The Multi Dog Home: How To Manage Multiple Dogs With Love Not Chaos Posted on August 19, 2013 by Michael Multi Dog Home A multi dog home is full of love and happy dogs; at least that is what we hope for. However, if multiple dogs are just multiplying the chaos, you need to find a way to make everyone happy and healthy, and bring back the fun. Here is exactly what you need to know when you have more than one dog and want to have love and order. MYTH: Let Them “Fight It Out” This way lays madness, expensive vet bills, and potentially serious injuries to all the pets and people in the household. Often defended by people who believe that it is natural pack behaviour, unless you are interested in living with (and like) a pack of wild dogs, this is not a safe, smart option. Leader Of The Pack The multi dog home does need a leader, and that leader is you. That holds true whether you have one, or more than one dog. How do you let your companions know that you decide what behaviour is acceptable? By rewarding the good and not accepting, or reinforcing the bad. The best place to start is by training your multiple dogs, first one-on-one, and then in pairs. One-On-One Time The key to training one pup at a time is to make that occasion special for all your companions. The easiest way to make multiple dogs happy is with the use of tethers, crates, or child gates. That keeps everyone separate and lets you work one on one. When the dog you are working with succeeds, and gets a reward treat, the others also get one. Remember, you should only have training sessions that last 5 to 10 minutes, so even a multi dog home of 3 would only take half an hour. More Than One Dog Training Mastering loose leash walking we covered here, and to build up to multi dog walking, make sure each pooch can handle it with just you. Work in pairs and with another person helping, so you can each reward them for walking with a loose leash. Work your way up to you holding both leashes. With multiple dogs, go through all the combinations of pairs before working your way up to walking 3 or more together. What About The Rest Of The Day? When you are not there, separate areas, such as crates, are great ways of keeping more than one dog safe and happy. When you are there, if play gets out of hand, a time-out is in order. Whether you use the ‘sit and stay’ command, separate rooms, or crate time, remember it is not a punishment, but a stopping of over-enthusiastic playtime. Do remember, that multiple dogs need multiple toys. It’s a smart idea to have one of everything so no one feels left out! For high value treats like bones and Kongs, give them out separately, so there isn’t a multi dog squabble to try and corner them all. Feeding time should be separate, so no-one has to fight for their food. Having more than one dog is all about doubling, or tripling, the love and fun you can have with your companions. Keep the chaos out of your home by being the one in control, and never letting them fight it out. Multiple dogs still need one-on-one training time, but be sure that they all get rewarded. Build up to walking more than one dog slowly, with a partner to help, until they learn how to walk with you alone. Every pup should have their own safe spot when you’re not there at home with them. Most of all, remember multi dog home means buying duplicate toys and treats to be fair to all, and that feeding time is a safe time for everyone. How many pups do you have, and what are your tips for keeping them all happy? Michael Orrbrooke Michael Orrbrooke is the President and CEO of Bark & Fitz and has been since 2007. Husband, father, and pet parent, he prides himself on his love of animals. He brings that commitment and respect to all Bark & Fitz guests, be they human, canine, or feline. Much of his time is devoted to researching the advancements in healthy pet foods, seeing it as a natural progression of what is happening with human nutrition. Uncompromising in his approach to guests and their parents, the highest value is placed on uniqueness and quality for all products; from food to gear, toys to treats, grooming to healthcare. Pet parent to Poppy, a 3 ½ year old Blue Picardy Spaniel, a breed that is well known for their field ability, gentle nature, intelligence, and willingness to please, she’s sure to feature regularly on the blog. Michael is passionate about all aspects of pet healthcare and encourages all pet parents to give their companions the very best.