Training Two Puppies at Once
A neighbor of mine once had two Doberman puppies. They were over four months old, and I’d been giving her a hand with the basics of training since she got them a couple of months earlier. They were brother and sister. At first, it was quite a challenge to train two puppies together, even with the two of us humans. The puppies had their own tiny enclosed yard but at that point they could get back into the main yard in a jiffy; then that was fixed. One of us would hold one of them while the other did some clicker training and then we’d switch off, but neither puppy was all that eager to sit on the sidelines!
A further complication was the language. I was living in Mexico then, by Lake Chapala outside of Guadalajara, and Rosa’s English was minimal. My Spanish got us by, and the puppies learned both Come and Ven, both Sit and Sientate. It worked, though some of my explanation to Rosa of how the clickers work lost a little in translation.
The puppies were afraid of me when I first started coming over but a couple of sessions with food treats took care of that. Rosa and her husband Victor had already been teaching them to sit, and so I added the clicker to that. Rosa and I would just hold a piece of dry dog food or other treat over the dogs’ heads till they sat, then click and reward. Pele just loved to sit. Whenever he wasn’t quite sure what to do, he sat.
Soon they walked pretty well on leash and had crates they were used to, so things advanced quite a bit. We could each work with one — it was like having our own puppy class!
We worked on their staying, and we took them out for walks where there are more distractions. Rosa and Victor often took them places too.
Ushka was a very mouthy girl. Right from the start, I showed Rosa some Tellington TTouches to do around her mouth, and they helped a lot. The image is of a program that my husband Kelly and I produced with noted animal trainer Linda Tellington-Jones. We learned about her method by making the program.
Later, when I would go down the street, Rosa usually had Pele out of the way. Ushka greeted me at the entry and tended to jump up and nip. By having just one puppy, I at least had a chance to get her to sit. She was one smart cookie and quickly got better at fulfilling our requests..
I had never trained Dobies before. I must say these two were a great pleasure as they learned so quickly. A good thing, as they were growing rapidly. I learned from these times together that while training two puppies at once brings its challenges, it is also very rewarding, seeing how each one learns.
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