Multiple Dog Household – Preventing Additional Stress

09/02/2022

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MULTI-DOG HOUSEHOLD – PREVENTING ADDITIONAL STRESS

When working with your dog to reduce their over-reactivity, it’s important to look at reducing stress in all aspects of their life. If you have more than one dog at home, this can have a big impact on behaviour in seemingly unrelated situations.

Some simple actions will help set you all up for success.

At mealtimes, feed your dogs in separate rooms. Naturally dogs can feel competition over resources such as food and this may cause them to eat more quickly around others. They might not necessarily guard their food from each other but the majority of dogs are more relaxed when eating separately. This prevents anxiety about whether their housemates might take their food, and can slow down how quickly they eat, which is better for digestive health.

If your dogs like to play with each other, always supervise and keep sessions short. It’s a good idea to encourage frequent breaks so that your dogs can engage in calming activities such as sniffing, licking or chewing. Always interrupt if play is getting rough or one sided. Teaching a positive interrupter is great for this!

Spend time teaching your dogs how to relax around each other. Getting them to settle on their own beds separately with a chew is a great way to start but be sure to set up management so that they remain in their own spaces.

Also ensure that they have plenty of time to sleep throughout the day. Your dogs may need to have separate sleeping areas initially if they are excited around each other but in time you may find they can rest in the same location.

Give your dogs plenty of one to one time with you. Play together, train and enjoy a variety of enrichment. This is great for building their confidence, enhancing your relationship and allows you to meet the needs of your dogs as individuals.

Taking time to create a harmonious home life can have a big influence on your dog’s behaviour in other areas too.

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