What’s it About?
Would you like to live in harmony in a house with multiple dogs?! It can most easily be obtained when positive reinforcement training techniques are used, along with proper living space management and good feeding habits. You’ll learn how to do all those things in this book.
You’ll also learn techniques for adding new dogs, group training and exercise, playtime, resolving issues with problem dogs, and all the other things you need to know to guide you through your life with multiple dogs. Throughout the book there are examples of real life experiences of people using these techniques.
Whether you live two dogs, six dogs, or more, How Many Dogs?! will help bring joy into your home.
About the Author
Debby began training dogs and their owners in 1998 at the Animal Friends shelter in Pittsburgh, PA. In 2002 she started her dog training and behavior consulting business, Pawsitive Reactions, LLC. She is a founding member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC), a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC), and a long time professional member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT). A member of the Doberman Pinscher Club of America, she is also the founder and president of Damon’s Den Doberman Rescue of Western PA. She lives with four personal dogs as well as a rotating crew of rescues and would have it no other way.
Published 2010 Distributed by Dogwise Publishing
McMullen has trained dogs professionally since 1998, and like many owners, her canine menagerie grew without much planning. She adopted an unwanted puppy, took in a stray, and fostered a rescue or two. These dog acquisitions might have happened without a great deal of forethought, but McMullen stresses that a relaxed approach to a multi-dog home must end there. How Many Dogs?! is a straightforward, realistic book full of valuable guidance.
McMullen’s methods are based on real-life experiences living with multiple dogs. She emphasizes that owners must establish leadership to avert chaos, but a domineering approach rarely achieves desired results. “It is not your job to dominate your dogs, nor to let them dominate each other,” McMullen writes. “It’s all about benevolence. You are the benevolent leader.” She discusses strategies for feeding a gang of dogs, sleeping with a bed full of dogs, ensuring the comfort of old or infirm dogs, and the tricky business of group training. For multi-dog households, training is an ongoing experience. She explains how to incorporate it into everyday life, as well as how to avoid complications caused by unintentional training: “Every interaction you have with your crew trains them in some way.”
The book is full of advice and ideas, but McMullen admits there are no standard rules. Owners must tailor their routines to the dynamics of their particular dogs. However, dogs will be dogs, and she is realistic about situations likely to arouse pack mentality, such as walking multiple dogs, visiting a dog park and the arrival of a new dog. “You will know when the mixed group can be trusted to be left alone together when you are not home,” McMullen writes. “And in some cases, the answer may be never. But if integration is to happen, you must never move toward this goal incrementally.” Most importantly, she makes readers aware of signs that trouble is brewing, and steps they can take to defuse conflict before it escalates into a dog fight. Amy Fernandez