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How to Train in a Multi-Dog Home

How to Train in a Multi-Dog Home, several dogs sitting on cue watching their owner.

Do you have multiple dogs that you are trying to train? Maybe one has some manners that you have worked on, but you need to work on manners for the other one. Maybe you realized that your pups are picking up more bad habits from each other than good. Do they have a hard time paying attention to you when they are being walked together or asked for a specific behavior together? We would be happy to help you reach your goal of having your dogs pay attention to you and training them together. We can help you set them up for success together! Ready to get started?

2 dogs sitting on a couch waiting to be trained

It can certainly be hard to train multiple dogs at once, I have a house of 4 dogs, so I truly understand the struggle! When training multiple dogs, it is best to separate them and train each dog individually. When we try to train dogs together, we may not time our marker (clicker or verbal cue) at the right time because we are trying to pay attention to too many movements at once. You could end up with one dog that is doing EVERYTHING they know to appease you and getting frustrated while the other dog is in Lala land and you’re trying to reel them both in. It can also be very frustrating for a dog who wants to play with their best dog buddy while the other is trying to pay attention to you and learn new behaviors. If you have more than two dogs, oh boy! It can be even more challenging to have them all in a room trying to teach them new behaviors. Let’s break it down so that it is easier for you, and better for your pup to learn.

To help ease the frustration for you and your pup, it is best to train one dog at a time. I know, this can certainly be difficult, but hear me out! The pup that isn’t training, may have a better time when you set them up properly. What do you do with the other dog(s) you may ask? Set them up for fun in another room! Whether it is behind a door or gate, they should have something super fun to keep them busy. This is a great time to use enrichment! Enrichment is great because it will work your dog's brain. You can use store-bought items like dog puzzles, the pupsicle or kongs, recycled paper items for your dog to shred, or just hide some treats and kibble around the room for your pup to search out. There are so many enrichment activities you can do to keep your pup busy to spend 10 to 15 minutes with your other pup to train. Once you’re done training, switch pups! I assure you, you will have multiple tired pups on your hands after training and enrichment!

Multiple dogs on leash training inside the home

I know, your goal is to work with your pups together and you will get there! Once all the dogs in the home have practiced their behavior in multiple scenarios and are super duper good at it, try it with two dogs together and see how they do. It can truly be as simple as sit and lay down, and you can move up to more challenging behaviors like wait or place. When you work with them together go back to the basics, low distractions, luring the behavior if needed and just being patient. If you have their attention and they are responding to what you asked SUCCESS!

Do you need some training support in your multi-dog household? Maybe one pup is doing great with a behavior and the other pup is having a hard time. Do you need more enrichment ideas to keep your pups busy so you can have that individual time with each dog? We are here to help! We would be happy to support you, problem solve, and provide you with so many enrichment ideas!

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