Maintaining Peace in a Multiple Dog Household

Keeping peace in a multiple dog household becomes a challenge because of the way dogs live with each other. Dogs are pack animals,and within each pack there are levels where every dog fits; the alpha dog is the leader, the beta is second to the leader and the omega is at the bottom of the hierarchy. Once dogs in your house establish this order, it can lead to problems especially because the alpha wants to be in control of the others. When the others resist this leadership, the problem can escalate from simple bullying to one that involves injury to one dog.

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The best way to maintain peace is by first making sure that you establish your role as the leader of the pack in your house. In as much as the dogs have their own order, they must know that everything you say goes. In my house, a female Rottweiler named Ginger is the alpha. She is the oldest of our dogs and she tends to decide what the other dogs take as acceptable or unacceptable. We have however made it clear that we are in charge of all the dogs.

In the past, she would bully our yellow lab female, Lulu, because Lulu is weaker. She would make Lulu lie down on the floor while she hovered over her, a sign of dominance. We would tell her to stop but she would not retreat until a friend told us to use force, like a pack leader would do in the wild to put a pack member in line. He told us to hold her on the back of her neck where there are plenty of muscles and skin and yank her backwards, and hold her in that position until she calmed down.

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You should also manage behavior because misbehavior eventually escalates into fights. If the dogs growl at each other when they are eating or there is a dog that gobbles his food down and goes to another dog’s bowl, feed them separately. If the dogs fight over who is going to sleep in your bed, make no exceptions and make them all sleep on their mats. If they fight about who sits next to you when you eat, don’t feed them when you are eating. Make them sit on their mats and only feed them from that position.

When your dogs respect you, they are easy to handle. When you catch misbehavior when it has not escalated into a fight and deal with it fast, your household will be peaceful and your canine friends will be easy to live with.

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