How to Train More Than One Dog At a Time

don-with-group-of-dogs-family

QUESTION:

Don, I have 5 dogs: 4 months old, 3 years old, 2 x 4 years old, and a 10 year old. How do I start training them – one by one, or at same time?

 

ANSWER:

Basically, you first lay the foundation of training with each of them individually and then you start to bring them together for group training once they’ve begun to show compliance in a number of areas. First building the core respect for you as the leader (with each of them on their own) is the key to realizing solid results.

The most important thing at this stage is to review the Quick Start Guide as this contains the critical points to remember, and it features a training plan at the beginning. If you first follow this plan with each of your dogs individually, you will reach a point where you can start bringing them together for the more advanced training lessons.

Also watch both DVDs in their entirety before beginning any training. Seeing that you have more than one dog, it’s especially important that you have a solid understanding of the training process before your start. Even though you may be tempted to think that a certain lesson doesn’t apply to any of your dogs, watching that lesson can still be extremely valuable as you’ll pick up on training tips that will help you in other areas.

Remember that success using my Perfect Dog system depends on proper application of the corrective technique. Just the presence of the Command Collar alone on the dogs will not change your dogs’ behavior. Each of your dogs currently has an individual self-perceived level in the home pack hierarchy. You as your dogs’ newly awakened leader need to assess each of these levels and then implement corrections that exceed them. You’ll probably find that certain of your dogs need to be dealt with at higher levels than the others because those dogs have more dominant personalities. (Of course, always be mindful to balance your corrections with plenty of praise and play as the best rewards for good behavior.)

If you implement corrections at a level that’s lower than that which a certain dog needs, you will not motivate that particular dog to fully submit to your authority. You could find yourself gaining control over one particular dog for example, but not another. I know I’m now expanding on points I’ve already made in my response to you, but it’s vitally important that you grasp the concept seeing that you have so many dogs.

As explained in my Perfect Dog DVDs, every dog is different depending on the breed, individual personality traits, how many years bad behavior and habits have been allowed to develop in the dog, and many other factors. Therefore, every dog needs to be trained at a different level. However, the method of training itself doesn’t change since my Nature-Based Discipline, Praise & Play Method™ has been created to connect with the innate canine nature that’s common to all dogs. So, rest assured that if you find yourself struggling with one particular dog, it’s not the type of training that’s failing. Rather, there’s something wrong with your implementation.

Okay, now that I’ve drummed that point home (thanks for your patience), let me tell you why you shouldn’t start training your dogs all together from the very beginning. Simply put, your dogs will “feed” off of each other to build resistance against you. They will rally together as a pack (in ways you won’t even necessarily notice) and the weaker members will gain strength from the more dominant ones. Never underestimate how much influence a disobedience dog can have over a normally more compliant dog! (This is why I’m not a fan of free-for-all dog parks.) Each dog needs to be drawn away from the group environment to start bonding with you as the overall leader. Once a dog is happily deferring to you for direction and starting to display self-governance within the new rules and boundaries you’ve established, he will be capable of overriding his desire to follow bad influences because he knows you won’t tolerate it.

So, now that you’re set as far as the theory is concerned, you need to make sure you’re properly equipped for your situation. You will need a Command Collar and a set of Freedom Training Lines for each dog. This way, the other dogs can still be kept under control while you focus on one of them, and you’ll have everything you need for when you bring them together for group training. Be sure to review the collar sizing information at the bottom of my “Products” page to determine which size Command Collar each of your dogs will need.

You’ll only need one complete Perfect Dog system and then simply purchase extra equipment sets from the “Accessories” page at www.theperfectdog.com (the official distributor’s website).

Note that if your dogs are a particularly strong challenge then I’ve provided specialized training tips under the “Equipment” section on DVD #1. In this section I discuss critical tips on dealing effectively with stubborn, dominant, overly strong, overly exuberant, and/or aggressive dogs – or even dogs that are resisting giving up their self-perceived leadership in the home pack hierarchy by sulking or using other emotional tactics. Even if a dog is just a puppy, the information discussed within this section is very relevant and it can be extremely helpful in overcoming most challenges.

You certainly have your hands full with five dogs! Nevertheless, if you’re well prepared there’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t be able to achieve amazing results with every one of them.

– Don Sullivan, “The DogFather”

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