Living in a multi-dog household is a chaotic, funny, challenging, and entertaining experience. Personally, I love it, all of it. My pets, 3 dogs and 2 cats, offer so much more than companionship. They give unconditional love, laughter, and sense of peace.
Now that I’ve painted the picture that multipet households are wonderful let me caution you. Each pet in your home will need to be trained separately. I can’t count how many times I’ve had clients who wanted to train two pets at the same time and it doesn’t work out well. One pet will catch on more quickly and the family is so happy with the success of that dog that everyone wants to work with him and the other dog’s training falls by the wayside, or at best the pet gets only the minimum attention.
THere are also behaviors that you will only find in a multipet household: food guarding, toy guarding, being possessive of their favorite spot or person are some of the possibilities. Because of these possibilities and others it is important to have firm house rules.
For instance, during dinner times my dogs are allowed in the same room with us, they are allowed in the same room with us, they are allowed to stare. They are not allowed to make on e whine or whimper. My dogs are allowed in bed, however the pillow is reserved for me and me alone, the covers are for me first and if I need the space one of my pets occupy, they move. I know some of you can’t stand to move your pet when you shift at night. We aren’t those people.
I’m not going to tell you what the house rules should be, but give it some serious thought on what they should be. Once you make your house rules, be firm on them. Otherwise your home will become chaos.
Later we will talk more about how to deal with the individual challenges that come with multi-pet households.