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My boyfriend and I plan on moving in together this June, and although we are in love, our pups are not. His household consists of 2 big dogs, Madison (a lab) and Zoey (a mutt). Although my boyfriend is a strong individual, he is not a strong pack leader. Both of his dogs have behaviors such as jumping, incessant barking, and odd and high-strung cries out for attention.

Enter me: I come with another dog, also a mutt, and also named Zoey, about 65 pounds. Not to brag, but my Zoey is a very well behaved dog. :) She is by no means perfect, but she certainly doesn’t have too many tough to deal with habits. C’mon! Did you really think the woman would be wrong here? ;)

When all together, Zoey 2 (my dog) is overwhelmed. The other Zoey (Zoey 1) and Madison are high strung and the barking is making Zoey 2 (my Zoey) anxious and confused (it is also having that effect on me too)! When my boyfriend tries to reprimand Zoey 1 (his zoey), Zoey 2 (my Zoey) is confused and doesn’t understand. It is hard for me, a human to even write this clearly, imagine how the dogs feel! She is so uncomfortable and cries when we are at my boyfriend’s house. I am slowly making her more comfortable by increasing the time of our visits little by little, giving her a bed there, and ignoring her crying, but I don’t know how to handle the situation because it has only gotten a tiny bit better. Obviously we probably need a trainer, and I would like to start that before the “move in” but looking for any advice to try before hiring someone. It is like a crazy zoo in his house! Do I change my Zoey’s name? She is 6 years old. His dogs are 12 and 9, and both in fantastic shape. Three big dogs are a lot to handle, but three big dogs with stubborn behaviors and 2 with the same name is a chaotic mess!
 

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Having a different name for one of the Zoeys would probably cause less confusion.
And it's not hard for them to learn a new name (they can do it in a few days)
Here's how.

Your boyfriend needs to take responsibility and train his dogs.
Pets require a lot of work and it's not always fun and games.
You could hire a trainer and the earlier you do that the better, but you both need to reinforce what the trainer teaches you or it will all be for not.
also you shouldn't use a dog's name when you are correcting them.
A sharp "no" or "enough" is all that should be said. Their name should be associated with positivity so you can have a reliable recall.

You should keep the dogs separate until everyone is adjusted to the move and then introduce them.
You don't want to overwhelm them.
Here's how.
 

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also you shouldn't use a dog's name when you are correcting them.
A sharp "no" or "enough" is all that should be said.
I agree with everything, except I'm a little on the fence about this one, just because of the multi-dog household situation. If you are correcting (and I do mean verbal correction here!), I noticed when we had Dexter and Caeda together, if we didn't say the dog's name first the other one looked confused, and in some cases the non-corrected dog changed what it was doing (which may have been perfectly good and fine!). I'm sure others who have more experience in multi-dog homes can chime in here and give some better advice though, that's just something I noticed when we had two roaming around here together!
 

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Actually you may only need to introduce saying Zoey 1 or saying Zoey 2 when you in the group.. I had my Faye, and then brought in Julia whom I started calling J (she was an escape artist and a Runner) it was easier to call out " J " then Julia and she responded well to J.. If I needed to get one or the others attention I did have to give an extra F sound for Fah Faye, and Jah J .. For me just starting out putting your group together , when you need to intervene .. You should get up walk over to the individual and escort them off to the side to get them out of a situation and get them going in the right direction.



If you want your dogs to have boundaries as a group and as individuals, get up and give them direction, Help them. separate quiet time for everyone should be a norm when it gets too rowdy.. All the dogs should have a safe spot that they truly find comfort and security in. Lots of work ahead of you but you have an idea of what it takes to get there. Solid Structure is very calming for a group even when they unskilled...... Free for all is just chaos lol..
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Thank you all so much for your responses! They are so helpful!

Chichan: thank you for the links, awesome!

As far as name changing, I know Zoey won't know the difference. All of the humans in her life are having such a tough time with the idea. Sigh...

Do you all think that if you give a firm/sharp "no" directed with eyes and body at one of the 3 pups that it will be obvious? How do I desensitize my Zoey, if she is laying down and calm she gets a bit agitated with my correction to the other pups? Maybe I am needlessly worrying and that will just go away once she is comfortable and I properly introduce her to the new household.

Interesting input, Patricia

My game plan:
1. work with the 2 pups at the boyfriends house
2. Hire a trainer
3. Short frequent visits
4. Lots of reinforcement

Now, off to research the most annoying problem: barking. Incessant barking to wake us up at 5am, to get attention, to show dominance. AHHHHH!

Thank you all again! Grateful for the advice and comments!
 

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consider not provoking a group of dogs that is attacking each other in about 6 months because they are a nervous stressed out wreck living in the home. Is why I say if you get skills and time spent on each individual, and enjoy working them as a group with using those same individual learned skills, Make them each the most confident skilled Individuals they can be.. and the group will fall into place in the home.. If your raising your voice and using fear as a distraction it just chaos,, it serves you, but it doesn't help the dogs long term ... Daily Schedule everyone has a very specific job . ( Walk them through it daily) from morning potty time, meal times, walk time, play time, and house quiet time. Go back to puppy basics and really work on defining what they didn't pick up the first time around in training.. Help them.... Calm dogs who are confident in their own skin in their environment ,, the chaos lessons... Use crate training and Baby gate training to help you (have that extra set of hands so your not always dealing with a mob situation and chaos) It's not about dominance to make them do anything,,,, if you teach them skills and teach them their jobs and place in the home, with you, and your group, they will be willing participants to accomplish it. You don't have to use dominance or fear.. they will gladly do it because they learned that it's positive to accomplish it.. Take control of your house, be willing to get up and walk over to the dogs and work with them .. You wont have to do it for ever,,, but in the beginning you must be proactive and understand they don't know the right answers at this time...
 

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I have multi-dogs in my home and I always use their names whether it is to get them to do something or not to do something. I have been thinking of something else and have opened the door for Remmy to come in but said Monty instead and it takes me a minute to realize why he is just standing there looking at me. They know they are not to come in or out a door or gate until I say their names.

I thought I had made a mistake when I named Kris and also have Kiska as I quite often just call Kiska, Kiss but they do not seem to get mixed up.
 

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I agree with everything, except I'm a little on the fence about this one, just because of the multi-dog household situation. If you are correcting (and I do mean verbal correction here!), I noticed when we had Dexter and Caeda together, if we didn't say the dog's name first the other one looked confused, and in some cases the non-corrected dog changed what it was doing (which may have been perfectly good and fine!). I'm sure others who have more experience in multi-dog homes can chime in here and give some better advice though, that's just something I noticed when we had two roaming around here together!
I can completely see the issue with that in a multi-dog home.
I only have one dog so I wasn't aware of that issue, but it makes sense.
Thanks :)
 

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I can completely see the issue with that in a multi-dog home.
I only have one dog so I wasn't aware of that issue, but it makes sense.
Thanks :)
I had never realized it until we had the two dogs together...it took a while to catch onto it, months actually, we started noticing Caeda doing things a little differently than she had before Dexter showed up. The same went for commands "Name....Command", which unfortunately got me in trouble at Schutzhund a lot since all you are supposed to say is the command...Oops!! I'm sure others have ways of dealing with it, but saying the name first was my way...I try not to scold too much though, at most it was a mild "warning tone" in a command like "leave it".
 
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