dreamstime_xs_61154856More dogs in the house equals more love, right? It can, but it can also be a disaster if not properly managed. Below are a few strategies to help you keep the peace if you’re living with more than one dog.

Good manners are a must. Start obedience training as soon as a new dog enters the household. Every dog in the house should follow your directions and know that you are in control. If your dogs are properly trained, and display good doggy manners, you’ll find that your multi-dog household will run smoother.

Siblings argue. Just like humans, anyone sharing a household will occasionally disagree. Stay on top of these spats to keep from turning into all-out fights. Prevention is the best way mange these situations, know how to interpret your dogs’ body language, and if you sense tension, separate the dogs immediately until they calm down. Fights can be caused by stolen food or toys, territory such as sleeping places, or vying for your attention.

Feeding time. Dogs should to be fed separately. Each dog should get his own bowl and his own time to eat. You just have to keep them apart. Separate them by space, or a physical boundary, if needed. Keep an eye on all the dogs to make sure each eats his own food and doesn’t try to steal from others.

Monitor play time. For dogs, wrestling, play biting and chasing, are all part of the game. Make sure you’re supervising playtime to ensure that it doesn’t escalate to fighting. Be aware of the dogs’ energy and take a time-out if you feel that it could escalate. This helps dogs develop self-control and leads to better behaved play time in the future.

Living with more than one dog can be a joy, but it’s your responsibility to manage their interactions. Establish rules early on and hire a professional to help if you feel like you’re losing control or serious fights are occurring.