I have just recently added a new dog to my household. That has taken the dog count up from two to three. I have always known that dogs have their own rules when it comes to ranking among the pack as well as a whole separate set of rules for socializing among themselves and with other dogs outside the pack. Now that I have introduced a new dog to the pack it has been fascinating to watch how they each play their roll.
There has been some tension between the new dog and the lab over who is going to be the number two dog in the pack. I let them go at first, seeing if things would work themselves out. What I found was not only tension but a separation was beginning to happen. I was unsure what to do at first, then i remembered what an old friend and dog enthusiast had once told me. He said when you get a new dog, be sure to include them in all activities that involve the dogs and be sure to herd them once a day. What he meant by herd them was to force them together. I began doing this when I came home. I would call the dogs and force them to sit in the same spot, all of them together. It was tough at first because of the rivalry going on, but after a few days they actually began to come together with no problems at all. Now they all sleep together and whatever tensions there may be now, they are not to the exclusion of any dog.
It took me a while to get accustomed to the differences that come with having three dogs as opposed to two, and let me assure you there are differences. Now that I have been able to witness the amazing interaction that takes place, I have been able to come up with different ways of managing the three dogs. It's not as difficult as I thought it would be in all actuality the alpha, Frankie does most of the work. If things even hint at becoming a problem I am there to nip it in the bud.
I have noticed as the days and weeks go by the dogs have become more accustomed to the change. It has helped in ways I did not expect. I have a very anxious lab, now that there are two other dogs that are more mellow, they don't allow the lab to be anxious. She still is, but as time moves forward she is becoming less so. I believe that is the pack doing its thing to help one of its own. It has been a wonderful thing to witness.
So if any of you out there are thinking of breaking the two dog barrier, let me give you some assurance. Things will be different, but in the most unexpected ways. If it is something you have the time and room for I would highly recommend it. There are a lot of dogs that need someone to keep them healthy and happy. Maybe that someone is you.