Handling Multiple Dogs In Your Home

If you have problems dealing with one dog in your home, imagine what it’s like coping with two or even three dogs and trying to keep things running smoothly. It can be hard to cope with multiple dogs at times and in some cases it can result in dogs fighting for dominance.

If you have more than one dog, your dogs may not always like each other in the beginning. However, with care, you should be able to manage all of the dogs with some effort. The key point is for you to maintain control of your household and not to allow any of your dogs to take control from you.

Establishing Your Alpha Dominance

From the start you need to assert your own control over your dogs. Your alpha leadership begins with your body language. Assert yourself with a calm exterior and your dogs will have to listen to you. Your goal should be to show your dogs that you can’t be manipulated.

There’s no need to yell at your dogs or punish them but you should correct them when necessary. The best way to manage and control your home is for you to believe that you’re the one in charge. You have to be consistent with every command you give your dogs and “own” the space around you.

“Owning your space” may sound simple but it will have a major impact on a dog. Your dog takes 95 percent of his cues from reading your body language and not from your words.

Even more important, if you have more than one dog, your dogs may try to compete with each other for dominance in your household. But if you have already made it clear that YOU are dominant, they have nothing to fight about. If your dogs have a clear pack leader (You), they should be best buddies from the start.

Dealing With Problems

If your dogs do have some problems with each other, you do have some options. Optimally, if you are in command and in the alpha position, that should stop most problems your dogs are having, but it may not solve all problems.

Here are a few tips to help you:

Aggression:
If your dogs are showing basic aggression, such as nipping or growling, you can almost always handle by making clear your own alpha position. If you are bringing a new dog into the house that doesn’t have a clear position yet, try taking both dogs for a walk first so they can get to know each other in a neutral place.

In many cases if the dogs have this time together on the leash it lets them get to know each other on neutral ground, outside your living quarters. This can be important for your dog who may feel that there’s an outside dog moving in on his space.

Food Aggression:
If you’re dealing with food aggression you should be careful. Being an alpha leader doesn’t always work in this case. Instead of showing your alpha position, it’s best to separate your dogs and try to remove the cause of the aggression. Only after you have separated them should you try to reintroduce them to each other.

Barking:
Dogs can stir up a lot of trouble by barking at each other. Once they start barking back and forth it can be very hard to control them. However, if you separate them and make sure they aren’t bored or anxious; you can reduce their reasons for barking. This usually calms them and stops the barking.

Walking:
Some dogs don’t like to walk together on a leash. If your dogs have issues with walking together you need to make sure that you have control of the leashes. You may need to retrain each dog separately, making sure they walk calmly with you or behind you. Teach each dog to walk on a loose leash and not to lash out or react to other dogs. Then you can go back to walking the dogs together.

In many cases problems walking on a leash come from one dog trying to be dominant and wanting to walk ahead of the other dog. If you’re in control and walking in front, the dogs have nothing to fight about.

In the end, dogs that have problems with each other can be handled together when you take control of the household. If your dogs don’t adapt to the situation you may need to go over the ground rules some more or considering getting in touch with a dog trainer or expert who can help your dog learn to accept their roles.

Mark Mansfield
 

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