Three’s Company: I Need Your Help!

Three times the wagging tails. Three times the big doggy grins. Three times the unconditional love. Some say that two or three dogs are much better than one.

01Since I’ve started doing ‘Staycations‘ for Dog Latin Dog Training where I stay at the client’s house and work with their dog(s) while the humans are out of town, I’ve had to adapt to many different canine scenarios. Most recently, I stayed with the above three goofballs. They were adorable and sweet, but I’ll be honest – I haven’t quite mastered the multidog household yet. Basic obedience work, food puzzles and even plain old walks are a whole different ball game when you’re dealing with more than one dog.

So, readers, I need your advice. How do you manage your multidog household? These pups all got along great, but it was still a little hairy trying to manage them all without anyone getting too excited and knocking the house over. Got any tips for me? Any advice or common practices to keep the house orderly with so many paws bouncing around? Is there anything I should be steering clear of or making sure I definitely do? It’s a lot of fun, but three mischievous pups are a whole heck of a lot harder to keep track of than just one! Thanks – can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

14 thoughts on “Three’s Company: I Need Your Help!

  1. Ohmygoodness they’re adorable! my first piece of advice is to separate them when you’re trying to work with/train them (if possible). not only does it give quality alone time, but one by one you’ll tire them out. second? we’re huge fans of SIT! DOWN! STAY! huge reward (bully stick/antler) if there’s a stampede or too much rambunctious play. or i’m folding laundry. that’s when our dogs tend to be most “helpful”. finally? embrace the chaos. but i feel like that’s a lesson you learned a long time ago!

  2. Teresa

    I have 3 dogs of my own and also do foster care, so when I’m doing something with 1 of the dogs inside the house (either grooming or doing some training exercises), I make it clear to the other 2 or 3 dogs that it isn’t about them at the moment. I ask the other dogs to give me space and back off while I’m working with that 1 particular dog. I do this by just asking them to back up, gently pushing them back with my arm or walking toward them until they remove themselves from the immediate space that I’m working in, using the word “out”. They learn the concept pretty quickly. Dogs need to learn that they don’t have to be part of every situation all of the time. That they have to wait and observe without being a part of me working on/with another dog.
    Even my most reactive jealous dog has learned that when I ask her to do “OUT”, that she go to another room to observe and not participate.
    TJ

  3. Kelly

    Remember you are in charge J! Use lots of little training treats to keep their attention and remind them who’s in charge. I keep reminding myself that body language and tone are super important. If you need a break, bust out a gate or a bully stick (or 3 I guess) :)

  4. These are probably a bit of a cop-out lazy tip, but when we need a little bit of quiet time with our two, praise be to the frozen kong/marrow bone. If you have a crew who gets into each other’s business with training and puzzles, baby gates are essential so each dog has their own activity to work on. We are mostly at a point where we can train together, but that one-on-one time is the key to learning and overall sanity!

  5. Trish

    Baby gates! My multi dog household was built as the dogs were older so energy levels were lower. But gates come in handy when one dog beds space.

  6. What a bunch of cuties! Having two dogs was a bit odd for me at first and to be honest can still be a bit of an issue (especially when walking) but with time you get the hang of it. The main thing I would suggest is that when working with one dog make sure the others are busy in crates or in another room. Individual attention is what I feel is key to a dog learning or working on something. Distractions from other dogs can be added in later!

  7. They are so cute, but I know how hard it can be when the pups outnumber the people. We are lucky that we have a routine in our home that Miss M follows, Mr B follows what she does, and the foster pups usually see what they are doing and play along too. Though the individual training does get harder because if we need to isolate one dog, the other dog always wants to know what’s going on. I’m curious to see how you do work it out!

  8. Sherrie

    They are adorable and we also have a multi dog household. We had 3 Basenji’s but just recently lost our girl who was 14.5 years old, we miss her dearly. I find that having a routine/schedule for the dogs is key to managing the multiple personalities. They each have their own corner of the kitchen to eat, we all go on walks together and each dog has their own donut, crate and toys to play with. This makes them feel safe and secure but i guess this is hard to establish on a temporary basis.

  9. They are so cute, but they do look like they are full of “personality”! My humans had three dogs at one time. My mommy thought “What’s one more?” and they took in a foster who became a permanent. Going from two to three completely changed the dynamic. The humans made it work, but they are really not in a position to give advice on the subject!

  10. Try to remember that dogs are individuals and having different rules for each of them is ok. For example, Kaya is a lot more impatient and pushy while Norman is really la-di-da so Kaya always has to sit and wait to be let out and lie in her spot when people come over, while Norman doesn’t. I don’t think of it as punishment or favoritism but as boundaries that she benefits from in the long term and she knows what’s expected of her rather than getting in trouble.

    As for excitement, the biggest benefit I’ve found is not allowing play or rough-housing in the house. Toys are kept outside and only once in a blue moon will I pull out an inside toy. Play is on my terms and if I find they have pent up energy and I don’t just want to send them outside, we do some trick training with treats and give them something good to chew on. Keeping greetings calm is super important too and recognizing trigger times for excitement like first thing in the morning or mealtime. Ask for a sit stay, etc. before they get a chance to run or jump around.

    Teaching each of them that it’s okay to be a bystander is also great. Have two lie down and stay while the other is petted, played with or working on training. And then switch.

    Good luck with those cutie-pies!

  11. The best thing I learned was that I needed to control everyone’s energy level, starting with mine. If I get overly excited the boys follow suit (in very different ways) so in the house, I always use calm tones and gestures (except when a really good song comes on and then everyone is required to dance!). When we are outside we can be more excited and exuberant. It’s key to my sanity!

  12. DrW

    Teach each dog different command names, or the command in different languages (if you are multi-lingual). Works for Mr. Mullins :-)

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