How to Deal with Affection in a Multi-dog Household

by Stephanie Dube Dwilson
    Multiple-dog households have special concerns, but can also be great fun.

    Multiple-dog households have special concerns, but can also be great fun.

    Michael Blann/Digital Vision/Getty Images

    Living in a house with more than one dog has many advantages. The dogs keep each other company, they are entertaining to watch play together and you get double the affection. Of course, some dogs don't like to share their affections, so living in a multi-dog household can result in resource guarding and fights. Knowing how to manage their relationship with each other will help you keep everyone happy and safe.

    Step 1

    Spend time with the dogs together. Your dogs need to know you have enough affection for each of them. When sitting around the house, make sure you give both pats, treats and affection. If one of your dogs tries to push the other away, ignore them both. You don't want to reward the behavior of the aggressive dog, but you also don't want to force the more submissive pup into the middle of a conflict. Your dogs will naturally work out a relationship between themselves over which is dominant, but you shouldn't get involved.

    Step 2

    Play games or take walks one on one with each dog. As important as it is for you all to get along, it's also important to invest time in your relationship with each of your dogs. This will reinforce the notion that you are in charge, not him or the other canines. Spending one-on-one time with your dog also encourages your pup to bond with you, which is important because households with multiple dogs often find themselves in a situation where the dogs get along fine with each other, but don't have much need for human companionship.

    Step 3

    Obedience train your dogs. It is important to have dogs who will listen to you, regardless of how many pets you have, but it is even more important when you have multiple dogs. Teaching your dog to come when called, walk calmly beside you on a loose leash and to sit and lie down on command will make your life much easier.

    Step 4

    Provide ample spots to sleep for each dog, and keep their food dishes separated. Many disagreements between dogs are the result of resource guarding, where one or both dogs feels like they need to protect food, beds or other items so the other dog cannot get them.

    Photo Credits

    • Michael Blann/Digital Vision/Getty Images

    About the Author

    With features published by media such as Business Week and Fox News, Stephanie Dube Dwilson is an accomplished writer with a law degree and a master's in science and technology journalism. She has written for law firms, public relations and marketing agencies, science and technology websites, and business magazines.

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