And so we’ve reached our final week (for now!) with my furry children, Mylo & Charlie, who are currently lying sleeping and obviously both having very exciting dreams by the sounds of it!
This week I want to talk about how to live in a household with more than one pet.
After the difficult few months we had adapting Mylo into our home, I honestly never thought I would agree to bring another pup into the mix. However, after a while, it seemed to make perfect sense; we already had the equipment, the bowls, the beds, the blankets, the leads etc. It would mean fantastic company for Mylo as well as piece of mind for us whilst at work that our fur baby had some company and I genuinely thought if we made it through the first few months with Mylo, any other dog would be a breeze!
Luckily, I was right and for the most part Charlie, despite his need for human contact, if he’s with you, he is THE most chilled out little man, he’s just so happy for you to spend time with him.
The struggles come in that both dogs have completely polarising personalities.
Mylo, although he loves a cuddle, is generally quite independent. He likes to do his own thing, when and how he wants, it will usually take 3 times (and his full name!) for him to actually listen to your request. He is incredibly smart, you might say too smart(!), e.g. if you ask him to go and get your shoes, he will go and get them and bring them to you, although he doesn’t quite grasp the idea of how to play fetch and will take the ball and go and get into his kennel with it! He loves to bask in the sun and I would go as far as describing his personality traits as almost quite feline in nature!
Charlie, is much more dependent, if you’re in the house, he needs to be with you. He is what I would call more of a dogs dog. He wants to play, he loves fetch and drops the ball at your feet every time you throw it, our game could easily last hours if I let it and he would never get bored! He is what I would imagine was in mind when the phrase, “Man’s best friend” was coined.
Given their different demeanours, we’ve had to implement differing strategies to deal with them, namely when it come to walks and feeding. There will be a lot of learning along the way but I’ve included are some tips to help make the transition as smooth as possible for both yourself and your pet below from our own learnings!
- Consider carefully before adding more dogs to your household.
- Every extra dog will take extra time and effort to feed, groom, exercise, and play with, as well as costing more money. Albeit, our extra expense was minimal as despite Mylo’s mild epilepsy, they are both healthy doggos!
- Also, if one dog misbehaves, it can incite the other dog to join in! My main issue is not being sure who was naughty, although the one with their ears and head down is usually the guilty party...
- Be considerate of the existing dog's needs too; if your dog is senior and unlikely to welcome the rough and tumble of a puppy, this might not be a good time to bring a new dog into their household.
- Introduce your new dog to the existing dog outside of the household if possible. This is simply because your own dog may be protective of his or her own territory, so if they’re introduced on “neutral” ground, off their leads, they will be much more likely to accept them coming into their home!
- Keep things running smoothly and bond with each one of your dogs separately.
- Once you have successfully introduced the dogs, it's time to start running your multi-dog household with you in charge, not the dogs. It may sound easy but when there is more than one dog, the canine pack mentality can take over and there can be a tendency for the dogs to start viewing you or other family members as lower down the pack. To this day, we often have issues with Mylo on this point. It’s often clear that Mylo views our house as his and that we just happen to be there a lot of the time! Obedience training is key here, maintaining your position as “Alpha” – my husband is much better at this due to my impatience and my soft spot for Mylo’s gorgeous face!
- Let your dogs spend time alone together once adjusted.
- This is important because when they're home alone, ideally it's best if they can keep one another company and not miss you or other human companionship while you're away.
- Feed each dog in its own bowl, with plenty of space between them. This is something we have implemented, luckily not down to any aggressive behaviour but simply to make sure each dog is getting fed and that one dog isn’t eating both meals! Mylo tends to eat in one sitting whereas Charlie is more of a grazer and so we like to feed them when we’re in the house and keep Charlie in the same room as us to make sure Mylo doesn’t help himself!
Mylo, Charlie and I have loved giving you all a little insight into our lives together and we hope you enjoyed learning about us!
A Day in the Life will continue next week where you’ll meet our Elaine, our Commercial Director and her four legged friends!
Lots of Love,
Mylo, Charlie and Gemma x