Have you ever lived with or worked with dogs that are fighting in the same home? Also known as intra-household dog to dog aggression, these can be incredibly stressful cases for all involved because the dogs are living under one roof together, so it can feel like you never can get a moment of not worrying about when the next fight might happen.
In this episode of Fresh Bites on The Bitey End of the Dog, I chat with the wonderful duo of Christina Young and Jade Zwingli from the Legion of Dogs which is an educational initiative all about multi-dog living. We discuss understanding dog to dog aggression in the home, what potential outcomes can be, and how to avoid many conflicts that can happen with dogs living together.
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If you want to take your knowledge and skills for helping dogs with aggression to the next level, check out the Aggression in Dogs Master Course and get a FREE preview here:
Don't miss out on the third annual Aggression in Dogs Conference 9/30-10/2/22:
Have you ever lived with or worked with dogs that are fighting in the same home, also known as intra household dog to dog aggression. These can be incredibly stressful cases for all involved because the dogs are living under one roof together, so it can feel like you never get a moment of not worrying about when the next fight might happen. In this episode of fresh bites on the bitey end of dog, I chat with the wonderful duo of Christina young and Jade Zwingli. From the lesion of dogs, which is an educational initiative all about multi dog living. We discuss understanding dog to dog aggression in the home, what potential outcomes can be, and how to avoid many conflicts that can happen with dogs living together. And if you are working with aggression cases or plan on taking aggression cases as a trader, or maybe even struggling with your own dog, we have a variety of educational opportunities just for you, including the upcoming aggression in dogs conference happening from September 30 Through October 2 2022. in Providence, Rhode Island, with both in person and online options. You can also learn more about the aggression in dogs master course, which is the most comprehensive course available anywhere in the world for learning how to work with and help dogs with aggression issues by going to aggressive dog.com. And if you are interested in hearing more about applicable tangible and immediate steps you can use with your own dog or in your cases, check out this subscription series I just watched which is an additional format to the podcast where I walk you through a variety of aggression cases and how to solve them you'll find a little subscribe button on Apple podcasts where the by the end of the dog show is listed. Your support of the show is very much appreciated I'm really excited for this episode because we're going to be talking about one of my favorite topics which is dog dog issues and multi dog homes and of course all the issues that we can experience when we're living with multiple dogs whether it's two or 20 in our home. So let's kind of jump right in here. What do you guys typically see as the main issues when you have multiple dogs in a home I know it's your kind of your focus right now but if you want to have like a top list of issues that you can experience when you have multiple dogs, what would it be definitely food guarding spaces you feed food in massive for multi dog homes and it's usually the first thing I like to try and prevent with people when they're first getting a new dog. And then we also see toy guarding those being the main two ones. We also see commonly people guarding so one dog will not want the other dogs near their person or near the couch that type of thing. And if you were to say the number one reason that clients reach out to you guys for help, or would it be real with Jade first so so people know the voices behind the resource guarding or reactivity one of those one of those two hot topics with multiple dogs because they tend to get progressively worse the more dogs you have, like reacting to each other. So we activity between the dogs are are one hazard activity and it spreads like the plague, then they're all reactive together as a team. Okay, and Christina, you say the same? Yes, the same, having multiple dogs barking at the windows charging visitors when they come in. And then the fighting amongst them over resources. Okay, so let's let's focus on that topic, that resource guarding issue between dogs and some solutions as well as management assessing everything that's going on. And let's talk about assessment first, you know, so you get a call from a client, you go into the home here history of dogs fighting, how do we know it's over resources? How do we know it's not something else. Sometimes it's more than one thing that usually when I'm going through an assessment with a client, I want to find out the history of the issues. So we're going through them place by place time by time, and just really getting into each situation, because sometimes the client doesn't know it's resource guarding. And they don't realize they've set the dogs up to fail either. So that can happen. A lot of the times people will come to us because their dogs are fighting and they might not really have a clear picture of the why you'll hear they were fine. And then they exploded out of nowhere, or, you know, so and so was like Jekyll and Hyde. You'll hear that a lot where the owner doesn't really see the picture of what's going on for the dogs. So when a client's might reach out to you and say, you know, my dogs are fighting, right, you were talking about the assessment, but what questions would you ask to kind of tone down? Is it actually dogs or dog resource guarding? Or maybe that's the main focus of what we're going to work on in that case. So when I'm seeing clients, what I try to do before I even get into the issues with the people is I kind of go through the dog's lifestyle. So what time things happen, how they happen. So if we're looking at feeding, I'd be like, oh, when do you feed, how do you feed Where do you feed? And then by the time we get into issue, I already have a really good picture of how they're managing their dogs day to day. So it becomes pretty obvious. Getting a picture of the dog's day to day life is a big thing. So does it just happen when they're in the house? Does it just happen in the mornings? Does it happen on walks? Does it happen when visitors come over getting a picture of the situation where the fighting happens? That will give us an idea of why the fighting is happening so we can make a plan for it? What are the kind of what are the most common resources you would see dogs compete over? You know, people think we're thinking about resource guy everything about food, but it can be other things? Or would you guys categorize for the people, sleeping spaces, food areas where fun things happen. So in my home, in particular, I have a set area where I do most of my training. And when I have resource guarding issues in the home, I can often see it become about the space just as much as that about actual food, because that space predicts food and high energy activities. It's almost like we can have contexts in which there's competition over resources. So it's that you know, the rich history of reinforcement in a certain location. But, you know, do you think dogs can kind of perceive even if it's not, let's say, we don't even replicate that same location, we go somewhere else. But a lot of the other antecedent arrangements are in play, look at the owner having a treat pouch on or something else that's cueing the environment, sort of that picture, which is that something you commonly see or something you'd assessed for? It's definitely something we look at when we're going through the history of when incidents happen. I find most commonly resource guarding though it is pretty linked to the home environment, don't always see it with my clients, dogs, at least when we go out of the home. So like an example, you might see toy guarding in the home, but then we go outside to a big field, it's a neutral space. And if there's more than one toy, particularly it seems to be okay. Not that I would encourage that keep doing that. Yeah, I do see that. When people leave their actual home with their dogs, some of these issues go away, like they could even go on vacation or camping, and it's not be present. So it's, it's a little bit strange that way in the multi dog homes. Christina, would you say that you use outdoor spaces more for the initial work? And some of these? Would you say it's helpful? Let's say the dogs have a significant history of conflicts inside the home or in certain spaces? Do you sometimes say, alright, let's start outside in your backyard, or different or completely neutral place? Where this particular issue? Do you find that helpful? Oh, absolutely. If we have an area where the animals have a history of gardening and history of anxiety or history of tension between them, if we can take them outside of that picture, and train the behaviors that we're hoping to build in, we can train them outside of the area where the anxiety happens, or where the fighting happens. And then we can once those skills are fluent, we can put them back into those more 10 scenarios. Yes, training outside, if the fighting or the anxiety is happening inside can be a great way to start building some fluid behaviors for the dogs so we can help them learn to feel comfortable around each other. And to perform the skills that will need will mean go back inside, when you train that outside or in any other context that doesn't present the same picture for the dogs as the one that they've been fighting in. Yeah, so it sounds like you're spelling out what we would also consider as management, which is a significant aspect of these cases, right? So anytime we have multiple dogs, you know, two or 20, we need to be talking about management. So what are some things that people can put in place? You know, that start we'll start with the basics, and then maybe we can get into some other advanced stuff with management. But what would you say are typical management solutions in a multi dog home expense creates baby gates, if we have dogs that have conflict between themselves, having ways to separate them, so they're not always on guard is the number one priority. So if it's just around food items, we might have separation just around those areas. But baby gates, X pens, separate rooms, ways to give the dogs spaces where they can just relax and not be worried or not be kind of looking over their shoulder to see if their Nemesis is around the corner waiting to steal their bed or come look at their bone or what have you. And Jade would you say there's any issues with management scenario sometimes, you know, so if you have a baby gate in between two dogs, for instance, can there be problems that you might encounter? There can be massive problems with management. Some people have to do multiple gates, so the dogs can't actually have any contact. I've had to do a situation where I actually had to put a crate in its own room, because the dog resource guarded the crate even when there was no other students So it was just very exciting to him and having other dogs approach that crate was a trigger. So sometimes you have to have multiple rooms, multiple spaces. So when you're dealing with lots of dogs, you do have to actually consider whether the home you live in is going to be adequate for a safe space. Yeah, I was just kind of I was kind of thinking about that question. You know, if somebody has six dogs and four rooms or something like that, or they live in a smaller house, can you speak about some of the issues that happen with tighter spaces and you know, smaller environments where it's difficult to manage? Yeah, I think you get into a place sometimes where having all the dogs stay in the home while you're working through the issue doesn't work if you can't adequately have decompression time. And that's where I would look at having a dog either go stay somewhere else for a little while, while you work through things with the dog that's having them the bulk of the issue, or potentially even a rehome situation, depending on what's going on. Because we really have to look at quality of life. And if we can't give each individual dog in the home good quality of life by separating them properly. That's not really humane. Christina, would you also agree about in terms of management aspects, muzzles? So we often get a lot asked a lot of questions like should I incorporate muzzles? Or should I use a muzzle at certain times? But Jay was just mentioning about that welfare aspect and like what could be kind of going against the animal's welfare when we're using excessive muscling? or excessive management? So what are your What are your insights on that? Yes, I love muscles. And I believe they do have a place and this, again, comes down to the risk assessment. So is the aggression ritualized? Or are they actually trying to kill each other? Are they doing damage and that's when we look at the number of fights and the number of fights that resulted in actual injury to the dogs, and that will help us decide about the muzzles or how often to muzzle I personally don't think it's humane to keep an animal muzzle 24/7. And if there is that level of risk, where another dog or person who gets in between could be seriously injured, then our management changes so that we now will need two levels of safety between the dogs in case one fails. Because as we know, management often fails, baby gates come down, dogs go over them doors don't get latched properly, muscles come off. And if there is a significant level of risk, we're looking at muzzling a lot. And now adding in two levels of safety and excessive muzzling. It might be kinder to the animals and the people living in the home. If we just look to rehome, one of those even temporarily, one of the dogs can go live on a kind of a vacation for a few months. Yeah, J, do you look like you might want to add to that? Well, I think the problem with muzzles is they're preventing an injury from happening, but they're not preventing the behavior from occurring, or how the dogs feel about the situation. Like it's not actually creating a better environment for the dog. And then the other thing is if we have a muzzle on a dog, but our dogs that have issues are significantly different sizes, a large dog could still really hurt a small dog even wearing a muzzle. And to be perfectly honest, I find muzzles fail a lot. Clients are not necessarily the most comfortable fitting them properly, keeping them on properly. I've seen dogs get out of them. So for me, they're kind of a situation where I'd only use them. Like if I'm trying to work dogs closer together just as a backup, but it wouldn't be my day to day management plan for a multi dog home with resource guarding. Have you seen cases where there's an issue where management so good solid management, you go in there with your classic strategy of this is how we're going to keep your dog safe and stop them from fighting for the time being? Can Have you seen it make things worse? For whatever reason? Maybe the dogs have some separation distress from each other? Or perhaps there's too much of a change in environment? Can you speak about that a little bit? For sure. I find separation anxiety and resource guarding are often linked together, especially if the resource guarding is of the owner and not necessarily a food item. But if we're increasing the anxiety in the dog with our management strategy, we're not actually going to move forward and treating the resource guarding. I am a big fan of a temporary home that people can do them. For example, I had a dog really, really young cuddle dog, massive resource guarding rate at eight weeks old. I had a snoozer and he was attacking her. Not severe injury, but her level of stress was high. So I rehome turf to a family member's home while I worked with a puppy. And I think that's important to do because it wasn't fair for her to be in that environment. She likes other dogs. She didn't understand that there was going to be spatial concerns you And she was just getting beat up by this puppy because he was already bigger than her by three months old. And it's something we commonly see, right the the younger dog, that's the aggressor. And it's not always the case sometimes the older dogs can be the problem, start the problems, but oftentimes that younger dog right, and so just need any thoughts on on that dynamic in terms of successful pairings? If you're if you had a dream multi dog home, what would the pairings be? Or what would you say okay, here's six dogs for you. Well, let's not go with six I'll make the hard. Let's use three dogs for you. And you're going to pick three in the age and sex of the dogs were the most success. It really depends on the breed and certain breeds are more inclined towards aggression and resource guarding certain types of dogs. Certainly, I have big feeling dogs. I love dogs that love to do everything right now all the time. I've HYDrive Border Collies and an American Eskimo who has big feelings. And with the breeds, I have the selection I would choose as I would go for dogs that are the same size and that we reconsider having a smaller Spitz in a home with Border Collies because it's not necessarily a good match. So starting from scratch, I would go for dogs, similar size, similar play styles, and similar kind of draws in life. So the herders like to herd the Eskimo has a high prey drive, it's not necessarily the easiest match. And we'll see that to where people would love. They really, really want a big dog like a Dane or Corso, and a Chihuahua. And that might not be the it's not that it's impossible, but it might not be the easiest match, to end up with a safe home where everyone gets along and his best friends. And do you have a certain age range? You would put those dogs in? You might have answered that. What age would you put all those dogs, the kind of rule of thumb I tell my clients is three or four years between dogs. And that way we're not having to adolescence at the same time with all the hormones and big feelings that comes with that. Or, you know, two dogs that are teething at the same time or reaching social maturity at the same time, we just kind of spread that out. So only one dog is going through those big life changes. And then the sex of the dogs might matter. Again, that often depends on the breed. Some breeds are more predisposed to same sex aggression. So if I were to get two Corsos, I might choose to opposite sex of the breed. Same with Border Collies, I would pick a male and a female over to females most likely. And it's not that that's guaranteed to be there. But it's seen more in those breeds when we have same sex aggression. That's a great response to segue into the next topic, which is risk assessment. But first, we're going to take a quick break and hear a word from our sponsors. Hey, friends, it's me again. And I hope you are enjoying this episode, you may have figured out that something I deeply care about is helping dogs with aggression issues live less stressful, less confined, more enriched, and overall happy lives with their guardians. Aggression is so often misunderstood. And we can change that through continued education, like we received from so many of the wonderful guests on this podcast. 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This year's lineup includes many of the amazing guests you might have heard on the podcast including Suzanne Cole the air, Jen Shryock, Simone Bueller, Dr. Ampere Batson Kim Brophy, turismo noir, Lauren Monaco, tirelli, Dr. Simone Gadbois, and many more, head on over to aggressive dog.com and click on the car Hopkins tab to learn more about the exciting agenda on everything from advanced concepts and leash reactivity to using positive reinforcement to work with predatory behavior. And I want to take a moment to thank one of our sponsors for the conference. As a family of world class trainers fenzi Dog Sports Academy provides expert and accessible instruction for competitive dog sports using the most progressive training methods and positive reinforcement techniques. Through their online platform. Students are able to access Professional dog training, no matter your location, or pup skill level. ftsa believes the bond between dog and human is a proud and life changing partnerships. And they'll work with you to develop a respectful and kind relationship with your very best friend, check out ftsa at fenzi Dog sports academy.com. All right, welcome back, we're back here with Christina and Jade, we're talking about multi dog homes, and we're gonna get into risk assessment are kind of determining when an outcome may not be rosy in the end, or maybe it can be if based on our experience. So what do you guys look at for, you know, client comes to you what is they asked, you know, what is the what should I do? What's the potential outcome? In my case is my dog, you know, who Joe are redzone? Dog, they asked you these kinds of, you know, yes or no answers. What would you say is your response to that assessment aspect? I think the thing is, you have to look at first is how many actual issues the dog has. I found in cases where I'm dealing with strictly resource guarding between two individual dogs, it's usually pretty good prognosis. But if that dog also has, you know, reactivity and redirection, aggression, or anxiety or separation anxiety, our likelihood for success goes down. I usually like to get a veterinary behaviorist involved with those cases early. Because I find it's crucial. It's not just a training issue going on with those dogs, they have bigger problems. Christina, would you add anything to that in terms of sort of a list of components in the overall assessment? Some of the things we look at are wondering if the dog has done any damage to another dog in any context, let alone this specific problem that we're having? Has there been any history of the dogs redirecting onto humans and causing damage? What is the social history of the dogs? Have these dogs had other friends? Have they been able to live and coexist with other dogs before this? Or are these dogs that have never had that kind of social history that impacts the outcome by quite a bit? The breeds or the line predisposition that may the genetic factor is something we consider as well, the size of the dogs, as we've mentioned before, if it's a chihuahua and a Great Dane, that's, that's a higher risk for the Chihuahua. And I guess part of it too, is we, we want to look at the behaviors that are happening, kind of in a lens of just what's happening between the dogs. And to determine are these situations safe are we going to be able to put the management in place is the home big enough is the are the owners compliant enough or capable to put the management in place to keep everyone safe while we train, do focus a little bit on the relationship. So and that's a broad term, right? Especially if we're looking through the lens of applied behavior analysis, or kind of looking at the antecedents and consequences. Or even through more of a scientific lens, we might not often be talking about the relationship or the trust between the dogs. Sometimes we think of that, you know, when we're looking at dog behavior or training, we're always kind of focused on like, you know, teaching behaviors, and we're in that training mindset. But we sometimes forget about the actual relationship between the dog. And then we have multiple dog homes, you have multiple relationships with just you, they become exponential with each dog you add. So with just two dogs, you have just the relationship between the two dogs. But then with three dogs, you have relationship between A and B, B, and C and A and C. And then the more you add, the more relationships you have going on in that home. And if we're training, we're good at getting behavior in most cases, but what about that relationship? We can't? That's right, mend it, or tell the dogs how to feel about each other. So give me your thoughts on that. I actually have two dogs in my own home that you could be asking me directly about. So I brought home and intact male who happened to be afraid of intact males and fast dogs. And I had an intact male Border Collie at the time. And there was a lot of conflict between them and then we did resolve it. And right now I'm trying to build more trust between them. So the first step of that is always I want to make them feel safe in each other's presence and until they feel safe. I can't help them, fix their relationship. I can't help improve Their relationship together until both dogs feel safe. So that's the first part was my relationship with each of them, and letting each dog know that they were safe, and that they could count on me to take care of the scenario so that they didn't have to. Once that was in place, then I can allow them more freedoms and kind of staged situations so that they were set up to have fun together, and to bond together. And part of it is going for walks together, you know, and doing things that they enjoy together that don't have the conflict of resource guarding. In this case, it was the bed, or any sleeping space or myself. That's something you know, I definitely focus on in my work with the intra household cases is repairing that relationship, and activities you just mentioned. So do they have a history of ever fighting, for instance, on a hike? And maybe the history is No, they've gone on hundreds of hikes together, and they've never had a fight? I like to start at that and say, we're going to do it safely, of course. But we'll also want to say, let's see if we can get you guys back together and start repairing this relationship. What do you think, Jay? Do you have other aspects or activities that we would consider like relationship repairing exercises? Yeah, it really varies case to case. Like a lot of the resource guarding cases I've had in like big multi dog homes have been between two specific personalities of dogs. So the dog is not resource guarding against all the dogs, it's just one specific one. Now, in a case, I recently had both the dogs were not guarding the human at all. And they both enjoyed cuddle time with the human. So we were actually able to integrate cuddling as part of their bonding process. And they were able to cuddle and relax and everyone was safe and happy on the couch watching TV. But anything to do with meal prep or eating spaces had to be managed. So there was space in that home and that dynamic for bonding peacefully. So now that we've kind of talked about stepping back and looking at things holistically, a little bit, let's talk about the behavior change strategies we might use in these cases are how are we going to help these dogs mend their relationships and resolve these conflicts? So we talked about kind of identifying why dogs are fighting, and in particular, the focus of this podcast is for the dog to dog resource guarding, so why don't we kind of unpack a case together maybe, and talk about like a dog dog resource guarding case. So I'm the client, I reached out to you about a guy, my two dogs, you know, and they're about the same size, which is good. You know, they're, they're fighting, you know, over me, every time I sit down the couch, one comes over, and maybe one sticks to me, and the other one starts a fight and jumps off the couch and next and jumping in between the dogs and getting bitten myself. It's super frustrating. I'm really upset about this. How can you help? So what are your steps there? If you were to approach that, let's say you give me the management strategy. I'm like, okay, yes, I'll separate them when when I'm not actively training, and I won't sit on the couch, just at some random time with the dogs. So I can manage things. But how am I going to get back to sitting on the couch with my dogs and watch Netflix at night? Ideally, there'd be two humans, that family, because that's how I would start I'd have each person have a dog with space in between them and reinforce the dogs with what works for them. So be it food or praise, or petting, or just more attention that way. If it was one person, I would teach both dogs and go to place Q that were in separate areas, I'd make sure that behavior was incredibly strong before I brought both dogs together to share a space. And that way, if you start to see body language where dogs uncomfortable, you could immediately ask the dog that was most capable of going to go to the new space and deescalate the situation before it happened. And obviously, that'd be a lot of education on body language for the owner as well. So it's very classic to what we do with a lot of problem behaviors is giving the dog or dogs alternative behavior to choose from, or at least we can cue them to do it initially do work much on helping the dogs feel better about each other in a sense. So we can work on operant strategies like saying go to your station, go to your mat go this place, you know will reinforce that but do incorporate something where it's going to kind of change that underlying motivation for the behavior. So the guarding of the human. Can you talk more about that? So for most of the cases I deal with, we're also getting medication from a veterinary behaviorist onboard. I find when we're teaching operant behavior, and we're combining it with medication over a long period of time, we start to see the dogs actually relax and change. And then if we're also incorporating strategies where the dogs do enjoy time together, it does deescalate. In certain scenarios, what I have done is I've had the person leave when the guarding starts to happen. And it's only if it's super safe to do so. And we're not going to have an animal injured, but they actually learned that the human goes away when they demonstrate that behavior. Some dogs that works really well. Again, I don't use that in all scenarios. There's you're different, and they're so case specific. So in a sense, it's like Trish kings abandonment training, right. So we're using the loss of the resource as the consequence for that behavior. So that's one aspect that can work. Christina, you look like you want to add something to that. One of the things I do so for instance, if the dogs are guarding yourself sitting on your couch, watching your Netflix, instead of jumping right into watching Netflix together, we've already trained these go to bed and sit down and shake a paw a bunch of operant behaviors to fluency, we might start integrating those into being on the couch together. And if we're unsafe, this is where I might integrate tether. If there was one dog that was likely to be aggressor, I would have that dog tethered so that they couldn't reach the second dog or third dog or 16th dog. And with them, instead of watching Netflix will practice sit on the couch in front of the TV set cookie down cookie set cookie down cookie, shake apart cookie, and we're going to start building this really nice, hey, when I sit on the couch, and my nemesis is there, nothing scary happens. We have a lot of fun together. And and now it's in more of this context of sitting and watching Netflix, do you find it helps to alleviate some of the anxiety dogs might experience because they're not sure what's going to happen in that environment. So they come into the room be like, my honor, my couch, what do I do? And they there's a lot of anxiety when we can kind of if we were to apply a label, or at least what we would assess is happening from an emotional standpoint is that the dogs are just unsure of what might happen, which is kind of the definition of anxiety. Do you see that become alleviated for some dogs, once you start establishing, you know, a routine in that particular context? Yeah, I love structure for dogs, you know, exhibiting those anxious symptoms. So if they aren't sure what to do, a lot of dogs will act proactively, then go and try to make themselves feel safe. But if you step in as their person who has a history now of keeping them safe and doing fun things with them, and a great bond between you and that dog, now we add a lot of structure in to it. So it's you come on in, this is the way it looks, this dog, dog A is going to always sit on my left dog a B will always sit on my right, dog C and D might be on the floor or by my feet. And if this is the picture, and it's safe and good things happen in this picture, then we can start building from there. And as the dogs are comfortable, we can start reducing the amount of structure the amount of control that we put on the picture so that the dogs get more and more freedom. And then if we see someone starting to act anxious starting to pace or giving us some stress signals, we can put that structure back in Hey, guy, come here, sit down. Let's go back to everyone has a job to do everyone's safe. And giving them that clarity can help reduce the stress. And I love that it's it's such an important point is that reducing the stress because we're making a routine and predictable. Do you find issues with what we might label as resource stacking, so okay, you get your treats, you guys get to sit here, got the couch, got the owner, now we're putting treats into the mix. What are some tips to avoid potentially doing that resource stacking or adding more value to a situation in which the dogs might compete over. So I don't necessarily use treats in this scenario does vary dog to dog. But I find if they like being pet and spoken to, that's usually my go to for this. I love food but when the dogs are already stressed, and it might be a resource for them as well. I don't want to add it necessarily in because then I sometimes you'll see arousal go up. So usually try to do petting and like soft speaking and that kind of thing with the dogs. It varies like some dogs, the food wouldn't be a trigger. So using it would be fine. But being aware of what's important for each individual dog is kind of crucial to success. And we might argue that the reinforcer is highly reinforcing for the dog because that's what they're competing over in the first place. Right? So if they're getting the attention from the owner, it is like the treats in a sense and that it's a higher value reinforcer than maybe in some other contexts because we might give attention to the dog that other times a day, of course, but in that moment, it's it's going to be sufficiently reinforcing. Because technically, you know, it's one of the functions of that behaviors to keep access to that resource meeting the person. So Christina, would you agree Ella? Yes, it really depends on the dog. I think for some of the sport homes, there's sporty or dogs, like my guys, they might guard me, but they might not be guarding me for attention. They're more guarding me for as I am in an opportunity to earn cookies or to earn treats and for the resource guarding padding or talking may not be a reinforcer for my dogs or for other dogs. with those big feelings about the food and the toys, so we have to look at the dogs themselves and go, what is the actual reinforcers for these dogs? What is valuable to these dogs and work from there. So for a dog where we did feel that we needed to use food, I would integrate the food and the cooperative kind of training outside of that couch in the Netflix picture. I'm big fan of stationing. So I have one dog station, another dog station, tethered muzzle, depending on what the risk factor was, and then one dog comes off Sit down here. So cookies goes back on the station, other dog comes off. And unless that was safe and comfortable, I wouldn't put food into the picture of sitting in front of Netflix for sure. What do you tell clients that if their goal is you know, that sounds great. Christina, I love the aspect of this dog goes here, this dog goes there. And it works. It really was working well. But I want to be able to get up and go to the kitchen and grab some popcorn come back and the dogs are not fighting. So more organic, where I'm just able to get up and move around go to the bathroom not have to worry every second while I'm trying to enjoy Netflix. Right? So what do you what do you suggest in those cases, if that's the goal, can you get to that point of it being more sort of just the dogs are given much more freedom of movement, not just being stationed all the time, oh, 100%, the stationing and the structures only in place until the dogs don't need it. So if we are sitting there with two dogs who are in the beginning of this process, if you want to go out and go to the washroom, chances are you're going to take one of those dogs with you, or pop one, you know in a safe space until you're back and able to train that scenario. And these are training times not necessarily how you're being time. So we don't want to train 12 hours a day, while we're training it, going through the process, you would in the early stages, take a dog out of the picture when you need to leave, and then just have cuddle time with one dog at a time when you're just relaxing. But as the progression goes, absolutely, we should expect to be able to just get up and go to the washroom or go get a glass of water. But that's a process that will take some time to get there. And it won't be depending on the severity of the problem. It might not be something that you achieve in a couple of weeks. Yeah, and I imagine going to the washroom for some dogs is actually not that hard to train because you get the dogs that never let you eat alone. They're just gonna come with you anyways, maybe the other one hopefully isn't the same. I was gonna say I end up with the ball in there. As well, if you get up and go to the washroom, and if you were the thing that they're guarding, you're, you're not there for them to guard anymore. Right? Right. Absolutely. So you two are working on a project lesion of dogs, right. And it's strictly or focused, I should say on helping pet owners and people with multiple multiple dog homes and the issues they might face. He talked more about that. Yeah, the idea was born because we're both dogs sport competitors also breed Aziz. So we live with abnormal amounts of dogs and a lot of our friends and people we work with, and they end up being clients due to their needs aren't necessarily being addressed all the time, because the dynamics are so complicated. So we started the project to help people in those kinds of situations, but also to try and prevent problems from happening. Because a lot of times when we're dealing with these high arousal, intense breeds, once the problems there, it's a long road home to get back. So we look at look a lot of prevention behaviors, how to keep dogs like multiple dogs happy and humanely together, and ideally not living in crate and rotate scenarios, because the quality of life can suffer that way. That's awesome. Because it's such a badly needed resource. Because there's not a lot of information about living with multiple dog cons, especially about prevention. And then what to do after of course, but you know, that's so it's so great to hear you guys are doing that. Christina, would you say that there's also a resource for what to do after the dog start fighting that you're working on? Absolutely. We're working on some online courses and blogs that we haven't gotten live yet. But once the problems start, then you if you have a multi dog home and has a serious problem, you likely want to bring someone on board to help you make a customized plan. A lot of what we do is how to start integrating a new dog are a new puppy into your home. But their dynamics in a multi dog home can be so complex, that it's not a quick Google to make yourself a great training plan for your specific scenario. And that's for Jaden, I can meet with people one on one and help them make a plan that works for them and works for their dogs and keeps everyone safe and hopefully gets them to that picture of going off into the sunset together. And I think you mentioned that you're going to have like a support group aspect to it. Where, because let's face it, many of these issues we feel very lonely about in terms of not having a lot of other people to talk to about it. Because not everybody wants eight dogs. Not everybody has a dog sort of fighting with each other, or multiple dog homes unless you get into that world. So like you were mentioning, like breeder sport dog, enthusiast trainers, or pet owners that like a lot of dogs. But it can feel very lonely because at first yours like Koi, who do I talk to you about this? And who else has this may dogs? Who else is cares as much about dogs in their home? And so do you do plan on that aspect, as well as having that support network, we have an online support groups or Facebook legion of dogs. And on that group, people can post their questions or concerns, Jade and I alternate doing discussion topics where we pick a common topic or common problem area that we see in a multi dog home. And we post a little blurb people ask questions, and we make every reply answering those questions. We also do a monthly asked me anything. So we one of us hops on and anyone with any questions about multi dog living can come on and ask us questions in a safe space. Awesome. I'm sure that you're going to get a lot of traction in that group as time goes on. Because there's a lot of people that will, I'm sure, really enjoy the the educational aspect of it. So So what do you guys working on now other than that, and where can people find you if they want to reach up? Well, for me, that's my big project. I teach for my own business too. And I do support classes and things like that. That's fun. I'm planning a litter next fall. So that keeps me busy. But right now, I really, really want to create a resource for people because I think it's embarrassing for people who quote unquote, have a lot of dog experience sometimes to come forward and say, Hey, I've got dogs fighting, or I've got a dog problem. And I want to help them. Because it shouldn't be something that's in the background, you can have a ton of dog experience and still be living in a really difficult situation. I 100% agree a lot of my clients are trainers or hobby trainers that have tons of dogs, and they can get behavior on their dogs, they just can't resolve the conflicts or there they have a difficult because it's it's a whole different Beach, right? It's not something that you know, it's the same. It's like if somebody asked me to train agility, I wouldn't know the first place to start. And so it's dog training is very much a niche kind of area where you can focus on one area. And so yeah, it's it's certainly a place that can feel lonely, as you mentioned, you know, are embarrassing. So, Christina, where can people find you? My company is called positive dog. It's www positive dot dog. And I also have other support groups. So I have a support group free course for pupils that have a reactive dog or an aggression issue. And I have a free online puppy class. So I think it's important to me that good dog training be accessible to everybody. And between the multi dog homes and the other projects I've got going, I'd really love to have resources out there available to anyone who's looking that are free, and nice support groups friendly, safe spaces for people to ask questions, and to talk about what they're going through. Fantastic and you nailed it on that web address positive dot dog. Any easier to remember than that. But I will be sure to link to both of their resources and websites in the show notes. Christina and Jade thank you so much for coming on. This has been very informative, I'm sure very helpful for the multi dog listeners out there. And I hope to see you guys again in the future. Thanks, Mike. Thank you. It was such a pleasure chatting with Christina and Jade and hearing their valuable insights on living with multiple dogs. I'd love to hear what you would like for additional topics in future episodes of both the body and the dog and the help for dogs with aggression issues subscription series. You can reach out by emailing podcast at aggressive dog.com That's podcast at aggressive dog.com I would love to hear from you. And I thank you for tuning into the show. Stay well my friends