What are some myths that need to be debunked about owning multiple dogs?
• Myth #1: “Packs only take place with wild dogs, not domesticated ones.”
Two or more dogs create a pack, with its own hierarchy, communications, benefits and challenges.
Like their relative, the wolf, dogs have dominant members, usually an alpha male and a dominant female—but size doesn’t matter, and neither does gender, because the small female could well be designated the “alpha.” Hint: You don’t get involved in this, let them work it out themselves.
• Myth #2: “I don’t need to treat them as individuals if it’s a pack.”
Provide each dog with an even amount of your attention and financial resources. They will all need food, water, attention and love, grooming, immunizations, monthly pest preventative care and regular veterinary visits.
Designate a specific time for each dog for some play or a walk, just with you. Group play should be allowed daily with all willing members of the pack romping and vocalizing. Hint: Don’t force a dog to play with the group if she doesn’t want to.
Train each dog individually. Every dog should know how to walk with you without pulling on the leash and how to “sit,” “stay,” “be quiet” and “go lay down” upon your request.
• Myth #3: “Multiple dogs just take care of one another, so I won’t need to do much.”
Dogs will see you as the pack leader and they love order and predictability—so they will look to you for it.
Establish yourself as the pack member in charge. They need to respect, obey and bond with you: A good place to start is some basic obedience training.
• Myth #4: “They can eat together like family.”
Feed them separately and feed the dominant dog first. Then take the next dog a few feet away and feed it… then the next one and so on. If you can’t do it that way, just feed them in different rooms or in separated areas. This is especially important if you have one dog that gobbles her food and then steals from the other bowls