Helping multiple dogs get along in the same household
As more and more people adopt or buy multiple dogs, we come across a common problem of inter dog aggression developing inside the house. Most of the time it is caused by the dogs not yet forming correct pack order or human not being the pack leader within the house.
In the first case, the dogs simply can’t figure out who's higher in pack order between them. Best way to correct this is to help them in everyway you can to establish a stable order. A lot of times when a new dog is brought into the house the older dog doesn’t want to give up its place.
It is the owner’s responsibility to help the animals establish their pack order as fast as possible. For this to happen it is important to show the weaker and younger dog that the older member of the pack is higher. If two dogs are fighting each other then correct the younger dog even if the fight was started by the older dog. Feed, walk, and play with the younger dog after you have done so with the older dog. Give older dog more attention, bones, and toys, but make sure not to neglet the younger dog completely. When the dogs establish their place they will stop fighting. This may change when the younger dog reaches a certain age of maturity and will want to assert its place in the family, so one needs to keep a close eye on both dogs. If the problem persists or you are not seeing the results please seek professional help!
If the dogs are relatively similar in age and size, watch them for a week or two. Find out which dog seems to be a leader and do the things listed beforehand as if this leader is older dog. The dog who is a leader will always go in first through the door, jump in the car, get to food when called for dinner, etc.
In the second case it is extremely important to get dogs to respect you. The moment you become a leader the dogs will start to respond to you in a completely different light. This is done mainly by working with your dogs in obedience training rings, either alone or with instructor. Do it everyday for 10-15 minutes. Don’t let dogs push you over, like getting on the couch and pushing you out of it. Of course if the problem is serious enough when dogs try to bite you, call a professional to assist you.
No violence should be used in getting dogs to stop fighting and training dogs. In the next article I will describe few ways to safely break up serious fights between dogs.
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