Living with multiple dogs is a challenge at times, especially when the dogs get stimulated and feed off of one another's energy. The management of them is a balancing act and an art which can at times be strung as taught as a violin string ready to break.
In this house the easy temperaments who can adapt to any combination are the classic perfect pets who could reside with anyone anywhere. Briards are not typically that easy and require much more skill and talent of sensitive observation and timing.
Over the years I have watched some of my colleagues in the breed basically give up doing what we try to do here which is have pretty much all of the dogs live together as a family. Sure, there is some jockeying-especially in times of estrus, but for the most part the demands here are high to get along, tolerate and coexist. For years it has worked well, something I have been proud of.
My fellow Briarders with multiple dogs on the scale of my numbers seem to have groups who coexist and more of a kennel setting than my own. Then there are the environments who have more than I-some with 15 and 25 dogs. Those logistically can only be a kennel situation-basically a warehousing of the canine species to keep control and sanity in check.
In a multiple dog situation when there is one friction dynamic or one "bad apple" it does seep into the entire operation. I have a dog like that and it has become more than trying to live with him. His life at this point is basically solitary. It breaks my heart and makes me sick. I feel somehow to have failed him, yet I worry about the danger I put the other dogs in by merely coming in contact with him. In 33 years of living my life as a dog trainer and behaviorist-this one-my own personal dog who I have raised from a puppy, have raised his parents from puppies and who comes from generations of my very biddable family of dogs and I have hit the wall. I can not fix him.