a newcomer. It takes dogs time to adjust to change, so be patient as he gets used to his new sister.

To help Rudy feel more secure, you’ll want to reassure him that his resources are not limited, and do your best to stick to his usual routine. If he had daily playtime with you before Sandy came along, make sure he still gets some one-on-one time with you each day– whether it’s a walk around the block or some fetch in the yard while Sandy hangs out inside. Continuing to spend time with you where Sandy is not present will help him understand that he doesn’t always have to share everything. If he gets jealous of her toys or her bed, buy a few more toys and another bed or two so there is plenty of everything good to go around.

These steps will ensure that your bond with Rudy stays the same. To help him build a bond with Sandy, make sure you are doing fun activities they can both enjoy together. If they don’t like to play together, going for walks is a more relaxed way of helping them get comfortable with each other.

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