For some, one dog is plenty. For many others, there are a lot of reasons to get a second (or third or fourth) dog. Having more than one dog not only means more companionship in your home, but it gives your companion a companion of its own.
The key is knowing how to train two dogs at once. You want them both to be the best listeners that they can be, after all. It results in a better relationship between both you and the dogs while also ensuring that they listen when instructed.
You Are a Parent
The first step to training any dog is to think of yourself as a parent. Parents are nurturing, affectionate, and guiding. That’s what a good pet owner has to be, too. Training isn’t about being an “alpha”; it is about providing instruction and guidance for your dog just as you would a child.
Respect your dog. Don’t intimidate, don’t physically challenge it. Your dog looks to you to learn, so make sure that you are doing your best to provide good lessons.
Basic Obedience Is One-on-One
Though the goal is to learn how to train two dogs at once, that is for later on. First and foremost, both dogs need to have basic obedience training. That can’t be done with both at the same time; it has to be done one at a time.
Those basic obedience lessons are the foundation of good listening. Things like being able to sit, stay, get down, watch, and walk nicely on the leash are all crucial to the foundation of any good obedience training.
Work with them both solo, showing them patience and love every step of the way. With a little persistence, you should be able to establish that proper foundation. When you feel that they are ready to listen to basic commands regularly, only then can you move on to further instruction.
Leashes at First
When your dogs know the basic commands, then you can start working with them together. To make sure that they have a successful go at this, start them on leashes and make sure to have plenty of treats with you.
Ask them one at a time to perform a command—sit is usually fine—rewarding them thoroughly. No matter what the command is, rewarding properly is crucial because there are more than a few distractions happening.
It is important that you do not yank on the leash or yell; they don’t respond well to that anger. And do not be in a rush to take the leashes off. That is one of the most common mistakes that pet owners make. Work with them throughout the process.
Part of learning how to train two dogs at once means getting them to know not only their individual names but a group name as well. For instance, you might call them each by their name and then use a command like “boys,” “girls,” or “kids.”
Start by getting them all to sit and then give them praise. From there, say the name of one, praising it and giving it a treat if it responds. Make sure that you are generous in that praise. When you are confident that they know their names, it is time to work on the group name.
Use the word that you have chosen for the group, then back up a step or two and give them a treat. Do this a couple of times, then take a break. You can then come back after a short break and try the exercise again. It should take a couple of days, but they will eventually recognize both names.
Some dogs are better than others at showing you attention. In a group setting, especially, their concentration can wane. There is a good way to stop this from happening. Instead of feeding them with a bowl, feed them a bite at a time.
Next, put all the dogs on the leash and ask them one by one to do something, feeding them a bite of food between. Basic commands are fine; it doesn’t matter what you are asking them to do. The goal is to get them to pay attention and cooperate.
As they show more and more attention, you can start to feed them bigger portions. It will take a few times and some consistency, but you can then let them start finishing their meals from the bowl. Effective training involves consistent attention, and correcting their distraction is important if you are to train one dog, let alone two, in the proper manner. Though they may lose their focus again, it’s okay as you now have a solution.
Though it can seem challenging to train two dogs at the same time, it isn’t as difficult as it sounds. Instilling basic obedience is crucial and can set the foundation for training them going forward.
With leash training, getting them to recognize their own names as well as a group name, you can ensure that the lessons take and they begin to develop into better listeners. When everyone is on the same page, it results in better experiences for everyone.