So you’ve been living with just one dog, and are planning to add another to your family. Or maybe you already have more than one, and need some advice on how to lead your pack to happiness. I have three dogs of my own, and I’ve learned a lot about how to manage multiple dogs. It’s not easy at first – but if you follow these simple guidelines you will have an easier time managing your little pack.
1. Do NOT introduce a new dog inside your home
Dogs that live alone can sometimes develop territorial behavior. When you add a new dog to the family, make sure they meet outside of their home (neutral territory), and then bring them into your home together. This way, they meet on equal grounds and your first dog will be much more accepting of the new pup at home.
2. For every dog added to the pack, be twice as strong
Dogs need a powerful leader to keep them following you. If you aren’t a strong pack leader, one of your dogs will try to assume that role – and your other pups might not be so kin to that idea. Be consistent when correcting all three dogs – do not let any bad behavior go uncorrected. In my experience, my dogs have the “monkey-see-monkey-do” type mentality, and if one dog notices another getting away with something, they will definitely follow suit.
3. Feed your dogs together
Make sure lunch and/or dinner time is a pack activity. It is very ritualistic for dogs to eat together, as it bonds them together. This also prevents possessive habits formed by dogs protecting their food. When they all have food they are less likely to want each others’ bowls. Keep a close eye on your dogs during feeding to make sure they are sticking to their own.
4. Walk your dogs together
This is probably the most important aspect of owning multiple dogs. Walking as a pack is a very powerful means of bonding your pack together. It teaches them to be followers (you are the leader) and will be more a lot more submissive to you and each other.
5. Love your dogs equally
This is an obvious rule, but it is important on so many levels – especially if one of your dogs has a clingy personality. If you aren’t treating him/her equally, they will likely develop jealous behavior and will offset the synergy needed to keep a calm pack.
Managing multiple dogs can be a very rewarding experience if done correctly. It takes a lot more effort, and you should be deliberate in your decision to add a new pup to the family. Remember, all the problems you might have had with your first dog, you are at risk of experiencing it double! But you also get double the love