Double Trouble

Training more than one dog at a time is lot easier said than done. Most times it can look like a chaotic three ring circus. I was trying to work with my new puppy, Sally, when my older dog, Ubu, kept nosing his way in on the training session. Ubu was always in on the fun if there were treats involved. It was like he was saying “move over, newbie, let me show you how to do it.” My poor Sally walked away in disgust. So much for that training session. What was I thinking? Face it, dogs can feel jealousy. Whatever Sally was getting, so was Ubu. It was time for me to take a step back and figure out how I could properly manage this eager beaver.

One of the easiest solutions in training two dogs at the same time is to work in a room with a closed door between the two dogs. Rotating the dogs every few minutes help over-anxious dogs wait their turn to train. To help mitigate the problem you can place a food puzzle, yummy chewy or a food stuffed rubber toy.

If a dog has been trained to enjoy his crate that dog can be crated when not training you can send one dog into his crate while you work with the other dog, and then switch dogs. Give the dog in the crate a stuffed food toy, or drop treats into the crate periodically as you train the other dog. No forcing the dog into the crate; he should be able to enter willingly.

You can separate the non-training dogs on the other side of a baby gate or an x-pen. If you have multiple dogs, it may be easier for you to work on the inside of the x-pen while the non-training dogs are on the outside. Remember to share a couple of treats for the non-training dogs.

This exercise requires huge impulse control plus plenty of training sessions beforehand. Call out one dog at a time by his name, while the other dog remains in a down stay position on a mat. The best way to train multiple dogs is first train them separately, then train them as a group. When training as a group just insert “all dogs" instead of individual names, then your cue. Training should always be fun. If you feel overwhelmed, please call a professional.

Submitted by Marion C. O’Neil CPDT-KA, CTDI owner and trainer of Molasses Creek Dog Training, LLC Quakertown

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