How do you keep the peace in a multi dog home?
A lot of times people get caught up with training ideas which have been passed down from others regarding how to interact and manage multi dog homes. The advice often goes that the alpha/older dog/longest in the residence always gets:
To behave towards the other dogs as they wish
This is a way to create friction and frankly it’s b***s***.
First there should only be one leader and that’s you. Not my word choice, but its often used.
Allowing any of your dogs with a stronger personality to share that personality as they see fit, is a perfect way to create friction and fights. A dog with a stronger personality is already going to be ready to bully so allowing that will only make the bullying stronger.
As for the older dog or the dog with the longest residence, the same thing, there should be no special privileges when it comes to the other dogs in the household. Even if this dog doesn’t have a strong personality, allowing them to have first access to resources and likely treating them as special (spoiling them), can sometimes actually create a bully where there wasn’t one.
Whether you’re attempting to maintain some type of hierarchy where the dogs work it out, or you’re just letting your heart and sentiment guide you, neither of these options are good. Instead of clinging to old school notions or emotions, commit to running your multi dog home in a smart, informed and appropriate detached fashion.
This means you look at the individual personalities of each dog and you ensure that all the personality pieces fit. Do not give special privileges or treatment which might create resentment or entitlement, or allow behavior which might create friction and possibly fights. You demand that every dog behave appropriately. You also stop any bullying, you correct over excitement which can overwhelm the other dogs and you address any guarding or posturing keeping a watchful eye on all resources and how each individual dog behaves around them.
You clearly, and with no apologies, lead your home and your dogs.
Every dog in your home should know exactly 100%, without any doubt, who is in charge.
And if they don’t, you should not be surprised if the peace between your dogs is not kept.
If you have any questions or concerns about running your multi dog home, please feel free to contact me!