If you live in a multi-dog household, you know things can get rowdy sometimes. In fact, you shouldn't be surprised if the dogs feed on each other's energy. As a result, you have a dog who starts barking—and three others who go crazy a second after, even if they have no idea what's going on.
Figure out what triggers the barking and who starts it. Chances are there's one dog who usually barks first or barks more often. In order to calm down all the dogs, you need to work on the worst one first. That doesn't mean the other dogs shouldn't be trained—they all should, but you devote more time to the "guilty" one.
Work on teaching the dogs—especially the one who starts the barking—to control their impulses. Basic commands such as "Wait" and "Leave it" can help impulsive dogs calm down, even if it's for just long enough to prevent an all-out barking or crying war.
Make the house a quiet zone. That means no throwing the ball, running, jumping or wrestling with the dogs inside the house. When it's time to play and expend energy, take the dogs to the park, for a walk or to the yard. Get them running and playing so by the time they go back inside the house, they're tired and ready to relax. If they start jumping or acting agitated inside the house, talk to them softly and encourage them to sit down with a chew stick or a toy.
Spay and neuter all dogs in the house. Hormones flying rampant in a multi-dog house can lead to fights, difficulty in training and tons of puppies. Dogs who have been desexed are more mellow and less likely to bounce off the walls to get rid of extra energy.
- Always keep your voice down when trying to calm down the dogs. If you're yelling, it actually sounds like you're joining in the chaos. Instead say, "Quiet" or shush the dogs softly. If that fails, separate them into different rooms or areas of the house until they calm down.
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