Does your dog know its own name? The majority of people would say “yes, of course”, however when calling one of your dogs, does it result in a stampede, with all the dogs coming over at once, especially when food is on offer. Owners often label this as FOMO (fear of missing out), resulting in the owners rewarding all the dogs, as they feel it unfair to treat them any different.
Imagine for a moment, that if every time you called one of your children, they all came running; you would, without doubt question this behaviour. You would not treat them all the same, because they are individuals, with their own likes, dislikes, strengths and weaknesses.
Dogs are no different, and to get the very best from each dog it is important to treat them as individuals. Like humans, all dogs are unique and bring something different to the family pack. You may have one that is exceptional at performing tricks, whereas the others are not so good, another may be brilliant at fetch, where others may quickly lose interest, and so on. Each dog will be good at something and not so good at something else, however, if a dog is praised for something it does correctly, the others will pick up on this and copy that behaviour, thus giving you what you want, without all the frustration. How nice would it be, if when you called one dog, he/she came straight away, without the others following or pushing in.
Dogs operate at a ‘what’s in it for me’ level, and it doesn’t take long for them to work out what behaviour gives them the best outcome. To make this work to your advantage, when calling one dog to you, ignore the others, keeping your eye contact and focus on the dog that you have called. If the others are pushing in, just block them with your hand and only reward the dog that you called. A little later repeat the process, but this time with a different dog. They will soon realise that pushing in does not give them the best outcome.
If you have multiple dogs, it’s a good idea to spend time with them separately, as this helps build a solid bond between owner and each dog independently. We can liken this to groups of friends. As a group we engage with one another at a basic level, but it is by interacting with friends individually and independently of the group, that we build deeper connections and more fulfilling relationships.
If you put in the time and effort to build these relationships with each dog independently, through play, training and grooming, you will reap the rewards. Your dog's will want to please you, as the pay-off for them, is quality time spent with you, without them feeling like they have to jostle for your attention.
We offer an holistic, stress free approach to eradicating unwanted behaviour.