Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Pooches: On Fairness and "His & Her" Dogs

I thought it was something I had just imagined, but I found out research shows that dogs actually do have a sense of fairness. According to this report from NPR, dogs become jealous and unresponsive if they believe they are not receiving equal treatment.
 I was reminded of this article the other day when HounddogMom asked how we divide our time among the dogs, especially deciding which dog to take on an outing and which dog stays behind. This is what seems to work for us:
We Have His & Her Dogs
 In our house, we have "His & Her" dogs. Though we love both our dogs, I have a special bond with Miss M since we were roommates back in our bachelorette days, and Mr. B is completely loyal to E; he even waits at the window all day watching for his return.
 So if Miss M goes on an outing with just me, he's ok because he gets to hang out with E and do things like watch the Bears game. And Miss M is fine staying home as long as she gets to eat a kong.

We Try to Switch it Up
 We do try to be fair by taking the other pooch to do a special thing every once in awhile. During the summer, I like to take Mr. B with me when I meet friends at outdoor cafes. He's able to sit nicely at the cafe, and he makes an amazing escort walking back home in the dark. And E will sometimes do things with just Miss M. Though I really feel Mr. B doesn't have as much fun with me. And from this photo, Miss M looks embarrassed to be out with her dad.

We Try to Be Fair as Much as Possible:
We try to give equal treats, equal toys, and equal embarrassing outfits.

This is what works for us with our pooches, but I'm curious to hear how other people keep it "fair" in their homes. Especially when the dogs outnumber the people.

25 comments:

Leila said...

It's not just dogs. Quizz gets extremely jealous of Charlie, the Cat. Most days, they keep each other company. Heaven help me if I greet the cat first, when I come home. The sulking is too much. Then the cat, wants his share of attention and will pick a fight with Quizz. Just to confuse the humans, every so often we'll see them cuddled up together. Our fur-kids are truly complex.

HoundDogMom said...

Why thanks for doing this post. I totally see the problem at our house. We don't have his and her dogs. The dogs are mine when they need feed, walked, taken to the vet, etc. The dogs are his when they need snuggles and kisses. BOL Also, the husband doesn't seem to get into doing lots of functions with them like I like to. He loves the basset waddle thing but as to do a nursing home visit or just take the dogs for s walk would not be him. So I try to do include them both in everything we do but Winston is going to find out how to stay home alone. I want Amiee to start visiting the nursing homes again. Maybe Daddy will take him to the garage. Maybe we will show him your blog and how you have his/her dogs. BOL Again, thanks for the post you do such a great job of explaining and presenting everything so well. Sniffs, The HoundDogs and Mom

Kerri said...

We have a human fairness issue in our house. We just have one dog, but I'm the one getting jealous because he likes the boyfriend better than he likes me! I raised him from a seed, but Milo will always choose to snuggle up with Nick if there's a choice. Must be a guy thing.

We do try to equally divide the walking, grooming, and feeding responsibilities, but when it comes to expenses, he's definitely still "my dog".

Kate said...

In general we just try to keep things equitable among the dogs. If one dog gets a treat, they all get a treat, etc. We do have certain bonds and activities with each of them though that are certainly different. Nemo might be a little bit more "my" dog, but I think a big part of that is because Mr. T can't play fetch with him anymore since Nemo can't get exercise like he used to.

When we go out though that definitely doesn't mean we bring all three dogs with us when we go dog-friendly places. We usually only take one dog and leave the other two home with a really good treat (like a Kong) which seems fair to me :)

Claudia said...

We have his and her dogs too, but they each do get special privileges, and I do worry about inequality. Franklin gets to sit on the furniture (only when invited) and sleep in the people bed, but Lola gets to go out to Sociabulls walks more often, and gets more treats and toys because she knows more tricks and commands. One of our cats gets jealous of attention paid to anyone else and will share a lap with Franklin.

Emily said...

In our home, we had no choice but to keep things as fair as possible. When we adopted our female, she had a fear of males because of her past. She bonded to me instantly, but it took a little more work with my boyfriend. We had to make sure to split every evenly, walks, feeding, treats, tricks, really everything. It helped a lot! Plus, it helps our pups see us as equal authority figures. We do still like to tease each over who is "mama's boy" and who is "daddy's girl." :)

waldobungie said...

Rufus is a terrible leash walker and because he is so small, he doesn't really need super long walks like Turk and Ginger do, so a lot of the time we leave him at home when we go on long walks. I used to feel terrible about this but then I realized that he is the ONLY dog who is allowed to sleep in our bed at night (he's slept with me since my bachelorette days). There is give and take but I think having his-and-hers dogs helps out quite a bit. Turk swears total loyalty to Daniel while Rufus is mine through and through. Ginger also is loyal to me though so that throws a wrench in the system...

In Black and White said...

I've always had a rule that what one dog gets, they all do. When I occasionally had three at a time, that was a bit of a pain at walk time as I don't enjoy walking more than two. But dinner/ treats/ play for one means the same for all.
I do feel bad about leaving Billy behind sometimes when fosters have to go to an event or I'm headed somewhere that he's not well enough behaved for. And he definitely makes a fuss about it!

Sarah said...

The dogs outnumber people in our house and it's impossible to be completely equal in doling out attention, love, walks, treats, etc. I try to keep it pretty equitable but I also don't sweat it when I can't. I usually do longer walks with the girls since Hurley gets to spend the day with me at the store. Maggie, our only fetcher, gets games of fetch in the yard with the Hubster while Sadie gets extra belly rubs and cuddles from me. I've found it's more effective to spend time with each of them doing the things they love most rather than worrying about equal length of walks or amount of treats, etc.

Corbin said...

We thought it would be a change in our home with foster dogs in and out and Corbin having all of our attention when we didn't have one. But he adjusts nicely and I really think he understands that sometimes a foster dog needs more attention than he does. Last night was a great example, Adam's mom came over for a visit and was petting Brookie and Corbin was laying on his bed just hanging out and watching. She was surprised he wasn't jealous and pushing her out of the way. But he knows, and as soon as Brookie moved on to laying on the floor, he went back over for some snuggles with his grandma :-) We make sure he always knows he's our top dog, and somehow, I think he really does know!
-Corbin's momma Jenn

Kitty+Coco said...

Loving the equality in embarrassing outfits. So true, so true. If you have a pug you know that there is no doing things separately. They don't call them "velcro" pugs for nothing. This even includes going to the vet together despite only one pup being treated. Their anxiety goes off the charts if one is absent. Now when we are all home together, I do notice that Kitty takes naps on her own (away from her clingy sister), while Coco wants to snuggle with me. Most of the time though both dogs want to sleep with me and play with my husband.

Two French Bulldogs said...

Mom does the same over here. Mom spends individual time with us, walks, pets, hugs-then she walks and plays with us together. We love every minute
Benny & Lily

Lacie Josephine said...

We try to keep things as fair as possible but our pooches have different "interests" ex: if i come home with two new tennis balls Odi is out-of-his-mind excited while Mya shoots a "this definitely isn't edible look" and ignores it. So a lot of times they end up getting different presents.

Pauley, the Mr. or the Mrs. said...

In the past what one dog did, they all did, but as Annie & Chloe have gotten older, they no longer go on the short trips to the store etc. as it takes as long to get them in the vehicle as it would to make the actual trip (ramps, steps & picking them up). If we are going to the lake or a hike, we usually make more than one trip to ensure that everyone gets their chance. We try to be as fair as possible with attention, but some dogs are pushier than others (Pauley are you listening?).

Rachel said...

What a great post! I always feel such guilt and try to be sure they are treated the same. We also have his and hers dogs... we definitely love them both but they do seem to each gravitate towards one of us. And it's funny because they each get to do different things. Amy (our pit) is such an awesome walker, so she can go anywhere to walk. But when it comes to things where we will just be driving a lot, our lab Luke is the best passenger, haha.
I loved the article too... so interesting to read about animals and their different feelings and responses to things. I definitely believe the jealousy thing!

Poodles to Pit Bulls Clicker Training said...

I went out of my way and spent a LOT of time teaching them to take turns (for attention, treats, leashes put on, etc.). It really helps because I've set up a long history of reinforcement for the waiting dog, so both get rewarded. It helps with training sessions as well. Also helps that I have two hands, which gets thrown off when the cat enters the picture. I do tend to defer to Charlie though, since he's older and Emma can sometimes push him out of the way (we're working on it).

brooke said...

hehehe Miss M looks like "daddddd not in front of my friends!!!!" hahahha

Amy said...

Not only do our dogs know if they're being treated unfairly, they can count! Two treats for one of them, means two treats for the other.

Trissi_V said...

We do have his and her dogs with Laci and Apollo...but we try to be fair and treat them equally. Now the cat on the other hand finds this totally unacceptable and tries her hardest to beat up the dogs if they are getting any attention at all...since all attention needs to be bestowed on her. She is such a diva.

browndogcbr said...

Hi Y'all,

That is just too cute!

In my case, since there is only me, I have to try to keep both the Humans happy and feeling they are getting their fair share of attention. ;)

Y'all come by now,
Hawk aka BrownDog

houndstooth said...

Good question! Sometimes it's based on the activity. There are some things that Blueberry can't do because it's too strenuous for her, and some things that Morgan can't do because it's a little too much overload for her. Now with the puppy added to the mix, we just try to juggle and make sure everybody gets a chance and time alone to do their favorite things!

Kimberley said...

I dont have multiple dogs, but I think your method is pretty perfect. I would hate to know that one of my animals felt left out, this is a very interesting post. Thanks for sharing! :)

Garnet Scarabin said...

I am a single gal with two large dogs (both are former foster dogs that I adopted). It's definitely a challenge to dole out equal amounts of attention, affection, etc. to Lola and Gatsby, but I do try to make sure to spend quality one-on-one time with each dog, each day. I live in a small apt. and don't have a yard, so they go out together for short walks to do their "business," but for their long walks I take them individually. This also gives me the opportunity to work on training without the other dog as a distraction. Once a week they each get a "fun" outing with me by themselves, even if it's just something like Gatsby accompanying me to the hardware store one day and then Lola having a playdate with a dog-friend on another day (Gatsby isn't much interested in playing with dogs, except for Lola).

Vicki said...

I've been dating J for 3 years, and before we started seeing each other Makai was the MOST obedient little man. It had been just us for 9 years. I wouldn't even need to say anything, I could just point or gesture and he'd know exactly what I needed him to do. Nowadays, he is as stubborn as a mule! I thought it was his old age settling in on him, but now I wonder if he sees J as another dog in the house who is getting my attention? Hmmmmm....

Christine said...

It's very difficult to keep it fair. Blu is the most jealous dog, he cannot handle if my husband is giving attention to Fudge or the cats, typical youngest child syndrome. It's hard, but we find ways. Blu is crated during the day, Fudge gets free range. Fudge is always fed first, and he usually gets first bellies in the morning. Blu can be so overwhelming that it's these small things that really help keep the balance, especially with two pitty boys. We definitely have his or hers dogs. Fudge is my first and he was with me as a girl living on my own, he's my protector. Things are well balanced, if they want to run or play, they go to my husband, if they want to snuggle or they are sick, they come to me.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...