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Tips... training two dogs, different levels

Discussion in 'Sheltie Training' started by Daisy1015, Jul 24, 2020.

  1. Daisy1015

    Daisy1015 Forums Enthusiast

    May 2, 2014
    Ok give me all the tips. :)

    Experiences trainer but always growing

    first time with two dogs Of my own. One puppy, one 4 years.

    what works best With two food motivated dogs? I seem to need different release words for each I quickly learned when i put older dog in a stay. There are times I need to reinforce In the moment different needs for the two dogs. Treat them both? Give second dog a Quick different command to reward?

    i know i need times apart and crated so I can focus in one. They will know and hear click from next room.
  2. Sharon7

    Sharon7 Moderator

    Oct 31, 2009
    I found it pretty challenging to train my puppy Meadow with the two older ones around. They just distract her, and push in wanting to get treats too. I separate for training. Plus you really need bonding time with your pup, solo time. Otherwise they can end up more bonded to the other dog in the house than to you!
    Hanne, ghggp and Daisy1015 like this.
  3. ghggp

    ghggp Moderator

    Aug 28, 2011
    Grosse Pointe, Michigan
    I agree, Sharon!
    When training Liam, he was a puppy, it was all individual 1:1 training. Too distracted with other dogs around when doing home training!
    Piper's mom likes this.
  4. Piper's mom

    Piper's mom Moderator

    Jun 26, 2015
    Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
    I have to separate my two or I'll have two dogs fighting for heel position :lol:...literally! I use the same release word but the other is either in a crate or I'm on a different floor or outside.
  5. Sharon7

    Sharon7 Moderator

    Oct 31, 2009
    Hah - my hubby's been out of town for a week and you should see me walking all 3 dogs in heel position! Faith HAS to be right next to me, Elijah next to her and I'm trying Meadow on the outside. That worked for a little while but today she was busy switching herself into the middle, then crowding in next to me (and smiling up at me looking for her treat because, hey, she's heeling!) :rolleyes2: Meanwhile I'm trying not to trip over them or my own two feet. Luckily within 5 minutes we are at our off leash trail and the big dogs get to go on their own. No way could I walk the whole 2 miles like that!!!!

    When DH is back Meadow will be walked by herself again.
  6. Elei

    Elei Forums Enthusiast

    Jul 10, 2019
    Like everyone else has said, I mainly train my dogs separately. I also use the same release word for all 3.

    However, Silvia Trkman, an agility trainer I really respect and admire, trains her puppies with some of her other dogs around. She teaches the older dogs not to interrupt when she’s working with the puppy. I was really impressed, because my dogs can’t do that! The older dogs sometimes offer tricks while she’s training the pup, but they don’t get in the way or steal treats. One reason she trains this way is that it helps the puppy learn an enthusiastic attitude from her older dogs. The puppies see how much the other dogs love training, and anytime the puppy gets distracted she just starts working with the other dogs. Then the puppy realizes that if it wants to be part of the fun, it has to stay focused. Silvia explains this better than I can.

    I’ve gotten to the point where I can train one dog, while another watches (usually in a down stay). But I reward dog#2 frequently for being a good observer. If the training gets too exciting, dog#2 usually barges in to join the fun.. so it’s a work in progress
    Calliesmom and Piper's mom like this.
  7. Caro

    Caro Moderator

    Jan 14, 2009
    Me too for training seperately. There are things you can train together, that requires them to work together (like walking), but you need to start by training seperately first. One thing I used to do was train my seperately (one inside one outside) and then have a little training session at the end for both dogs. Usually that was a 'stay' exercise, or they could both do the same trick.

    I think one of the big issues is Shelties are food obsessed. And if one dog is getting food, the other will hover for food, and then the dog you are training loses focus on the training because they are too worried about getting the food before the other dog.

    Luckily now I have a bigger house so I train in the hallway while the others are in the lounge. The only thing I am doing in the same room is Kismet standing on the table for conformation - I want her to work with distractions. With Della I'm finding it much harder to do combined training exercises (like a stay). It was much easier when I raised the dogs from puppyhood and they were used to working around each other.
    Piper's mom likes this.

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