Training Multiple Dogs


Mr. N is perfectly happy being the sole pet of the household but previously we had a foster dog for six months. The dogs got along fine. They never became BFFs or anything but they would play together occasionally and they never got into a fight.

Training time became difficult though as Mr. N would get very upset when I trained Onyxx and he wasn’t included. My workaround was to have Mr. N do all the tricks with Onyxx as Onyxx was learning them. This worked because Mr. N already knew all the tricks/behavior and I didn’t have to concentrate on training both dogs. Normally, I would suggest training the dogs separately.

Photo posing is an important skill to learn in our household. The dogs with a visiting friend.

When I trained Mr. N, Onyxx was content being tossed the odd treat for watching and being calm or in the crate with a chew. If I had to do it over again, I’d probably do mat training so the non-working dog would settle on the mat while the other dog worked.

I think several more rounds of training class and watching the other dogs train and having to wait his turn has made Mr. N a bit more patient since then. When we were over at Sage’s house and I was teaching her how to wave, he wandered off and found his own entertainment. I made sure to treat him after we were done for being good.

How do you train with multiple pets?

Welcome to First Monday’s Positive Pet Training Blog Hop hosted by Cascadian NomadsTenacious Little Terrier and Rubicon Days. Please share your responsible pet owner positive pet training tips by linking a blog post or leaving a comment below. Any positive reinforcement training posts or comments are also always welcome. The Positive Pet Training Blog Hop goes all week long. Our next hop will begin Monday, July 6th and continues for a week. The July theme is training sins.

The dogs waiting for Thanksgiving dinner




22 Responses

  1. Cascadian Nomads Bethany

    June 1, 2015 9:16 am

    My Velcro dog, Wilhelm, has very serious (and loud) issues with me training any of the other pets. Except Leo. Leo doesn't work for treats so Wilhelm knows he is not missing time with me AND food. I cannot imagine how awful Wilhelm's separation issues would be were it not for years of waiting his turn in various dog sports and training time.

  2. The Daily Pip

    June 1, 2015 10:47 am

    We only have one dog, Ruby, and before her, Pip (he passed in late 2013) so we haven't had to train one more than one at a time. I imagine it would be challenging as each dog is different and responds differently. We will try to participate in this hop in the future.

  3. Emma

    June 1, 2015 10:55 am

    I definitely have my jealousy issues as I like to be queen bee at all times, but Mom works on it with my sisters and I and getting me to learn to wait and to share.

  4. Beth

    June 1, 2015 1:56 pm

    Mat work is awesome! Barley doesn't have to share a home with other dogs often, but when she is with my parents' dog or my sister's dog, sending her to her mat is a great way to get some time with the other dogs–but when treats are involved, it's a lot harder for her to remember to stay there even with treats to reinforce it. She's like Mr. N and wants to run through all the tricks with the other dogs, too.

  5. Earl Lover

    June 1, 2015 5:22 pm

    Earl and Ethel have to train generally as individuals with me, otherwise the other one is all over the one training. They just want to treats I am using with the one whose training at the time!! They also enjoy doing some duo tricks however, as a pair, such as 'hug'! This is so much fun! Great post thanks!

  6. Talent Hounds

    June 1, 2015 6:38 pm

    I've only ever had one dog at a time to train in the past. I can only imagine how challenging it could be, especially if they are at different levels. Although having a role model to demonstrate seems like it could really help. Sort of a monkey see, monkey do but with dogs.

    • Tenacious Little Terrier

      June 1, 2015 8:27 pm

      Mr. N definitely learns by watching. He once saw a dog do a "beg" for a treat at a pet store and then went and did the same thing despite my never having taught him that trick. Onyxx… I am doubtful whether he learned by watching. It took him forever to figure out the food toy despite watching Mr. N multiple times.

  7. Jackie Bouchard

    June 1, 2015 9:43 pm

    We've always been a one-at-a-time pet household so haven't had to deal with this, but since Rita knows to "go to your bed" hopefully I could have her do that if we ever added a sibling for her that needed training. (Not sure she'd stay on the bed though with that temptation of a sibling getting treats!)

  8. A Nelson

    June 2, 2015 9:44 pm

    So cute! We're still working on being able to train seperately in the same room. Currently I just take one dog outside for training at a time unless it is playtime or a pack walk.

  9. Lara Elizabeth

    June 3, 2015 8:58 pm

    What a darling picture with the three dogs! Ruby is like the kid in class that always raises their hand – when I'm trying to teach Boca something, Ruby is volunteering all her tricks. "I know, I know!"

  10. Janet Keefe

    June 4, 2015 10:52 am

    Though our training is mostly done individually, I think it's great when you can train together, because they can really learn so much from each other. I don't think we taught Luke "sit" when he was a puppy, I'm pretty sure he just learned it from watching his sisters.
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets


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