Puppy Training – Tips for Multiple Puppies


Comments Off on Puppy Training – Tips for Multiple Puppies Dog Videos, Doodles, Dreamydoodles News, New Puppy, Our Guardian Program, Potty Training, Socialization, Training

Two of our Puppies!

Two of our Puppies!

I’ve been training multiple puppies for our families and let’s be honest this is very tough! They like each other so much it’s difficult to create a bond between you and each individual puppy. I found these tips to be to be useful and so I thought I would share…

For some families, having two puppies can be double the fun or double the trouble!!

Some families want their new pup to have a companion which I fully agree with however, you should know that Training time will be multiplied!

Dogs don’t train themselves – and they may teach each other things you didn’t want them to learn!! What one doesn’t think of, the other one will. There will be twice as much poop to scoop, twice the food bill, vet bill, training bill, grooming bill. Twice as much wear and tear on the yard and three times as much attention.

You must make time with each pup separately and time working together so they can learn to focus on you in each other’s presence.

There are some specific steps that need to be taken in homes that have two puppies and implementing these tips now can help avoid behavioral issues down the road.

Puppies often pester adult dogs unmercifully. Well-socialized adult dogs with good temperaments may set limits with puppies with a growl or snarl/snap. This is normal and should be allowed. Adult dogs that aren’t well-socialized, or that have a history of fighting with other dogs, may attempt to set limits with more aggressive behaviors, which could harm the puppy. For this reason, a puppy shouldn’t be left unsupervised with an adult dog until you’re confident the puppy isn’t in any danger.

Healthy bond – or co-dependent?

Dogs need to learn how to be alone. It’s not healthy for your dog to be so bonded with its housemate that it becomes stressed if separated.

One dilemma is deciding whether to keep the pups in one crate together when you go out or are sleeping, or to have separate crates for each. While finances and togetherness may make it seem like staying together all the time is a good idea, behaviorally it’s much better to have separate crates for each dog.

There are many reasons for this, not the least of which is that the puppies need to be able to function independently of one another. When two puppies grow up together (regardless of whether or not they’re siblings), if they are together 24/7, severe anxiety issues can develop when they’re apart. While it may seem that’s not a problem because they’ll pretty much always be together, in reality there will be times when they will need to be separated.

Another reason for the dogs to spend time apart is so they’ll each know how to relax. If they are together at all times, puppies will likely wrestle and play almost constantly, which can lead to having two dogs who don’t know when “enough is enough.” By having separate quiet time in their crates, they will learn to relax during appropriate times.

They must learn how to be alone. Take extra pains to choreograph solo socialization opportunites for each pup alone. Take turns providing separate car rides, separate trips to the park, separate rich socialization ops with people and other dogs, separate classes. It is essential that they learn to be comfortable being left behind and confident going out alone. These one-at-a-time outings will need to continue well beyond their first birthdays in order for them to establish a confident working relationship with you in each other’s absence.

Initial obedience training also MUST occur one-on-one. Once the animals each understand the cues working alone with distractions, they can be worked in pairs, and eventually as a whole group together. It is important that the animals recognize their names and clearly understand cue discrimination, and the first challenge for the trainer is that your puppy understands that a cue is only for that individual puppy when his name is said before the command. This can take time.

Their bond is strong – to each other. Unless you make it a point to become the most important thing in their lives, they may become more important to each other than to you. While you are at work, they spend the majority of every day with each other and only a tiny fragment with you. They are joined at the hip. They may become “dog-dogs” instead of “people-dogs”. This is not what you want in a pet. You want your dog to be loyal to you and your family as well as his doggy friends.

They choose each other, instead of you.
They may depend more on each other and less on you for interesting activities and playtime. When they are bored they will look to each other for entertainment, instead of to you.

Multiply your training time by THREE.You must train each pup separately AND provide training sessions working them together so they learn to take turns and listen for commands directed at them specifically. You will have to be conscious that, no matter how hard you try not to, you may spend more training time with the “easier” puppy – so the behavior and training of the more difficult puppy deteriorates even further. They will also teach each other things you hoped neither pup would ever learn!

They find confidence in each other instead of you.
If the higher status puppy takes off, the lower status pup will follow his lead. If one becomes alarmed the other will, also. If the higher status pup is supicious of people, the lower status pup may believe there is something to fear. If one is inclined to be a barker, and goes off at every little thing, it will trigger the other. Pack mentality abounds!

Having each other doesn’t teach them how to get along with dogs outside the family.
Just because I had a brother doesn’t mean I knew how to get along with new kids on the school playground. If one puppy is a bully and the other a softie, the bully may exercise this attitude with every dog he meets, while the softer pup may never learn self confidence – or her confidence may be false, relying on the other puppy to tell her if it’s safe and allowing him to run interference. They need to meet other dogs on their own.

Living in the shadow of their sibling, they never have a chance to grow into the great dog they could have been.
You will need to be alert to each pup’s strengths and weaknesses, their talents and interests and appreciate and cultivate the great dog they are meant to be.

5 tips to make raising two puppies a success:

  1. The pups should sleep separately, in separate crates and eat from separate bowls, no trading allowed!
  2. They should attend separate training classes – or failing that, work on opposite sides of the room.
  3. They should go on separate outings, experience the world without the support of the other and learn to look to you for security and leadership.
  4. Be the source of the “best” games and activities.
  5. Establish a rich and deep relationship with each pup as an individual.


A common mistake is to let the puppies become a dog pack of its own that happens to reside in your house. This can lead to the dogs having too much of a relationship with each other and not enough of a relationship with the humans. By working with the dogs separately, you’ll have the opportunity to develop a relationship with each dog so they learn to respect you, respond to commands and become a part of the overall household pack, including the humans.

Other steps that should be taken include making sure the puppies have separate food and water bowls so that resource guarding issues to not develop as they mature, and so you can control how much food each dog is eating. Also, they should each have their own leash and collar which they’ll associate with going out on walks or practicing training. Overall, every aspect of their lives should be treated as if they are individual dogs… which they are.

By implementing some of these steps as early as possible, you and your puppies can all have the best possible relationships while avoiding problems in the future.

Related Images: