Two Dogs Together

Discussion in 'General Dog Training' started by Dani72, Jan 28, 2013.

  1. Dani72 Member

    P1020407.JPG I would love some advice on the following.

    My two dogs are the best of friends. They are always together and sleep entwined. However they are jealous of each other getting attention. As soon as my hand goes out to pet one dog, the other is there too looking for attention.

    When I want to tell the dogs not to do something, the correction I use is an Ah Ah voice and a raised finger.

    Lila is very intelligent and needs very little in the way of correction, often just the finger and the slightest sound will do. She is very sensitive.
    Ron on the other hand is a big daft lump and not very bright. He needs a firmer sharper tone.

    I am working on the dogs sitting nicely when they want something. Lila has picked this up beautifully, Ron has kind of got the idea and often starts out sitting, but his exuberance tends to get the better of him and the paws come up.

    Unfortunately, when I correct Ron, Lila who will be behaving very well, thinks she is being corrected. Confusing for her.

    I try also to reward good behaviour with praise, of course, so when Lila comes and sits for something, I say good girl and pat her, but Ron sees this as his cue to bulldoze in!

    I would like to try to get on top of this before I get my new German Shepherd next weekend.

    I've been advised by someone who knows the shepherd that the correction he responds best to is a quick shake of a small plastic bottle filled with stones. However I'm really worried that this will upset Lila.

    I'd love to hear your thoughts.
    MaryK likes this.

  2. Mutt Experienced Member

    Well first of all welcome :)

    The attention is probably a learned habit (whenever they ask for attention when the otherone gets attention you probably gave it). So asking for attention = getting attention. To be honost I can't be really bothered by this kind of behavior but if you want to change it I would go for self-control and ignore the second dog if you are busy with the first. Working with one dog (training) while the other one has to wait is also an good exercise for this. You can choose to put the other dog in a different room (this is what I do, though the other dog can still see me through the glass of the door) or give them a stay on a mat or something (this has to be slowely increased and worked on for/with the waiting dog).

    I think it is a good idea to train the dogs seperately, this way you can addapt your training to the dog.
    It also is nice to give them one on one attention.
    Also I wouldn't go for correcting when Ron does the exercise wrong, but instead reinforce the behavior you want (and ignore the undesired behavior). When you do need to 'correct' with an ahah first say the name of the dog you mean, learn your dog their names (if they haven't already) and work with the dogs while you ask only one of the two to do something while the other one has to wait (very fun the do :))

    The stones thing I absolutely hate. The idea is that the sound is connected to an umpleasant experience (getting scared by suddenly getting a bottle with rocks with it trown towards you). I would advise not to do this. Have you heard about clicker training?
    I think these are some interesting sites/videos for you to watch :)
    - http://www.youtube.com/user/kikopup
    - http://www.youtube.com/user/pamelamarxsen
    - www.dogmantics.com

    Also have fun with the GSD (and of course Ron and Lila ;)), what will be his/her name?
    MaryK, Dlilly and southerngirl like this.
  3. Dani72 Member

    Thank you so much for the reply.
    You are absolutely right about the asking for and getting attention. Very obvious to me-now you have pointed it out. I do want to change it, if only so I can give Lila the appropriate attention. It is very difficult to ignore Ron, particularly as this generally happens when I am sitting on the sofa. He kind of flattens me with his paws, but I'll do my best.

    I do generally say the name of the dog, but Lila is responsive more to the tone of voice than what is actually said. I haven't yet managed to get one to wait while the other is doing something, but this is something I realise I must work on.
    I have started putting one outside while I work with the other and this is helping.

    Thank you for your thought on the bottle. I wasn't completely happy with it as it does feel very negative, (although it wouldn't have been thrown, just given one shake.)I'll give that a miss.

    I realise that clicker training is very effective, but I've always had an aversion to the sound of a clicker. I have a hearing loss and certain sounds are very uncomfortable for me. (That probably doesn't make much sense to anyone with normal hearing). However I am open to trying it and will look at the references you have given me. I really feel that with 3 dogs in the house, I have to have them as well trained as possible.
    Thank you for your help.
    Mutt and MaryK like this.
  4. southerngirl Honored Member

    Different clickers will make different sounds, but if none of them are comfortable for you than just use "yes" as a marker.
    Mutt, MaryK and Dlilly like this.
  5. Dani72 Member

    I'll try that. Thanks.

    I forgot to say, we are going to call the GSD Rafa.
    southerngirl and MaryK like this.
  6. Linda A Experienced Member

    Welcome! Hope you get things worked out with the dogs.
    MaryK likes this.
  7. Dani72 Member

    Well, having watched the videos and read the threads, I'm sold. I'm going to buy a clicker. I'll just mute the sound as much as I can.
    I will work with the dogs separately, but can I use the clicker when both dogs are in the room or out on walks together?
    I'm thinking that if every click means a treat, what happens with the dog that I don't want to reward? That dog will obviously hear the click too.
    southerngirl and MaryK like this.
  8. MaryK Honored Member

    I work with two dogs and use a clicker. What I do is say the name of the dog first i.e. Ra Kismet Roll Over (giving verbal or hand cue) click/treat and ignore the other dog (Zeus). Then during training with Ra Kismet, who's much younger and loves tricks, I ask my older boy Zeus for 'shake paws' click/treat, very quickly, if he's been sitting like a good boy (he has 'senior moments nowadays). Don't worry about the other dog, just get them both trained to sit on their mat while you work with one dog. They won't get confused if you use the NAME of the dog your working with at that time.

    I also work the two dogs together, with easy tricks as Zeus is a 'golden oldie', we do simple tricks such as 'double shake paws' both dogs sit next to each other and offer shake paws together, one click/treat and of course, each dog gets a treat.

    Normally I will work the two together first, so my older boy doesn't feel left out. Then ask him to sit and work with my younger boy. I also just drop the odd treat over to my older boy with just a 'good boy' when he's sat for a while just watching. He usually offer his paw for shake paws but I don't ask for it.

    In your case, I would work with Ron the more energetic dog first. That way he'll use up some of his excess energy. Also maybe give him a Kong stuffed with something really yummy and ask for 'stay' when you're working your other dog. A Kong should keep him entertained.:)

    With the clicker, you can easily mute the sound using Blue Tac and as Southerngirl has said, different clickers have a different sound. The box clicker is quite loud and maybe not suitable for yourself. The Iclick which is the one I prefer has quite a soft sound, it may be better for you.

    And please don't use the stone thing - that's old school training and frankly it DOESN'T WORK. I had, up until recently, GSD all my life and they are very sensitive, willing to work dogs, so a clicker, or if that doesn't work for you, just a 'yes' instead will work wonders. Always train a GSD with positive reinforcement, they respond to it really really well!

    Love the name Rafa - is it after Raphael Nadal?? LOL My Fav. tennis player!
    southerngirl likes this.
  9. MissyBC Experienced Member

    I have two clickers: one was for my cat, (I taught her to "sit pretty") and one was for my BC Missy. The cat's clicker was the "Paba" clicker and is quieter than the "Star Mark" clicker (which is loud!)

    This is what I would do: get 3 clickers (each one with a different clicking sound), and use one clicker for each dog. So say, clicker 1 = Ron's clicker, clicker 2 = Lila's, and clicker 3 = Rafa's clicker. :)

    Maybe if you got a clicker for each dog and they learned their specific clicker sounds, then maybe they would learn that: "oh, that's not MY click", that's Ron's click etc. :)

    I hope my idea is helpful!

    Good luck!
    MaryK likes this.
  10. Mutt Experienced Member

    First of all I'd like to say that I think it is great that you are open to clickertraining and the suggestion in this thread :)

    Like southerngirl already pointed out you could also use another sound, I also use a 'clickword' but the the click has benifits which the clickword doesn't. If the sound is unpleasant to you, you could use something different (like clicking with a ballpoint) or get a clicker which you can mute (in this thread the sounds of different clickers are demonstrated). As long as the tone is always the same, you can easily produce the sound and is short.

    I use one clicker for my two dogs. You like to train them seperately (so I don't have to worry about the other dog and the dog that has to wait can progress what we just worked on). I sometimes let one of the dogs lie on a mat while I work with the other and just toss a treat every now and than at the waiting dog (in the beginning for every click both dogs got something but I decreased this slowely). I think that though dogs can differentiate between the sounds they also would still make the connection that the click is still from a clicker if you know what I mean. I have a clicker which you can mute (which is handy when I'm working closeby or from a distance) and the dogs react whether it is set on loud or on soft.
    This video demonstrates how you can train multiple dogs at the same time:


    Rafa is a lovely name, looking forward to some pics of him (her?) :)
    k9 crazed, MaryK and southerngirl like this.

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