How many dogs are too many dogs? And just how do so many owners get over the top in dogs?
If you are thinking about adding to your existing pack, you might want to consider the following before taking the plunge.
Needless to say, we’ve had lots of dogs at our house over the years – to a point where having just three dogs now, feels like a walk in the park.
Yet, some find adding that third dog is like “the straw that broke the camel’s back!”
Here’s what one frustrated dog owner said about adding their third dog: “When my husband and I added a third dog to our household, chaos reigned. Worse yet, fights broke out between our new dog and the two older dogs. We needed order and clear rules about how the dogs were to interact with each other and with us.”
Do you know your limits?
You really need to know your own personal limits. Is three dogs just too many or can you handle more dogs? You should know the quantity of dogs that you can comfortably provide for – not only physically but financially as well.
Another consideration when asking the question, “How many dogs are too many dogs?” is – will you have any help? Or is it just you?
Sometimes spouses or significant others may not hold the same level of passion for dogs as you – on the other hand, you may be one of the lucky ones. That extra pair of hands comes in handy when it comes time to scoop poop, feed the troops, keep the peace or assist with a vet visit! There’s never a shortage of work to be done in a multiple dog household.
Before adding new dogs, how good are your own dogs?
There is one more consideration before taking on an extra dog or two. You might want to also take a look at how you have managed your current dogs. Have you run a tight ship – so to speak? Have you set and maintained rules and expectations?
Maintaining a clear order during all of your pack activities is important. If you are not used to running a tight ship, you might want to take a peek at my short list of activities that’s going to require “order and calm” when managing/handling all of your dogs.
- During meals (This is perhaps the most important time for calm and quiet)
- While training each dog individually (others should remain quiet while waiting their turn)
- Resting and sleeping times (Sometimes jockeying around for the premium doggie bed or location can ignite the competition)
- Interactive game time with your dogs (careful – no fighting over toys. How’s you’re “Leave it!” command?)
- Walking dogs in shifts (everyone wants to go first – but can’t- unless there’s enough hands!)
- Grooming time each dog needs with you (clipping nails, cleaning ears, baths, etc.)
Times like these can test your patience – unless you’ve maintained order amongst your pack and have very clear rules about how your dogs can interact with each other during all of these times.
In other words, your dogs need to know life does not always present each dog with the opportunity to be first every single time.
If you’ve done your job then your dogs would have been trained first individually and then as a group to be “patient and polite,” instead of “pushy and aggressive,” in short, well-mannered.
You will have also become acutely aware of what stress factors to look for before major problems develop in a house full of dogs – to avoid issues.
You know when “play is play” or when play is a “power play” and when to stop the power play from becoming a fight. If you’ve set the pace for your dogs then you know dog obedience training makes all the difference in the world in successfully managing lots of dogs – especially at an intense time like this.
If you are that savvy multiple dog owner, then I don’t have to go into much detail about other concerns when bringing in new dogs like:
Each dog’s history of socialization.
Each of the above play their own important role in how well new dogs will get along with each other in a multiple dog household.
Yes, it is possible to live in a household of more than one dog – in fact multiple dogs and still manage the interactions of all dogs and humans – even without resorting to punitive methods of dog training.
With positive reinforcement methods you gain the willing cooperation of all the dogs. The dogs know it’s to their advantage.
Pretty soon behaviors that you prefer – sits and downs – become strong and resilient. These behaviors are frequently offered to you by all of your dogs because it works for them.
Now that’s pretty cool!
“Sharing Time” Let us know your thoughts on today’s issue by commenting below – I’m here to help.
“Together, We Can Raise a Happy and Obedient Dog”
Jim Burwell, professional dog trainer for 25+ years, serving 8700+ clients, has a profound understanding of dog behavior and the many things, we as humans, do that influence that behavior – good or bad. Jim has the ability to not only steer dogs and puppies down the right path but to also train the owners to understand their part in having a great dog.
His Ground Rules for Great Dogs is the culmination of these years of training into an easy, step-by-step process so that your dog understands what you expect of him, you empower him to be able to give you the behavior you want and you empower him to be successful at living in a human home.