How To Train Two Dogs

Raising dogs in general isn’t easy, but here are some helpful tips on how to raise two dogs!

Are you thinking of getting a puppy but unsure if you want one or two dogs? There are a lot of reasons and benefits for having two dogs, but just remember there are also some downfalls to this.

It’s much more difficult to train two dogs in one household let alone a single dog. In fact, if you are buying from a breeder, they usually will not allow two puppies to leave their premises bound for the same home (we often advise to take in rescues!); let's take a look at the common issues when raising two dogs.

Common problems people deal with trying to raise two puppies at a time:

  1. Lack of time, Energy & Expenses
  2. Excessive stubbornness usually from both sides
  3. Stronger pack drive
  4. Scheduled play sessions (dogs can get very jealous if you pay attention to only one and not the other!)
  5. Same sex issues

If you already own a dog at home and plan on bringing another dog home as a buddy for your current dog. The most important thing to do is to establish your role in the pack (show them who’s boss!) Yes, you read that right, you must always be seen as the leader of the pack for the group from day one.

Here are some tips for training two dogs at once…

Train one dog at a time…

The easiest way to train two dogs is to train them one at a time. Teach the first dog how to do something first(ex: dog tricks, potty training) then train the other dog how to do it. Only then can you expect both of them to do it together.

Training them separately with the dog completely out of sight…

Make sure to train them separately, with the other dog completely out of sight (It’s a must!) during the entire training session for best results. That way, you are able to give your full attention to both dogs individually and also to teach each dog at their own pace just like us humans (yes, i said it!!).  

Always remember which dog is your dominant/first dog…

The most important thing to remember is which dog is your dominant dog. Usually it’s the older one or the first dog you own. It’s important to support/pay attention to the dominant dog at all times (not like you don’t support the newer dog), but the dominant dog gets the first choice in nearly everything you do ex: first attention, first treats, etc. That way, your dominant dog will less likely get jealous or become aggressive with the second dog like a drama queen.

While we humans manage to make the transition to the additional workload (Feeding, walking, scooping, grooming, training, veterinary care), our resident dogs can sometimes take issue with the newcomer.

If we could read our dog’s minds, this is properly what they are most likely thinking...

“Wait just a minute… Who the hell is that?! How long is he/she staying?? And he/she is sleeping where? Excuse me?! Hey you!, Yeah i'm talking to you! Get that nose out of my dish! Also, that’s my human you’re exposing your belly to. Here is the door and you can leave now.”

While we want to make the new guy feel welcomed, we also want our first dog to know we still love him.

Sleeping Area

Whether that can be a dog pillow, a crate, or a separate room, each dog should have their personal and private place where they can retreat to and be alone when necessary.

Helpful Tips - We crate-trained each of our dogs until they were housebroken, at which point each dog graduated to it’s own dog pillow. Each night, when we tell our dogs to “go to bed”, each dog rushes to his/her respective pillow.

Playing Toys

The day when you decide to bring the new dog into your home, you should also bring home a couple of brand new toys (make sure these toys were never played by any other dogs!). Give these to the older dog to sniff and approve first. In a short time he will allow the newer dog to play with them on his own. Since these were never his toys to begin with; chances are, the older dog won’t be interested in the new toys due to age-appropriate puppy toys which may bore an older dog.

Having multiple identical toys and making your dogs sit for toys and games, teaches them patience and sharing (Although dogs usually want what the other dog has!).

Food & Water Bowls

Dogs should have their own food area (Food bowls and water bowls) to prevent food aggression from happening. Sometimes, it may be necessary to place one dog’s bowls in one room, and the other dog’s bowl in a different room. Other times, it will be perfectly okay to keep them in the same room, but make sure they are on the opposite walls or something (Just in case). All dogs are different so pay close attention to the dog's personality.

Walking your dogs

Have both dog’s sit for their leashes and the door; remember that walks are controlled by the human and not the dogs.

Dog #1: Sitting eliminates the need to wrestle with the new guy over who goes first.

Dog #2: Knows what he/she is expected inside and outside the house.

We hope these were some helpful tips in managing to take care of more than two or more dogs! Feel free to leave us comments, we would love to hear from you!

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