Three Tips for Living in a Multi-Dog Home

Dog Behavior, Dog Enrichment, Dog Health, Dog Ownership, Dog Safety

This month we celebrated National Pet Day on April 11. Here are three tips for living in a multi-pet home:

1. Safety during mealtime

To keep all animals safe during their meals, individuals should be fed in separate spaces.  Even members of the same species appreciate having room to relax while eating their food and should be fed in separate areas.

2. Management at doorways

Letting multiple dogs out of the house to go to the bathroom or to play, or into the house after being outside, can quickly turn into an unsafe situation.  Arousal levels are high during those moments of transition and to keep everyone safe and calm it’s helpful to teach dogs how to wait at the door until their name is called. 

You teach this in three steps:  

  1. Stand at the door facing your dog, ask them to sit
  2. Once they’re sitting, hand them a treat and begin to open the door. Continue to feed them treats while they remain seated and as the door opens. If they rush forward or won’t eat the treats, try using higher value treats.
  3. Once they can remain in the sit position and continue eating treats, while the door is open, stop feeding the treats, say their name one time, and encourage them to go through the door. Once each dog can do this on their own, begin to practice with multiple dogs.

3. Individual Enrichment

Keep your pets happy by offering them individual enrichment time.  This may mean taking your dogs on separate walks or hikes, giving your cats some one-on-one playtime, giving your bird a fun toy to shred, or one-on-one training sessions with any of your pets.