Living with multiple dogs is something that dog trainer Dennis Fehling, CPDT-KA, CBATI of Friends for Life Dog Training in Central, Oregon and his wife Pam have had a lot of experience with – he presently has 7 adopted dogs!
Dennis shares great information on how to make multiple dog households run smoothly, what to do to keep all the dogs relaxed, peaceful and satisfied, as well as considerations that trainers should be aware of before adding dogs to their already existing dog families.
Lorraine Grub says
I don’t know if it’s too late to submit a question (hope not!) but I’ll give it a try. Great pod cast. Mr. Fehling and his wife should be rewarded himself for rescuing so many dogs and giving them a loving home!
I’m just curious . . . what would Mr. Fehling recommend if he had a dog that did not respond to toy or food as a reward for good behavior. For instance, if Flash did not respond well to using a toy every time he saw Beau and he tried food and it too didn’t work. FYI: I’ve had that experience with a dog where toys, food (even roast beef), excitable petting, calm petting seemingly did not reward a certain dog for good behavior.
Dennis Fehling says
Hi Lorraine, great question. There are times that food, toys will simply not work so we have to find out what other reinforcement will work. For instance if Flash had not responded to the toy with Beau then I would have gone to food, if food would have worked i would have gone to creating more distance as a reinforcer or functional reward. We know that aggression is caused by two different things Fear and frustration. With flash is was clearly frustration but I knew that toys were really reinforcing to him, the trick is building other way to reinforce as each dog will be different. Most dogs will find something other than food or toys or petting valuable we just have to find out what that is. it might be found in the least likely places like being given permission to jump on you or go into a crate or even go outside. I would also look at the ABC model to find out what is reinforcing the behavior. In Flashes case the A( antecedent) was Beau, the B( behavior was attacking) the consequence was going away to relieve that frustration of not being able to play with Beau, at least that was my take on it. All write out the ABC and find out what is reinforcing the behavior then you can use that to reinforce the learner because then you will know that the learner is getting out of the behavior. I hope that make sense, if you would like send me a private email and I will answer…
Lorraine Grüb says
Thanks so much! Your reply made good sense and it was a big help. I really appreciate the time you took to give me such excellent advice. Thanks again! Best to you and your wife for much success with all your dogs and the other ones you help outside of your home!