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Reducing stress in a multi-dog household

Reducing stress in a multi-dog household is good for both you and your dogs
Reducing stress in a multi-dog household is good for both you and your dogs
Photo by Franck Prevel/Getty Images

Having a household with more than one dog can be very stressful. Some dogs tend to feed off each others bad behavior with excessive barking, whining, food possessiveness and rowdy behavior when someone approaches the door. This can be enough to drive the human members of the house crazy! Here are some tips that may help reduce the chaos, while lowering your blood pressure at the same time.

  1. Manage the situation - If your dogs go crazy when someone is coming over to visit, have one or both of them wait outside until after your guest arrives then once they settle down, let your dogs come inside and greet your guest in a calm fashion instead of jumping all over them when they cross the threshold to your house.
  2. Reinforce the hierarchy - Dogs naturally establish an order of who is alpha. Be sure to pay attention to what your dogs decide and reinforce that by feeding your alpha dog first, allowing your alpha to enter and exit the door first etc. Knowing who the boss is naturally reduces stress between dogs.
  3. Everyone needs individual love - Make sure to take time each day to give each of your dogs individual love and work with your dog on good behavior and rewards. When you go from a single dog house to a multi-dog house it's easy to forget to take time each day for training, but now it's even more important than before. Work with your dog each day.
  4. Exercise - Make sure that each day your dog is getting plenty of exercise and does not have pent up anxiety from being locked up in the house all day. Playing ball and going for walks really does solve many problems.
  5. Don't let your dogs fight - The more they fight, the more aggression is built up between them and the more anxiety is felt by you. It's the sum of all your dogs anxiety that ends up in aggression and fights. Manage each of the areas so your dog is not pushed over the edge.
  6. Use touch to help reduce stress - Tellington Touch (TTouch) and massage can help to reduce anxiety in your dog.
  7. Music calms - iCalmDog is a wonderful tool to help your dog relax. It's a little portable box that plays music especially designed to calm your dog. You can also buy CD's from various publishing houses that were designed for that specific thing.
  8. Feed a high quality diet - High quality protein sources keep your dog more relaxed and reduces anxiety.
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