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Dog Care Info, Issue 46
June 08, 2013
We are at the Petzexpo at the Bellville Velodrome this weekend and I thought to answer a very popular question asked so far this weekend...
Many people want to know how to do training when they have more than one dog especially if they are not happy being separated.
I always try to advice people to separate their dogs in the beginning when doing training so that they are able to establish new behaviours with each dog before adding them together. Then when you do add them together they already have a good foundation to work with. You might have to take a step or 2 back in your training but it's still easier.
Remember when doing training we only add one criteria at a time and adding them together is a criteria in it's own in the form of a distraction by changing the dogs environment.
A new environment is not only referred to as a location but also adding people or other dogs or animals.
If you are not able to do training first by separating your dogs then start to work with one dog while the other dog is in the same area still visible to each other but separate them by making use of a baby gate or crate or any other barrier. You could also ask a friend or family member to calmly sit with the other dog while you work with one dog as long as that person is not a distraction for the dogs. I would suggest have a leash on the dog you are working with. Start off by working on getting the dog to focus on you by starting with the look at me cue. The next thing would be to teach the dog to go to his bed or mat and stay there. Repeat the same training with the other dog.
If both dogs seem calm meaning; not whining, barking, lunging panting heavily etc start to for very brief moments to increase the distance between the two dogs. The end goal would be to be able to move out of sight of each other without them going over threshold, meaning they are calm even happy to be away from each other. This will be over a couple of daily short training sessions of no more than 5-10 minutes at a time. Both dogs will be positively reinforced during this training.
When they are happy to do training separate you can start teaching different behaviours and putting them on cue and once they know the new wanted behaviours well you can only then start adding them together again to do training. This will mean that you will go down a few criterion's in your training but they will very quickly do the new behaviours like they did before you added them together.
Once they are comfortable to do training apart from each other and together you can start to do different behavioiurs simultaneously. Now that both dogs have learned to go to their beds you can ask one dog to stay on his bed while asking the other dog to do something different including playing games.
To help you with this I would teach each dog individually to stay on it's bed once this is established you can start to play with a toy which teaches your dog to not only leave the toy but to leave the toy while staying in his place. Then when you do this with another dog while you one dogs stays on it's bed it's very much the same but a new criteria for your dogs as they are now the new distraction for each other.
If you need any more help with this contact us by clicking on the reply button of this ezine as well as get a copy of my book Shaping Your Dog-The Positive Way. Not only will this book help you untrain common unwanted behaviours but it will help you work on what you do want and how to help your dog understand what you want. Dogs are not stubborn, stupid or naughty we need to be clear on what we do want and know how to ask it of them. The book will also help you understand your dogs body language when interacting with you or other dogs as well as understand dog behaviour and training.
Just for tomorrow we have it on a exhibition special price of less R35 as well as Winter Dogs;Living with Huskies as Pet Dogs less R25. The book is about understanding Huskies , some important training tips for husky owners including recall training and their ultimate form of exercise called sledding.
Click on the image for more information.
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