• I was wondering if any of you have any tips for training B's in a multi-dog household. We recently got a new pup, Lexi, who's now 14 weeks old. She's sister to Charlie, our 15-month-old 'first-born'.

    I used clicker-training with Charlie, except instead of a clicker, I used the word 'yes' to tell him he did the right thing. I'm using the same method with Lexi. The problem is this:

    1/ When I give Lexi a command, Charlie doesn't realize I'm talking to Lexi and not to him, so he follows through on the command and expects a treat too!

    2/ When Charlie does something good, and I say 'yes' to him, Lexi comes running for a treat, even though she didn't do anything to deserve it.

    The whole premise of clicker training is that the click or the 'yes' is a marker of the exact moment that the dog did something right - am I messing things up for my pooches if I say 'yes' when one dog does something right, but the other one is just milling around?

    I always make eye contact with the dog I'm talking to. Also, I usually precede the command with the dog's name ("Lexi, sit"), but the pooches haven't figured it out yet. Any suggestions?

  • I would suggest using their names before all of the commands. I don't use clickers or even commands before giving treats all the times, and I get both dogs to do different things when I'm at my parents. It may take a few days, but they should get the hang of who did the right thing, and who's getting a treat. Just keep at it and they will figure it out.

  • I use clicker training and will click the dog I am working with even if I have another dog hanging around. They seem to sort it out.

    Michael is right on about using names when giving the command really helping. If you say "Lexi, sit" and Charlie sits, he gets no reward, you were not speaking to him. If you just say "sit" then anyone who sits gets a reward. If the dog does not do as asked it does not get the reward. My dogs start looking really thinking about what they are doing wrong when everyone else is getting treats and they are not.

    Also make sure that you have some time set aside to work each dog as an individual away from the other dog, especially when teaching a new behavior.

  • I think many people forget to teach a dog hand signals as well as verbal commands. There are times will come along where you will find this very valuable . For example, sometimes people are on the phone but the dog is getting into something they should not. Another is when you are having a conversation with another human face to face.

    Hand signals can even save a dogs life.

    So my suggestion until each dog learns its name is to use both their name, hand signals, and a treat to reward them when they comply.

    I have two dogs I do train together. I have also trained each one in the basics individually.

    There are many benefits of training two dogs together. If one learns faster than the other, then the slower learner can also learn by example from the other dog.

    Treats are very important, but this can also get expensive. So for that purpose, I use plain Cherios and the dogs love them. You can even use the Generic ones you find in your local Grocery Store such as Aldi's. They are very cheap and you can put them in your pocket in a zip lock bag.

    I would also suggest you invest in a very long lead and not a retractable one. This will allow you to give your dog some room so you can still maintain control while you teach them to stay. This is also a perfect lead to let them run around some in the park after you walk them on a normal lead. Our Basenji Roo loves this and knows exactly what is going to happen when we change his lead after a walk. So it is also an indication of play time for him.

    I personally train my dogs for 15 mins or less each time I walk them or am running a training session in the house. You will find that if you use the Cherrios as a training tool, your dogs will really start to focus on you and be less distracted.

    By the way I do not use a clicker because if you are around someone else that is also using one it can be confusing for your dog. Also if you are in a circumstance where you do not have your clicker or forgot it, then you still need to maintain control of your dog.

    I hope this helps,


  • Also, a cheap training treat is chicken hot dog…you cut them up into small pieces and nuke them in the micro until they look like leather.
    My dogs love them...

  • Another cheap training treat is the Natural Choice rolls of dog food. It is designed to be their main food not a treat but I can't afford it as a regular food. Instead I get a roll and cut off several slices and cube them up. Then I can store them in the fridge. The large roll is like $7 and I can get 4gladware containers full of cubes from that. Cheap as a dog treat that way.

    Beegin really likes these better than any brand treat I've gotten (with the possible exception of baked Tyson chicken but that's not quite sold at pet stores:) )

    Additionally, when we were in obedience class and I had these, other owner's dogs were coming over to me and sitting etc to get my treats rather than their owner's variety.

  • Our boy won't touch the roll food. We tried it with him, and he just walks away, won't eat it at all!

    He likes all the other things listed in this thread though!!

  • Thanks, everyone, for the tips. Thankfully, Charlie and Lexi do seem to be understanding that "Charlie, sit" or "Lexi, come" doesn't apply to both of them! Charlie - the older one - seems to understand better, though it's practically impossible to keep him away when I say "come" even if I say Lexi's name first. I guess he knows there are better treats for coming than for the other commands :rolleyes:

    As Ivoss suggested, I'm training them separately as well as together. When I train them together, I get one of them to sit and stay, while the other one gets a string of 4-5 commands. If they make a mistake, I say "too bad" and switch to the other one for a while. It seems to work well.

    Taking them out together is the hardest part, though. They don't walk well together, and when I get the chance to let them off leash, I find that Charlie gets more 'pig-headed' with Lexi around than when he is alone with me - or maybe I'm just imagining. Today, he found all sorts of stuff to gobble down - goose poops mainly - and refused to "leave it" no matter what I said or did! He was off leash then, so I couldn't just pull him away. What do you do when your pooch doesn't "leave it"? I remember a previous thread where Janneke mentioned letting her B finish eating and praising/treating when he came to her afterwards. Any other strategies?

  • I've usually found that the B's do understand, they've just decided that this is a way to get more stuff for free! Since I have a pack in my house if I tell one to sit, you can bet the others come running and sit to! just for the treat! It is easier to train them separately. I'll take Shadow outside (since he's the obedience one) to train.

    As for Charlie eating poop, I'm of the frame that no matter what you need a good base on lead first, then should move to off lead. He's not going to 'leave it' off lead unless he's 100% on lead.

  • @nomrbddgs:

    As for Charlie eating poop, I'm of the frame that no matter what you need a good base on lead first, then should move to off lead. He's not going to 'leave it' off lead unless he's 100% on lead.

    Agreed. On and off leash, he will "leave it" when it comes to inedible garbage like kleenex, discarded fast food containers, and other such goodies. (Without the command, he'd carry them around or rip them apart.) But when it comes to actual food - chicken wing bones, cat poops, goose poops - he will not leave it whether he's on or off leash. He will leave his own food (kibble) and his own treats (cheese, chicken pieces) during training sessions at home, but all bets are off if he finds other kinds of food outside.

    For now, I tell him to "leave it" a few times, tell him "too bad" if he doesn't listen (which he understands to mean that he missed out on a treat), and I do pull him away if he's on leash. If he's off leash, I just let him go at it. Not sure if this is the best approach, but not sure what else to try.

  • Just read some past threads about resource guarding:



    I'm going to order "Mine" by Jean Donaldson. Sounds like there may be some good ideas there.

  • I've got two B x's and I really feel your pain about trying to train them both at the same time! As others have said, it's best to try to get some alone time with each of them and then work them together…..

    As for when out walking, I have the same issue...our first born is much better behaved, except when they are together in which case he just stirs up trouble with the other one. What we have found works the best is to take them down to the park on leads, and then let the better behaved one off the lead and attach his lead to the others lead (so it's now twice as long) and do a few laps of the park with one off lead and the other on a long lead. Once we've gotten them around a few times and they are both a bit more settled we let the other one off. This works brilliantly. Once they are both off, they behave fairly well and come when called. If we started off with them both off they just tend to wind each other up and end up running around like crazy animals.

    As far as getting them to 'leave it' when off lead....I have had some success with this, although not always (foster rubbed his face in something very gross just the other day YUCK). I find a very stern 'leave it' works most times, however if it doesn't, I get as close to them as possible and clap my hands really loudly followed by a 'leave it' as loud as I can. I think this just shocks them and gets their attention away from whatever disgusting thing they were looking at.

    Best of luck to you!!!

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