[Skip to Content]
Latest Blogs

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 and  show them that they are all important as individuals, and try not to put one  above 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 not   feel 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 the  other; 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 because they are!

This is very important as I’ve explained above. Don’t expect them to get our wants at the same time … they will in  their own time and you will have to adapt your "training" to the individual. Each dog will have different issues, personalities, thoughts, wants and needs. Its all about the  individual. The number of times we are called to sort out a  problem dog and the actual problem is in the family dynamics.

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  program, 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  (questions come in what your dog does) – they are important for learning. Just answer appropriately with  no speech, no eye contact but be proactive in what you do. It's always what we do not say that is all important for achieving the desirable  behaviour we wish from our dogs for them to fit into our ever changing fast confusing world. Giving them space to work things out and decide for them selves with another dog action that fits in better and achieves their goals.

I prefer to educate dogs with guidance. For them to chose a different action rather than micro manage a human made action. I love dogs to express their feelings, its a need for all living beings to do so. So to disregard a dogs behaviour and put it into a robotic sit command is defeating the object and ignoring their calls to be heard. 

Educate your dogs in the art of self control with you and any other living being. That is the only way for your dog to really be a dog. Micromanaging and controlling  his world is stifling for him and crushes his individuality and personality, as much as it would be if you controlled your children or other adults around you.   

Help them flourish as individuals within your family and show them that working together  is rewarding but also recognizing that each has their own individual needs, likes and dislikes. 

 

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 and self control. 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.

 

Separate  "training" ( Training for me is about human control such as heel on a lead)

Training isn't my thing. I wish to achieve a trusting, understanding relationship between me and my dogs and when I use the word training it narks me slightly. Walking to heel is natural, a puppy wants to be with you and does follow beautifully in the home. You pop a lead on and you've taught them to pull in seconds. Treat this education as a game and for the focus to be on you until you are in an appropriate place to sniff and play when they can be given more space to do their thing. Playing with you is so important to be engaging so that they don't disappear off totally into their own thoughts and recall then becomes impossible.

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.

Free run is great and also if you have an other dog who's great on the lead then crack on as they will instill calm into your exuberant teenager hopefully. Nothing like having a well balanced dog to teach another life skills. 

 

Separate  game-playing

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.



POSTED BY: CAROLINE SPENCER
OCTOBER 21ST, 2015 @ 12:10:40 BST

 
 


Leave Comment

 
 
  O I G H R A