How to Train Multiple Dogs without Losing Your Mind | Pupford
September 29th, 2023
Filed under Training
What’s better than having a dog? Having more than one dog, duh! That is until you start thinking about how to train multiple dogs... 😅
When your dogs are of different ages, have different personalities, and show different skill levels for behaviors, it can seem impossible to train them all effectively.
But managing your pack isn’t impossible. You just need the right tips, tricks, and tools to do it – which is what we’re here for!
TIPS AND TRICKS FOR TRAINING MULTIPLE DOGS
We won’t lie to you – training more than one dog takes some technique and a lot of practice.
But here are a few things you can do to make training multiple dogs a little easier:
- Stay positive and calm
- Train individually first
- Enlist the help of a friend or family member
- Reward all positive moments
- Name your pack
- Don't play favorites
- Give individual attention (outside of training)
Let's look at each one below. 👇
1. STAY POSITIVE AND CALM
Did you know that dogs mimic your energy? While it’s easy to get overwhelmed when training any amount of dogs, staying positive and calm is key for getting your dog to do the same.
This will help your dog form positive, happy associations with training sessions, which will keep them engaged and focused.
2. TRAIN INDIVIDUALLY FIRST
Before getting your dogs together for group training sessions, work with them individually first. This is absolutely vital for successfully training two or more dogs!
Make sure they know basic behaviors (sit, look at me, stay, , etc.) and safety behaviors (impulse control, leash walking, etc.) down individually first, to make group training safer and more effective.
You may need to put your other dog in a crate or separate room to help the dog you are training focus on you, and not what the other dog is doing.
3. ENLIST THE HELP OF A FRIEND OR FAMILY MEMBER
This is super helpful when you need to focus on one dog at a time, when you’re working on behaviors that require a second person (like or impulse control), or simply when you need another set of hands.
Getting the help of a friend or family member will make training your dogs much less stressful! Even if it's only for an hour or two a week, it'll pay dividends in the long run.
4. REWARD ALL POSITIVE MOMENTS
Just because it’s not one dog’s “turn” doesn’t mean you can’t reward them. In fact, you should.
Any time they are waiting calmly while you work with the other dog, showing target behaviors, or working well with their fur siblings, be sure to mark and reward those behaviors.
5. NAME YOUR PACK
Just as it’s important for your dog to know their individual name, it’s just as important for your group of dogs to respond collectively. This makes it a lot easier for you to address all of your dogs instead of one at a time, which can get a little complicated when you are looking for them to do things together, like come when called.
Whether it be “boys,” “pups,” “The Smith Dogs,” or anything else you choose, pick a short and sweet name and mix that into training sessions.
6. DON’T PLAY FAVORITES
You may have one dog that needs a little extra help in one skill or one who pays attention a little better during training. Whatever the case may be, it’s important to make eye contact with, talk to, and work with all of your dogs equally.
Keep them engaged and on their toes (paws?) so they know that at any time, you could be asking something of them – they’ll pay much better attention when they know a treat could be theirs at any moment!
7. GIVE INDIVIDUAL ATTENTION (OUTSIDE OF TRAINING)
While this last tip isn't specifically training related, it is extremely important to give each dog individual attention and time. This will help you nurture your relationship with each dog and improve your communication in the process.
Find time to go on little individual "doggy dates" to the park, around the block, or to the pet store to choose a favorite toy or treat.
If this sounds like a lot of work… well, it is. But that’s not a bad thing! Training multiple dogs can definitely take some practice and getting used to, but persistence pays off when you have all of your dogs succeeding.
TRAINING MULTIPLE DOGS: TOOLS YOU'LL NEED
While training multiple dogs takes time and practice, there are some tools you can utilize to make sessions easier and more effective.
We suggest starting with these tools:
- Basic training tools. Start with the basics like appropriately sized crates, , a , a , and a for outdoor training sessions. And remember it’s better to have something and not use it right away than wish you had something in the moment.
- Safety training tools. Having a short and a will keep your dog safe while working on a variety of skills. It’s also helpful to have flashlights and reflective patches if your training will last into the evening.
- Training treats. A high-value reward is the foundation of positive reinforcement training. Be sure to choose low-calorie treats with natural ingredients so your dog can enjoy their reward while staying healthy. .
- Pupford Academy. Get access to a , videos, and resources to guide you through training a variety of behaviors – all led by expert dog trainers and professionals.
At the end of the day, the most effective tools you can have for training multiple dogs are patience and a positive mindset. It sounds cliche, but it’s true!
Embrace all the challenges that come with training multiple dogs and you’ll find that it can be extremely rewarding – and even a lot of fun.
If you haven't yet, be sure to sign up for the 100% free online video course, 30 Day Perfect Pup. While it focuses on training one dog, the principles will transfer over to training multiple dogs! You'll get access to guided videos covering topics like crate training, leash walking, potty training, and more.
If you’ve been through the process of training multiple dogs, how was your experience? Share with other pup parents in the comments below!