Multi Dog House Hold
Multi Dog HouseHolds
Are there two or more dogs in your family? Are you having to cope with multiple behavioural issues?
Invariably, those who have several dogs may have to deal with existing problems, or they are having problems introducing a new puppy or rescue dog to the gang.
What wehave to remember is that if we sort out the relationship between the dogs andshow them that they are all important as individuals, and try not to put oneabove the other just because it has either been with you longer or is older, we can smooth things out.
We have to,as we do with children and friends, give them their time, their moment and notfeel that because one is getting attention that the other is in some wayneglected. Sometimes you have to buy one child a new pair of shoes and not theother; it doesn’t mean the other child won’t get a pair when his shoes are too small or worn out!
Yes, of course, you can do things with your dogs together, but it is also very important that they see that sometimes it is just time for one. You can also liken it to helping one child with its homework or doing an activity and giving your all to them. There will be no jealousy if you give your time to each and every one of them. They, as with individual dogs, will get all they need andall they want, but in your time and your way.
There maybe a ‘Me, Me, Me’ member in your group of dogs that always seems to get there first whether it be for a cuddle or the ball when playing. Manage the situation and the bully will realise that it can’t wrap you round its paw, and the one who’s in the background will become braver in the knowledge that you, the parent, will make sure all is fair.
When tryingto deal with multiple dogs, the following guidelines will be worth remembering.
Treat your dogs as individuals
This is very important as I’ve explained above. Don’t expect them to get it at the same time … they will in their own time. Each dog will have different issues and these have to be addressed with that individual. The number of times we are called to sort out a problem dog and the actual problem is in the pack.
Dynamics change, and when one dog no longer barks continually at the front door, then the other will take over as there is a job it feels needs filling. They work out their job specifications between them and, when one relinquishes, the other may feel it’s now their job.
With any educational programme, we want the pupil to ask questions so they really understand and we know they understand the lesson. It is how we interpret these questions (many are extremely subtle) and answer these questions that is all important.
Don’t become angered by questions – they are important for learning. Just answer appropriately with no speech, no eye contact. It what we do not say that is all important forgetting the behaviour we desire from our dogs.
Call one, hold the other
We want each dog to learn that it is important in its own right and that it can come for a cuddle or groom without the other pushing it out of the way. You’ll probably find when you call one dog over that they both come; this is fine, but not all the time, especially when you’ve only called one.
By holding the interloper to the side by its collar and saying nothing, it will learn to respect the other dog’s space, your space and, above all, patience. Don’t feel cruel, just remember when you ask one of your younger family members to sit onyour lap, you don’t expect to be crushed by everyone taking the liberty of doing the same! They will all get a piece of you when you decide and in your good time. Individual time and special one-to-one time is important for each and every one of us, including our dogs. It’s not a case of anyone missing out.
You achieve nothing to begin with by trying to achieve walk training with both or all dogs at the same time. It is a game of Follow my Leader and weneed to get the individual lesson right first before we put them together.
When you have greatfollow me individually, then start off together in the house and garden (if you have one), then move out slowly from the home as you did on an individual basis. You’re showing them it is the same together as it is alone.
When you get themtogether initially, it may be a struggle as they will feed off each other. Keep calm and you’ll get there. No rush, it will happen with time, just have patience.
You may well have one dog that always gets the ball so the other never plays with it. No surprise really, as each time it tried to go for a ball the other always got there first. So if this happens time and time again, then play will not be fun, so they don’t bother.
Play separately to begin with; have valuable one-to-one time. Then as play gets very good, you can have the bully on a lead and throw for the other. The effect this will have isto show the bully you’re not putting up with the butting in. Very importantly,it will also show the other dog that you’re the one taking charge of proceedings and enable them to feel a little more assertive.
You may also need to accept that your dogs will have different levels of learning and attention. Be patient – one will respond to different activities and lessons better and quicker than the other. But they will catch up in the end.
There’s no need toworry – they will both learn it all given the time and patience. Nothing worth having is easy.
OCTOBER 21ST, 2015 @ 12:10:40 BST