Training your dogs is an important part of bonding with them and giving them mental and physical stimulation. Should you train your dogs together or separately?
There are benefits to training your dogs separately and together. Individual dogs may have better results with one method over the other. Try both training methods and determine how your dogs respond to the training and if they retain the information that they learned during the session.
In this article, we will discuss the benefits of training your dogs separately as well as the benefits of training your dogs together. At the end of the day, we recommend trying both ways to see how your dogs respond. Ultimately, the choice is up to you, but you should choose the method that your dogs respond to best.
I have owned and loved dogs for my entire life, and have done a lot of research about training methods. At the end of the day, individual dogs will respond differently to various training methods. You will need to put in the training and work to determine the best way to train your dogs.
Benefits Of Training Your Dogs Separately
There are many benefits to training your dogs separately from each other. When you train your dogs separately, you are able to bond with them better because you are spending time with them individually. This is an extremely important part of training, as dogs are much more likely to listen and respond when they have a strong bond with the person. Training your dogs separately helps you create an individual relationship with each of your dogs.
When you give your dog individualized training sessions, you are able to use training methods that are best for your dog. You are also able to spend as much time as necessary with your dog on a specific trick. When training your dogs together, one might learn a command or trick much faster than the other, meaning one dog will get bored while the other is still learning, or you will move on before one of your dog fully understands the command.
When you train your dogs separately, the training session and your dog can be easier to manage. When you are trying to train multiple dogs at once, it can be hard to get them calm enough to pay attention. Multiple dogs in a training session can create a lot of distractions if they don’t have a good handle on basic obedience commands. Training sessions will be much easier for you as the owner and handler if you train one dog at a time.
Finally, each dog has a different motivator. Some dogs can be motivated by their regular food while others need high-value treats or prefer toys. When you train your dogs separately, you can use that dog’s preferred motivator. When you train them together, you might need to carry a few different types of food and treats to motivate each dog. This can get confusing and even cause your dog to want higher value treats in the future.
Benefits Of Training Your Dogs Together
While there are many benefits to training your dogs separately, there are also great things that happen when you train dogs together. From the trainer’s perspective, training dogs together takes less time than having two different full-length training sessions. This makes it easier for you to teach them more and have longer training sessions.
When dogs are being trained together, they can likely learn from each other. One dog that masters a certain trick quickly can be an example for a dog that isn’t getting it as fast. When one dog sees another being rewarded for responding to a command, they can learn from their example.
You Should Do A Mix Of Both Methods
Ultimately, there are benefits to both training your dogs together and separately. The choice is up to you. However, you might find that your dogs excel in a certain type of training environment. We recommend that you try both training methods. When you do this, pay attention to how your dogs are behaving during the training session and how they respond to commands.
You should also keep track of how much information they retain from each type of session. You can do this by teaching one new command in each different type of training session. Then, you can see which command they remember better. With this information, you can know which training session worked best for each dog to retain the information.
Once you go through this process, you can understand which method is best for your dogs. You might find that one of your dogs does better when trained individually, while the other does better with group sessions. In this case, you might want to continue to use a mix of both methods to benefit both dogs.
Another factor to consider is the age of your dogs and whether they have had any previous training. Many people recommend that puppies and dogs with no previous training have individual training sessions to learn basic obedience commands. This one-on-one time will help them retain information and learn about the process of learning a command before adding the distraction of another dog.
Situations Where You Need To Train Multiple Dogs At Once
There are many situations where you might need to train multiple dogs at once. When you enter one of these situations, you will probably ask yourself whether you should train your dogs separately or together. The answer to that question will depend a lot on the dynamic between your dogs as well as your personal preference.
Adopting Two Puppies
When you adopt two puppies at once, you can be sure that you will be training two dogs at the same time. Puppies have instincts that they are born with but don’t know anything else. It will be up to you to teach them things like house training, crate training, and obedience commands.
As we recommended, you should start by teaching your puppies certain things like commands separately. Then, you can bring them together to practice. Things like house training and crate training can be done together, but each dog will need some special attention, like if one dog has an accident in the house.
Adopting a Dog When You Already Have a Trained Dog
Another situation you might find yourself in is if you adopt a new dog or a puppy when you already have a trained dog. If you adopt a puppy, they will have no prior training. If you adopt an adult dog, they may know some basic commands already.
Either way, it is a good idea to at least have a few individual training sessions with your new dog. This will help you teach them commands that they should know and allows them to form a bond with you. Then, once your dog is feeling more at home and knows a few commands, you can start having practice sessions together with your older dog.
Adopting Two Adult Dogs With Different Levels of Training
Lastly, you might be adopting two adult dogs with different levels of training. When you adopt an adult dog, you can usually assume that they know some commands. This is not always the case. In a situation like this, it is best to start with some individual training sessions. This is important for you to form a connection and a bond with your dog. It also allows you to gauge their current training level.
Once you think your dogs are at the same training level, you can bring them together for group practice sessions. As we said earlier in the article, it is best to teach new commands to dogs separately, then bring them together to practice. This is recommended in this situation. If you follow our recommendations and tips, then your dogs will be trained in no time.
Tips For Training Your Dogs
We have put together a few tips for training multiple dogs at once. In this list, some recommendations are for training your dogs together in one session, while others are for training your dogs separately. This list is intended to help you establish a routine for training that involves both individual and group training sessions.
Teach New Commands Separately and Practice Together
The first tip that we have for training multiple dogs is to teach new commands separately. Reserve your individual training sessions for learning new commands and tricks. Teaching something new often takes a lot of repetition and concentration. If there is another dog in the session, there is an added layer of distraction that can keep your dogs from learning and remembering the trick.
Once both dogs have mastered the command in isolation, you can bring them together for a group training session to practice the command. This will help solidify the training in the minds of your dogs. Seeing another dog doing the trick with them will also help them remember what they are supposed to be doing.
Practice Giving Commands Together in Different Environments
When you do bring your dogs together for a joint training session, be sure to change up the location and environment of your sessions. It is one thing for your dog to perform a command in the comfort of your living room, but will they be able to do the command in another part of the house or the backyard?
The point of teaching commands, at least obedience commands, is that your dog should be able to listen and perform the command in any situation. At the dog park, you want your dog to have good recall, when on a walk you want them to drop something that they pick up and start chewing.
The best way to ensure that your dogs can respond to commands in any situation is to add layers of distraction. This includes other dogs. Practicing commands with multiple dogs in different locations is the best way to test whether your dog really knows their commands and whether they will listen to you.
When you start this process, simply take your dogs for a group training session in a different room in your house. Gradually move them to more distracting places. You can move your sessions to the backyard, then in front of your house near a street. You can then move to a dog park or a busy pedestrian area. Eventually, you will feel confident that your dog will listen and respond to your commands anywhere.
Crate Dogs You Aren’t Currently Training
Our final tip is to help you reduce distractions during individual training sessions. When you are ready to start a training session with one of your dogs, it is best to crate the other. This will help them work on crate training and will help keep your training session free of distractions.
If your dog is already crate trained, then they will likely rest or quietly play with a toy while they are in the crate. If you are still working on crate training with your dog, then they may be loud and distracting during your training session.
If that is the case, then you should consider giving your dog a frozen or puzzle treat to work on so that they are distracted during your training session. You might also need to move your training session to a different part of the house or outside so that you can be away from the crate and the noises coming from it.
About THE AUTHOR
I have had dogs my whole life and have always trained my own dogs with patience and positive reinforcement. My dogs are my life. My family always had dogs growing up. I've trained dogs for clients while working at a local dog daycare. I hope that my research and experiences are helpful to you as I share them here.Read More About Russell Wright