Train Your Dogs To Behave At Home
Most dog issues are from owners letting their dogs try to figure things out on their own. When a dog enters your home for the first time, they are no longer in a familiar environment. Think "grade school". When children enter a classroom for the first time, they are anxious, nervous and unsure about what to expect. Dogs need to know a few things so they can be comfortable. Am I going to be safe? Who is in charge? Can I trust you? How do I fit in? What's expected of me? Like kids, some dogs adapt quickly, while others need more time. This could be days, weeks, or months, it all depends on the dog. So don't be in a rush and take as much time as needed.
Another mistake dog owners make is assuming their dogs understand the human world. We can often confuse other people, for example shaking our heads "no" while saying "yes", or having an "active-listening" face that looks a lot like an angry face. Watching a foreign movie without subtitles can be difficult, but you can figure out what's going on because we are the same species. Now imagine your dog trying to figure you out! Without training, there is a lack of clarity for them which can lead to unwanted behaviors. For example, when you are vacuuming, your dog does not understand that you are cleaning the floor. Your face & body language gives away that you are not happy with this "creature" (because who likes to vacuum?), and so your dog becomes concerned. Then the vacuum starts "growling" loudly at you! You push it away but it keeps coming back at you! Most dogs become scared and either run away, hiding under the bed, or try to help you by attacking it, barking and/or biting it.
To prevent problems, start by following "grade school" protocols, assigning your dog a "place" to go and lay down, such as a dog bed. Stay-put is implied. You do not see school teachers saying "stay, staay, staaay" to the kids. If your dog gets up, have him return to his "place" and remain lying down. Repeat as many times as needed for your dog to get the message. Being in "place" is a great way for dogs to learn how to be ok with visitors, children, or scary things such as the vacuum.
Before allowing your dogs any off-leash freedom, be sure to teach ALL your dogs the basics: Walk politely on a leash, come when called, be polite at thresholds, wait calmly for food, have a rock solid "place" command, and be polite around others and their personal space. Even if your new dog is already trained, train again with you as the teacher. Teaching ALL your dogs to be consistently in a relaxed and obedient state of mind will help them learn to coexist and behave around others.
also helps prevent unwanted behaviors and ensure all your dogs are safe when unsupervised. Crating your dogs near each other, side-by-side is best. However you have to ensure that all dogs in the crates are practicing good behaviors. If one or more of your dogs are stressed, barking, whining, carrying on, trying to escape, then you've got a recipe for disaster brewing. (Imagine living next to the worst neighbor in the world and how it would make you feel. Same goes for your dogs.) If you can't ensure good behavior, place pegboard between the crates to block their view, or crate them in different rooms until they are trained. Do not give in to whining and barking to be let out (with the exception of needing to potty) or your dogs will learn to throw tantrums to get what they want. To help your dogs be calm and quiet, you can provide a bone or chew toy to enjoy in their crates.
Dogs are constantly assessing everyone. If your dogs see that you do not have control of the environment and everyone in it, you have a recipe for disaster brewing. If you don't create and demand polite, respectful behaviors, then you can almost guarantee that one of your dogs will. If you allow your dog to become king in your home, don't be surprised when your dog starts setting rules for his kingdom.
Do not let your dogs compete over resources, this includes you attention and affection. There can be NO favoritism, no "teacher's pet". This can create competition and aggression. While you pet one dog, do not let another dog intrude and become the center of attention or you may create competition for your affection. Do not give your dogs any attention for being nudgy, barking or jumping. Reward only polite behaviors.
Never let your dogs work things out for themselves, or you send a message that you will not get involved when there is social conflict. If your dogs growl or fight over an object, don't scold them, just remove it. If your dog intimidates another dog or person by staring, interrupt the stare and redirect your dog to another behavior. If your dog steals something, give it back to who originally had it. For some dogs, ALL toys, bones, chew toys, etc should be picked up and put away before allowing your dogs off-leash. Don't leave anything out for dogs to fight over. Remember to keep crate doors closed to prevent fighting over their "bedrooms".
If you don't make time to train your dogs, you will be forced to make time for their behaviors. Be patient! And when you think you've been patient, be patient some more. Taking time to do things right today is so much easier than trying to undo unwanted behaviors later. Of course there are many dogs that you could throw all this out the window, turn them loose instantly and have zero issues. Unfortunately, I get all the calls for the dogs where it didn't work out that way.