Whether you have decided to adopt multiple dogs, or you have decided to take on the responsibility of temporarily caring for several dogs at once, keeping harmony in your household should be priority number one. However, with different breeds and doggie personalities, often come potentially different sets of challenges. To minimize these, the experts at Whole Dog Journal offer us the following tips when caring for multiple dogs.
Introduce the Dogs Carefully
First impressions have the ability to set a foundation for success down the road. When meeting for the first time, if your dogs have a positive experience with one another, it is likely that these feelings will continue during future interactions. However, if the first introduction doesn’t go well, the cycle of negativity has more of a chance of repeating itself each time that they are around each other, unfortunately for quite a while.
Keep your eyes on your dogs that are interacting with each other, not on other distractions such as your phone. Pay attention to body language between the two dogs so that you can prevent any aggression before it erupts. The idea is to stop any serious trouble before it starts.
Are you completely certain that your dogs feel comfortable and safe with one another? Unless you can answer that question without any doubt, avoid leaving them in the same room while you are not home.
If you have noticed any tension between them whatsoever, don’t feel bad about keeping them in separate areas while you are away.
Give Them Plenty of Exercise
It is very important to give each of your dogs plenty of exercise, whether you decide to do this in a group or individually. Otherwise, your dogs may get bored, or aggravated with one another and decide to get into mischief around the house. Playing with your dogs and taking them each on a daily walk is a good way to get their hearts pumping.
Allow Each Dog Their Own Alone Time
Your canine children each need their own time alone with their pet parents. It doesn’t have to be a long and complicated effort. For example, walk one of your dogs down to the mailbox with you. Take another out for a ride in the car with you. Find simple ways to show your dogs that they each mean something to you.
Spend Time Training Them
When you have multiple dogs, it becomes even more important that your dogs are trained in basic obedience commands. Ideally, each dog should be taught to ‘sit’, ‘stay’ and ‘come’. Any amount of training that you are able to handle yourself is great. Any time it becomes too much for you, ask your vet for recommendations for obedience classes.
If it is important to you that your dogs are calm and peaceful as can be, make sure that you are being calm yourself. If you notice your dogs are beginning to interact negatively, don’t perpetuate the situation by raising your voice at them. Instead, try to get involved in a gentle and positive manner.