Sunday, July 20, 2014

Adding to the Pack – Toys/Bones

When you bring a new dog into your house with other dogs, you have the opportunity to help the transition go smoothly. For the few first weeks while the relationships between the dogs are new, it’s wise to keep toys and bones put away. High valued items can cause fights, especially while the dogs are getting to know each other.  In multiple dog households, there typically is a more dominant dog than the others. They tend to guard their toys and bones and even take them away from the other dogs.

Whether you have one dog or multiple dogs, it’s important for them to respect all items as yours first, so by keeping toys and bones put away and giving them out at your discretion you are exercising your leadership muscle. Take it one step further and use the “nothing for free” approach which means before giving your dog something she wants, ask her to work for it by sitting or giving a paw. This is a great way to practice all the basic commands or an opportunity to teach your dog a new trick.

Once you are comfortable introducing toys or bones, keep in mind if you want to avoid potential conflicts make sure you have multiple resources. If each dog has a toy or bone to play with, the likelihood of a fight breaking out will be lessened. This doesn't mean you have exactly two of everything but use your judgement.

Judique and Effie learn to share

Effie has been with us now for 5 months. It took me a couple of months before introducing toys and bones inside the house. And I still pick up all toys at the end of the day. I've learned how my dogs interact with toys, especially bones. And I've learned who likes which toy the best! My senior Bear has no issue with toys or bones with either dog. As far as my young Huskies, there are times that even putting out multiple toys, one dog inevitably wants what the other dog has.  Effie’s sister Judique is the boss and nearly always gets her way, unless of course I feel the need to intervene. Again use your knowledge and judgement.

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