by Louise Hart // July 2017
A 2015 report by PDSA showed that a quarter of UK households owned a dog. A similar report in America found that of the dog-owning population, a quarter of people owned two dogs and around one out of ten owned three dogs or more. Multi-dog households are perhaps more common than we think.
I have a multi-dog household and have found that it is quite easy to compile a list of advantages and disadvantages.
The disadvantages: Increased time and expenditure to provide for my dogs’ needs, as well as lots and lots of extra fur!
The advantages: More dogs in your life!!
Training my new dog
Something I have learnt over many years of having more than one dog in my house is that it is really important to spend time with each dog individually; what motivates them? Are they displaying any signs of worry or stress? Most importantly I have established the right training and behaviour methods for each dog so they know how to behave when they are on their own and when they’re together with all the added distractions.
A recent example of this was when I spent time with my new adult rescue collie that is 14 months old. I arranged to meet a friend at the local pub for lunch and decided to walk my dog there on his harness so he could get used to being on his own without any added pressure of learning anything new. Inside the pub I had a lovely catch up with my friend over a meal. During this time my dog was training how to ‘settle’ – this is getting the dog to switch off and relax when they are not receiving any attention. It took him a while at first; we had practised at home and within a few other environments. On this occasion every time someone entered or exited the pub he felt the need to get up and see what was happening. He did fantastically well with his training and had a good nap at one point. On the way home I clipped his lead onto his collar and we practised some loose-lead walking, with a quick stop on the village green for some off lead time and recall practise. I quickly learnt that a ball is his favourite reward for a recall and that he likes hot dogs more than cheese for training. We had a great time and it’s definitely helped our relationship spending time getting to know each other better.