Is it possible for a dog to be perfectly well behaved in a home with 5 dogs, yet be aggressive to his new house mate?  What about a dog that comes from a hoarding situation, is there any chance this dog could be dog aggressive?  One would think that a dog which lived with cats before would be fine in a new home with cats.  Not always.

Size does not matter.

We know that many dogs will be on their best behavior when greeting a larger pack of humans, dogs or even cats.  However, this same dog may be much more pushy or aggressive if greeting just one member of a pack.

Many dogs love playing with other dogs, yet some dogs can only play in small groups or even with only one other dog at a time.   If a litter is made of one or 2 pups, then these pups may not enjoy playing in a group as it is something they have never experienced.

Remember the environment plays a huge role in shaping our pups behavior. And, yes, the number of members in a home does matter.

Many dogs come out of homes in which they co-existed with many other species just fine. This does not make them love this species.  Too often I hear about an adopted dog that was “thriving in a home with multiple cats, only to be terrorizing the cat in his new home.”  Numbers matters and being a bully can be fun — especially when he’s no longer  out-numbered!

I recently walked a small Scottie through a local park that was full of large sea gulls.  This dog would normally bark and lunge at both cats and squirrels, however upon seeing a large colony of birds on the bank of the pond, this Scottie turned away and pulled on the leash in the opposite direction.  I was surprised at first, but then quickly realized we were clearly out numbered!

As an owner, especially of a newly adopted dog or one who has recently moved to a new location or environment, be aware of the numbers! They matter!