Top 5 Tips For Owners With More Than One Dog
By Guest Author James Wittering
James writes for the Dooup pooper scoop guys about dog behaviour and training issues. When he isn’t writing about dogs he’s usually out with his boys and his outrageously naughty Boxer, Indiana Bones.
Sometimes having one dog can be stressful enough and then when you have more than one…well you can sometimes feel like pulling your hair out. However, if you are a responsible dog owner, or at least trying to be, you will know that dealing with dogs is a lot easier once you learn what motivates them and what they need on a daily basis.
If you have more than one dog, you essentially have a pack and so you need to understand pack mentality. If you do not become the alpha in your pack, you will find that your dogs create their own rules and generally run you ragged. The trick, when dealing with multiple dogs, is to set up a routine as fast as possible and above all ensure that it is you who is controlling the dogs and not the other way round.
Below you will find some useful tips that might help you if you ever find yourself in desperate need of advice on handling your pack.
- Make sure you allocate enough time for exerciseDogs must be exercised. Think about how bored you get if you are inside all day. At least you can get up, walk around, make yourself food and basically do anything you want. Whereas a dog is expected to sit inside and do what exactly?
Dogs Playing on the Beach (Photo credit: Chris_Parfitt)
Dogs suffer greatly from boredom and so will therefore become anxious, adventurous and even aggressive towards each other if left alone for long periods of time without exercise. Exercising your dogs regularly will ensure their pent up energy is released and will mean that they are less likely to take their frustrations out on each other, or your house!
- Make sure that you are the AlphaWhenever there is more than one dog in a household, it’s always likely there will be a power struggle between them as they try to establish who is top dog. You have got to prevent this by making sure that your dogs know YOU are the leader of the pack. This means firmly setting out some house rules and not giving in to them every time they make it obvious they want something, i.e. food, cuddles or a walk.
House rules should involve marking any territory that you don’t want the dogs on, for instance your bed or a sofa. If you do allow your dogs on the furniture, be warned that they can become very territorial and start believing it is their space. This can cause growling and fighting between them and even put you at risk. It is much better to provide each dog with its very own blanket, bed or doggie beanbag so it can have its own territory without taking over yours.
- Nip possessive characteristics in the budMany breeds of dog have a possessive nature and whilst some owners like to encourage this for a variety of their own reasons, it is not actually the kind of behaviour that you should be encouraging, especially when you have a pack. Encouraging this behaviour will cause jealousy amongst your dogs and can lead to fights breaking out in their desire to be near you, protect you or just simply be your favourite.
Dog with toy (Photo credit: TheHuxCapacitor)
No matter the age of the dog, you need to make sure you are correcting this behaviour each time it occurs, even if it is not yet aggressive. Let your dogs know that you can play and cuddle any dog any time you like. After all, you are the boss and they must learn to submit to you.
- Supervise dinner timeDinner time can be a huge point of contention when it comes to feeding multiple dogs at the same time. Some owners will get round this by feeding their dogs at different times. This, however, is not the ideal situation. You have got to persevere and make them accept that they must relax and eat with one another.
Hungry Dogs (Photo credit: deanwissing)
You need to make sure that each dog is behaving and not trying to steal food, however, otherwise eating together will never work out. Make sure each dog has their own bowl and if you have trouble feeding them when they are close together, start them off at different sides of the room and gradually over time, move them closer, bit by bit until they are eating next to one another calmly and without incident. Don’t forget with extra food comes extra dooggy poop so get yourself a sturdy pooper scoop to cope with all the extra mess.
- Keep an eye on the dogs when they are playingIt is absolutely normal for pack animals to play roughly. This may even involve tugging on one another’s jowls, growling and barking. You have got to learn when your dogs are playing and when they are close to actually attacking one another or someone else’s dog, which could be even more dangerous; multiple dogs versus only one.
Dogs doing what they do best. “You chase me then I’ll chase you” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
You will learn a lot about your pack watching them in this manner but be sure never to let things get out of hand, especially if you have dogs of multiple sizes, as you can never be 100% sure that wild instinct won’t take over, for instance between an Alsatian and a Chihuahua. You need to make sure that you always have a steely will and alpha status amongst your dogs, which will enable you to calm your dogs down as and when you want.
James writes for pooper scooper company the dooup. When he isn’t blogging about animal behaviour he’s out in the park with his dog, Indy.
This article is posted and shared through the courtesy of the Pet Articles Blog.