Five dogs in Five Years!
Yip, you read that right! Over the last five years my family and I have brought 5 dogs into our lives. Whenever I tell a colleague or friend, I have 5 dogs at home they most commonly ask ‘are you wise?’ and I would probably have said the same myself. Before I tell you how it is to live in a multidog household and offer some advice from my experiences, I will introduce you to the fab five!
Here we have Holly (4), Milly (4) and Ivy (2) – or the ‘girls’ as I like to call to them. The girls are English Springer Spaniels.
Millie and Hollie are sisters and are never apart. Like most Springer Spaniels the girls have a lovely tail wagging nature. They thrive on lots of vigorous activities as they have a lot of energy. I find the springers very affectionate and love a cuddle.
Ivy is still only 2 and very hyper, constantly wanting to play. They make a great friend and are peaceful with the other dogs which is vital. Springer Spaniels, being working dogs, are very intelligent and can be trained to do lots of tricks.
They like to please their pawrents and make a great pet. My brother Andrew primarily looks after the springers and they adore him. They are trained exceptionally well and are super well behaved for him. With me, they just want to run around and play.
Then we have Brandy the Rottweiler – He is almost 3 years old now (we fell for those puppy dog eyes) and is the friendliest, happiest boy.
My dad always wanted a Rottweiler. There are so many misconceptions about the breed, but I can honestly say he is a brilliant pet.
Brandy is very affectionate and sociable which we always wanted from the start. He loves meeting new people and is great with the other dogs. He is highly intelligent, and my dad has taught him lots of tricks.
He is also very obedient which makes walking him and taking him to the park a lot easier. I would advise when choosing any breed to do a lot of reading up before hand and decide if you can commit. We often get stopped and asked by strangers if Brandy is aggressive. I find it so sad that all Rottweilers are still stereotyped.
Finally, we have Jasper – Unfortunately, a sad tale with a happy ending. My dad found Jasper in May 2017 in a local park. Starving and petrified, hiding in the grass. We took him home with the plan on trying to locate his owner having thought he may have run away.
As soon as I seen him, the name Jasper just came to my head and I said he was staying with us if nobody came forward. I just fell for his nature, he adores affection. After a trip to the vet, we discovered he was not chipped and very underweight but generally good health.
Nobody ever came forward and I was secretly delighted as I knew we would provide the best home for him. He is such a loving dog and made a great pal for Brandy who we had brought home only two months later. The vet thought he was around 3 or 4 years old. He is very active and loves to run rounds the fields and swim in the river.
Tips for a multi dog household
Below I have put together some pointers which need to be considered before thinking about bringing a new dog into your home or indeed having a multi dog household.
Obviously bringing any pet into your home is a huge decision and a lot of responsibility but to own multiple dogs you will need to ensure you can are able to cope with the lifestyle that comes with this decision.
Every extra dog will take extra time and effort to feed, groom, exercise, and play with, as well as costing more money. And, if one dog misbehaves, it can incite the other dog to join in.
Be considerate of the existing dog's needs too; if your dog is senior and unlikely to welcome the rough and tumble of a new pup - this might not be a good time to bring a new dog into the family. On the other hand, it might be what a healthy but lazy elderly dog needs!
- Try introducing your new dog to your existing dog before bringing her home. If they seem to get along well together then you know it’s a good bet but if there are instant problems of aggression this could be a concern.
- Keep things running smoothly as they normally would once you have introduced your new dog. Keep up with the same routine and ensure you run your multidog household - not the dogs! It is easy for the canine pack mentality to take over and it can be easier for dogs to start viewing you or other family members as lower down the pack.
- Some people assume that two dogs will care for one another, thereby relinquishing the need to maintain control over each dog individually. However, the reality is you need to put as much effort into training and bonding with dog number two, three, four as you did with dog number one.
- Work towards letting your dogs spend time alone together. This may work well together from the beginning; however, it may take some time to reach this point. Consider separating them while you are out and leaving them together when at home, increasing the time slowly until they can be left together all the time.
- Know the signs of aggression – research dog body language and you will soon be able to tell what’s ‘just playing’ and what a real fight is about to start.
- Feed each dog in its own bowl, with plenty of space between them or even in separate crates/spaces if there are signs of aggression during feeding times.
- Give balanced attention – spend time with each dog on their own, training and bonding and playing.
- Ensure each dog has its own sleeping area. Make it clear which dog/toys/bowls belong to each dog, but don’t be surprised if they choose to sleep together. Just make sure there is enough space and bedding.
- Exercise your dogs regularly. This will release pent-up energy and will also reduce the desire to bark a lot, something neighbours don’t appreciate.
I hope you have enjoyed this little snippet of my life in a multidog home!
Until next time, Hayley and the Fab 5!