How To Train A House Full Of Dogs

Posted: May 28, 2014 in Dog Behavior, Puppy Training
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It’s a beautiful day here in Cloverdale New Brunswick. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and the 5 dogs that live here all want my attention at the same time. So I tell them to lay down and be good for a minute and let me get my coffee,, and then I will take care of their needs. It’s not easy but you can learn how to train a house full of dogs.

There are no squabbles over food or toy’s, because they don’t have access to these resources unless I initiate the action, I take the toys out and I put them away. Any playing inside is kept to a low intensity level, to ensure that excitement does not get out of hand.

I have no conflict in my home because from the git go I have set the rules in a clear, fair, and consistent manner.The dog’s know who sets the rules and they follow them reliably.

I have taught them to think for themselves and trained them to have options when it comes to their behavior. For example if I say “Sit”, and the dog lies down, then I don’t have a problem with it, but if I say “Sit”, and the dog ignores me and walks away, then I don’t yell or get angry I simple go and get the renegade and bring him back to where I gave the command to sit, and proceed to have him sit, this time I am determined to have him sit,not lie down, or half sit, but to sit until I am satisfied he knows what I want from him.

Giving your dog some wiggle room when it comes to behaviors will provide them with choices about what is and is not acceptable, and it really helps when I am not around. For example, I live with my 80-year-old uncle and provide care for him and his wife, and when I am not home, I have to be sure that when he tells my dogs to move or go out, then they will obey him because they have been trained to think for themselves., when he says move, they may sit or lie down, maybe go to their kennel and lie there, or go outside and lay in the shade. You see well-trained dogs can live together in a multi-dog household and not have major problems.

One of the things I always do when thinking about adding a new dog to the mix is to bring that dog home for a trial run, to access how the rest of the herd will react to this new comer, and how he will react to them.

If there are conflicts like aggression, I will not choose that dog to live with us. I don’t mind small squabbles between dogs as this is easy to handle, but adding a dog with aggression issues to a stable mix of dogs will only cause trouble and a lot of stress for you.

If you are thinking about having more than one dog in your home and you are not experienced with training dogs, then I would advise you not to get Pitbull’s, Rottweiler’s, German Shepard’s,Doberman ect.

These breeds are genetically pre-dis positioned to fight, that’s not to say that these breeds can’t learn to get along and live in the same house I am just saying that if you are just starting out, these breeds can and will test you and your ability to keep them balanced and happy.

The more dogs you have in your home the more you need to be in control at all times, you must be very vigilant about excitement levels and be sure to keep your dogs at a level 3-5 on a scale of 0- 10 at all times.

I rate this scale like this, 0 being your dog is asleep, and 10 is you cleaning blood off the walls while your better half writes that 1000.00 dollar check to the vet.

This is a list of things you will need to be very careful about in order to maintain a calm and settled atmosphere in your home.

1- Eating-  All dogs must have their own food dish and there can be no stealing from the other dogs, when one is finished he/she must go to their place and wait.

2- Do not leave toys lying around on the floor, this will only encourage competition. You must put all toys away until you take them out and set the rules for play.

3- Going in and out-of-doors must be done in an orderly fashion, no crowding, pushing or jumping around in front of the door.

4- Don’t make a big deal about leaving the house, don’t talk to them, just get them settled in their places and grab your keys and walk out.

5- Avoid excitement when coming home. When you come home from work or after being out for a while you must not greet your dogs in an excited manner, refrain from speaking to them until they are all in the range 3-5 level of excitement. If you greet them with a happy high-pitched voice, saying things like, “Did you miss Mama”?, “Who’s been a good dog”?, ect, you will only escalate the excitement, and just to let you know,.. aggression goes hand in hand with excitement….Enough said.

6- Play time When playing all dogs must use a soft mouth, and excitement levels should never exceed level 5-6, if the excitement escalates in any of the dogs, you must remove them from play, and take the time to settle them down to that 3-5 level and then bring them back into play.

7-Sleeping arrangements It don’t really matter if the dogs sleep in bed with you or on a dog bed on the floor, the only thing that matters is that each dog has what he considers to be his place to sleep and is not challenged by other dogs for that space.

8- Put Barking on Command– While barking is a perfectly natural way for dogs to communicate with each other, and to alert us to someone approaching the house, it is important when you have a lot of dogs to keep the barking to a minimum. One dog can make enough noise but when you add maybe 5-6 dogs to the choir, the racket is enough to wake up the dead. With a little work you can train your dogs to bark when you say and for how long you say.

New dogs should be trained with a one on one approach inside your house, and as he/she becomes more reliable you can move to your yard and then to the park, where you can add distractions, like other dogs, people, cats, vacuum cleaners ect.

Learning how to train a house full of dogs can be a challenge for even for the most experienced dog trainers, but when you get it right and things are in harmony with you and your household, life with many dogs can be very rewarding.

That’s it for now, I hope this has been helpful, and I encourage you to share this with your Facebook friends and family.

Good luck, and keep on training!

Harley

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