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A Turramurra Vet Article

More Than One Dog in Your Household?

Two Dogs Running

More Than One Dog in Your Household?

by Katie Bedrossian, Pet Behaviour Consultant

Having more than one dog can be lots of fun! More to love, more to play with and more to cuddle. However, in order for your dog or dogs to have a friend (rather than foe), there is more planning required than simply putting the two dogs (or more) together, to ensure a healthy bond. 

Here are my top 5 tips for canine harmony:

  1. Allow up to 3 months for a strong bond to develop. While some dogs don’t take that long, most adult dogs take time to truly settle and bond with a resident dog and most puppies need this time for the adult dog to work out that living with a lively puppy isn’t so bad after all.
  2. Ensure the dogs have separate feeding spaces that the other cannot access (including for chews and long lasting treats). While this is especially important for dogs that are possessive of their food, it is also important for tolerant dogs and puppies, as it prevents problems developing.
  3. Ensure all dogs get some individual time with you. This doesn’t have to be every day, but alternating or rotating special days for your dogs works really well. You could walk your adult dog while the puppy learns to positively spend time home alone or play a game outside with one dog while the other does a search game for treats hidden inside.
  4. When raising a puppy with an adult dog, be an advocate for your adult dog. Puppies don’t understand the rules of play and body language yet. Watch for early signs that your adult dog doesn’t want an interaction (head turns, lip licks, yawns, showing the whites of the eyes) and redirect your puppy to a game with you instead. When you can’t supervise, separate.
  5. Treat your dogs equally where possible. Dog hierarchies are flexible and aren’t dependent on age, time in home or size. We can do more harm by assuming which dog is the top dog and always giving them everything first.

The above is just a snippet of tips, so if you are having existing problems within your multi-dog household or are unsure how to introduce your newcomer in the first place, please contact us on 9988-0198 to book a private behaviour consultation with our pet behaviour consultant, Katie Bedrossian.



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