Multi-Pet Homes

Success in a multi-pet home depends on your dog’s own sociability with other dogs, your other pets, and your management skills. Remember that all dogs are individual in how they respond to other dogs in varying stages throughout their lives. Some dogs remain very social with other animals for a lifetime. Others prefer to be the only dog and aren’t that interested in meeting and playing with other dogs. Many dogs enjoy some dogs but not others, and may be a bit picky about their dog friends. Either way, it’s a good idea to always go slow on meet-and-greets if you're introducing a new dog to ensure that you aren’t putting even the most dog-friendly dog in a situation that may make him uncomfortable or set him up to fail.

When managing a multi-dog home, be aware of the following:

Common Sense for Your Pack

Earning Life Rewards

Most dogs do better in a household where they EARN their rewards. This is a good way to establish leadership. As an example, have your dog sit and wait for his food bowl, have him sit and wait for a pet, etc. Dogs sense this leadership in a home and this helps them to feel that someone is in charge.It's up to you to establish boundries.  Individual dogs may feel more secure and not feel as compelled to take over the pack and establish order if the humans are doing it for them. This is done by examples of the above in a positive way not by force. You hold the good stuff,  the treats, car rides, the resources, etc. Use these life rewards to reinforce proper, calm, friendly behavior among your dogs.

Connect with Your Dogs

Having a solid connection with your dog is important. Your dog may be more willing to please when there is a strong connection to you. Sharing love and affection with your dog when he’s relaxed is a good way to build and keep a connection with him. Remember not to give affection while he’s overly aroused or being ill-mannered. Building and keeping this connection facilitates good leadership with each dog so that as a pack they may be more willing to look to you for guidance. 


Marthina McClay, CPDT
Animal Behavior College Mentor/Trainer
Dog Trainer/Behavioral Counselor
Certified Canine Good Citizen Evaluator
Tester/Observer for Therapy Dogs

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