60 Main Road Westhampton, MA 01027     Call us at 413-527-7364

Please Sign In

forgot your login?

Create a New Account

Creating an account takes only a moment.

  • Save your billing and shipping information for faster checkout.
  • Quick access to your Order History.
  • Save items in your shopping bag between visits.
  • Sign-up for email updates on news and promotions.
  • Open a professional, wholesale or distributor account.
  • Become a store affiliate and earn commission for referrals.

Successfully Managing a Multi-Dog Household

Successfully Managing a Multi-Dog Household

by Beth Ostrowski-Parks, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA

Multi-Dog Households

Multi-Dog Households

I’ve not written in a while and, believe me, it’s not because I don’t want to! I love to write newsletters and give you little tips to help you with your dog training.

Since I’ve had dogs, I’ve almost always had a pack of 3. For a short time, I had 4 dogs which was tough as I felt like I couldn’t stretch myself that thin for the amount of attention I like to give my dogs. But I loved the dogsin that pack too! It was Phlip my Aussie, Shumai, My male Doberman, and Grin, my blue merle Aussie and Kala, my female Doberman were about 2 years old before I lost my girl Phlip. 

Since then I’ve had either 3 dogs or 2 dogs. Currently, I’m back to three. I like three, For me that is a perfect number of dogs. As you know my pack has recently expanded to 3 and certainly, that has had an effect on my newsletter writing cadence.  Captain, born 1/1/2023, my now 5-month-old Doberman has joined Batman (who is 2) and Sushi (who is 11 months) under our roof.

As you know my pack has recently expanded to 3 and certainly, that has had an effect on my newsletter writing cadence.  Captain, born 1/1/2023, my now 5-month-old Doberman has joined Batman (who is 2) and Sushi (who is 11 months) under our roof.

Was this a good time to get a puppy? Definitely NOT.  But I had been waiting for this breeding of Captain’s Dad for about 5 years so, between that and the fact that I’m not getting any younger, I decided to go for it.

Captain is a beautiful, large puppy! He is at the time of this writing 46 lbs. He is a red and rust color Doberman and has a fully natural body with floppy ears, a tail, and dew claws. He loves to train and he will be an awesome agility dog someday so we are building some foundations already for that.

I wanted to write a newsletter for you about the challenges of having 3 baby dogs.

Here are some:

  • My house seems so much smaller than it did the last time I had 3 dogs, not sure why…
  • My oldest dog, Batman just turned 2 and Sushi is not quite 11 months old. This is the youngest group of three I’ve had.
  • Captain is growing like a weed. He is already almost 10 lbs heavier than Batman and Sushi so I have to make sure, in play, that he is not being too rough on them.
  • Training! I try to spend individual time with each of them but time constraints often don’t allow me to do that. I do my best. Captain and Batman are both in classes at other dog training facilities. 
  •      Sushi is training here for now.
  • Cost. It certainly has increased the food and veterinary bills around here

What are the “good things” about this threesome?

  • They get along great, I think they are all really happy
  • They make me laugh most of the time. Captain at his age and size can be a little challenging and tiring but mostly he is super fun.
  • Having a third puppy can add even more stories and experiences to help my students with their dog training
  • Regarding Captain: 
  •  I needed one more Doberman in my life. Captain is my 5th Doberman and you know, you just have a breed that is your favorite!

The challenge I want to talk about is managing 3 young dogs on an off-leash walks.  

My dogs do all get along but I do a lot of management to make sure that continues to be the case.

Off-leash walks

Every day I walk the dogs off-leash in my woods. I have a stream here so we usually go there first. 

I say off-leash, but it doesn’t start that way. One problem with 3 dogs off the leash is if they get running, they can collide and hurt each other. I remember with horror about a student whose two dogs collided and caused some serious damage to each other. You know that saying: “It’s all fun and games until someone is wearing a cone”. It’s true!

So my whole walk, for now, is managing these three special dogs and making sure no one gets hurt. 

Now that Captain is bigger, we start off the walk with Captain on a sensation harness and sometimes a gentle leader. He gets too excited with the Border Collies chasing each other and this gives them a chance to run safely for a few minutes in circles and herd each other. Of course, Captain is not happy with this careful management applied to him but, too bad! I need to protect everyone and I cannot let Batman and Sushi get hurt by him!   He has no idea how big and strong he is.

After about 5 minutes or so when I can see that the excitement is turned down a little, I will let him off the leash but I immediately start doing recalls with all of them. 

I always bring LOTS of treats always on my walks which is mostly their kibble but I might put some high-value things in the bag too.

Once we are up in the woods, two of them might start wanting to chase each other again. I also try to keep that to a minimum so we go back to recalls. 

I’ve also trained them to put their front feet on rocks up in the woods. If they start to get a little crazy we go to that as well. I say “Feet!” and they find rocks to put their feet on and that distracts them from each other. It’s always about changing the subject when you are trying to manage play between dogs.

I will also sometimes say “Search!” and throw a handful of kibble on the ground. This causes them to disconnect from each other at random times.

The walks are a series of training sessions. 

One day I won’t have to work this hard on the walks but for now, it keeps everyone safe and continuously builds and reinforces the recall which is so important.

I hope one of these tips helps you manage multiple dogs on walks.

Dog play between dogs can be so addictive and like I said, it can cause injury and it's up to us to do our best to keep our dogs safe.