My goal with this blog is for you to enjoy your time here. Most of the posts talk about my experiences raising my two yellow Labrador Retrievers, some are just for fun, and others share the best dog related information and products I have found.

Use the tabs above for quick navigation. I have imbedded links for as much as possible so that you can find the resources easily from this blog. The links in the side bar are for websites that have been helpful to me. I hope that you find them useful for you and your canine "family member"

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

"Keeping harmony in the family" - Living in a multi-dog household

If you haven't discovered Karen Shanley's blog yet, it's well worth your time. You can link to her blog anytime from the "button" I put in my right side bar, or you can check out the link in this post. Her blog covers more than just life with her dogs but when she shares her insights on her canine "family members" there's a lot to be learned. In her recent post she offers some great advice in answer to a very important question from one of her readers:

Take some time to read this great post if you are even remotely considering adding a "family member".

If you are like me and started with two from the start you have my appreciation for the challenges this may have brought you. One of the things you may have not have noticed or considered is shared below. I contributed this to Karen's post in the comments section but on further thought realized that it could really stand alone when it comes to living in a multi-dog household wether or not you are introducing a new dog to a resident dog. I hope that between both posts you will gain some new insight that will make your life with your dogs even better.

My advice on living in a multi-dog household . . .
[taken from my comment on her post]
. . . one thing that may be important to consider in a multi-dog household is that “You” may become the prime target in resource guarding. It was my experience that the more intune I became with my dogs needs (especially during adolesence) the more I realized that when I was giving out affection to one the other would try to push them out of the way to get at me. I had to set up strict boundary commands and used a word they were already learning “Wait”. That meant, “stop, and wait for me to invite you to get some affection”. It was amazing how this improved the over all emotional health for both dogs. Nutmeg became less “needy” and Shelby began to demonstrate better “self-control” even beyond affection time.

Despite how flattering it is to have not only one but two dogs clammering for your attention don’t loose site of their needs in the process.

Another thing that helped build self confidence and anchor my dog’s bond and trust with me is seperate training, play, and affection time with each dog. I don’t know if this element is as important when bringing an older dog into the picture but I can’t see why it wouldn’t also hold ture, at least on some level.

On a side note: I love my two dog household, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I do however wish that I had known from the start what I know today. That being said there is a lot of truth to “experience being the best teacher”.

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