2 Pugs + 2 Poodle Mixes = One Ornery Pack

By: David Codr

Published Date: April 17, 2014

Benji, Skippy, Ellie and FreslyAllow me to introduce From left to right) Beni, Skippy, Ellie and Fresly. The dogs were in separate homes before, but now they all live under the same roof.  Once they all got together, things started to get a little crazy. Their owners called me in to help calm them down and bring balance back to their home.

I sat down with their owners to discuss what they wanted to accomplish in the session. After discussing their goals, I asked what rules the dogs were expected to live by. After exchanging puzzled looks with one another and offering a few things that weren’t rules, they laughingly said “none.”

This is pretty common for my clients. Not all dogs need rules and structure, but when you have multiple dogs with different levels of social skill development, rules and structure can make a big difference.

I suggested a few rules that will help bring balance to the dogs, while also reinforcing the pack leader status to their humans. Whenever you add a rule to an activity that is repeated multiple times every day, you set yourself up for success. If you ask the dog to sit before you open the door to let them outside, the dog quickly starts to sit by the door on their own. This is a great way to define the leader follower dynamic.


Next I demonstrated a leadership exercise that they can practice with each dog to help it learn to focus, restrain itself and reinforce the human’s leadership position. When we started with each dog they were over excited and all over the place. But as we practiced, they became more focused and their energy level calmed down considerably. I coached all the members of the family through the exercise and suggested they practice it with each dog daily for the next week or two.

Next I showed their owners my trick to using a Martingale collar to stop the dogs from pulling on the leash. As always, it made it a snap to keep the dogs at a heel. I started out with one dog, then added one at a time until i was walking them all. I had to offer a few corrections, but for the most part they heeled nicely.

I handed the leash of two of the dogs to one of the owners and went over a few walking basics. Within a dozen steps or so they were walking in a perfect heel at her side. When she told me that she had never seem them so calm on a walk, i knew we were making great progress.

I suggested that they start walking the dogs this way daily. Walking is a great way to reinforce the leader follower relationship if done correctly. Because they aren’t young over excited dogs, a short 10 to 15 minute walk daily will drain unused energy and help them practice listening to their pack leader.

By the end of the session, the dogs were calm and responsive to their owners commands and corrections. It will take a little practice, but because of the progress we made int he session, it should only take a week or so for the dogs to adopt this calm, balanced demeanor, all of the time.

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This post was written by: David Codr

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