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ejano

Three dog blues

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In working with multiple dogs, how do you get them to independently watch and listen to you, rather than copy what the other is doing?

 

For example, tonight Robin stayed behind when Ken took the other two to visit "Grandma" and I had the idea that if I could tell him to "go lie down" on his designated spot - which he knows, that I could do a stay with him and eventually get to the point where I could actually tell him to go lie down and stay while I answered the door. I've got step one figured out....put him on a stay and gradually increase distance. He did great! I then spent some time thinking how easy life could be with just one dog...he'd have it very quickly :rolleyes:. But now, I've got to get one on one time with Brodie and Ladybug, then put the three of them down in their designated spots. If Ken leaves one dog behind each time he visits his Mom....it could still be a year before I can answer my door without three dogs charging at it? :D

 

 

 

What eternally confounds me is that now with the pups ready to learn and needing independent time and me wanting to work with them on specific things, it is literally a circus. I need a way to get through to them that they will each get a turn....Robin is quiet but Brodie howls to the moon when I take Robin out. Anytime Ladybug hears a ball bounce or a game commence, she tries to dig her way through the door if left loose in the house. I've put her in a crate but then she howls and sings and tries to tear her way out. She has popped open crate doors before. (This is the dog that, when left at the boarding kennel, heard puppy play outside during an obedience class and dug the float out of the water dish, flooding the kennel. It's pure frustration...she's just gotta have that ball)

 

The only peaceful one on one time I have is when I swap them out each time I go to town, always taking one and stopping at various places for some leashwork and exposure to new things.

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I should add that Ladybug is fine as long as she is somehow in on the action. I can tell her "it's Robin's turn" or it's Brodie's turn and she understands and waits. She does get a little impatient with Brodie because he doesn't bring the ball back he just stares at it, daring it to move. :rolleyes:. She's the same way with obedience. She'll fall in line, heel, sit, stay, down, everything I ask the pup to do and I"ve had some limited success crating her in view of me working with the dog.

 

Liz

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Mine realize that there's no point in complaining while someone else is working or they won't get to work. Generally I keep their sessions short and multiple vs. one long one per dog and that helps. The dogs not working are babygated or crated in my home office while the working dog gets time with me and the clicker in the living room.

 

Additionally I find it incredibly helpful to enroll dogs in separate training classes to ensure they get quality training time with me on a weekly basis. Kes currently is enrolled in a Puppy Agility class and a Levels-style basic obedience class. Z is enrolled in Excellent Agility right before Kes' Puppy Agility class. Maggie isn't in classes but I am working on setting up a regular therapy visit at a local special education class for her.

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What about going for walks with one dog at a time and work on training while on your walk? If they like car rides, you can put two of them in the car and work with the third. One on one training time is the one thing that will make the biggest difference so you need to find some creative ways to get it in.

 

Mine realize that there's no point in complaining while someone else is working or they won't get to work.

 

How did you teach this?

 

Kipp has always a very quiet dog at SAR training when he is crated in my car. Other dogs out and barking, no big deal (as long as they weren't directly in front of him). Now I take Kenzi, too. When I get her out to work and he's left crated, he starts barking up a storm. It's like this at home, too and always has been. His drive is through the roof now that he has extra competition from Kenzi. Missy is not as bad, but if I have Kipp out playing with him, she parks herself at the door and whines and barks waiting for a chance to slip out and join us.

 

They are all very competitive, driven and smart. They figure out quickly that one of the other is getting something and they are not hesitant to tell me that they want it too.

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One of my dogs chews on an indestructible ball when she is tied up watching and this keeps her busy and quiet or she shrieks. My more mellow BC is well behaved and quiet, patiently waiting. My high drive ACD youngster barks up a storm if I am running my BC in agility training, she just wants to work work work with me and hates watching and hates waiting her turn. I have largely ignored her and she is improving, but it is not easy with some dogs, especially when they are super keen and there is a lot of action happening.

 

I do spend one on one time with them though, taking them out separately which works better for my 2 high drive ACDS but my more mellow BC works better with the others watching and vocalising for some reason, their high drive energy seems to really fire her up.

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What i did when i got my 2nd was work out the best order to train in. Its harder with three dogs but it could work. I realised if i worked Echo first (my younger one ) then Mylie would lose all drive and sook about being left out, so i work Mylie first and when i come to do Echo she is all revved up and our training benefits.They either have to sit in a crate or in a down stay on an agility table. So i would first start by taking one out and put the other on the table or in the crate and do say one sit and reward, but reward the other for waiting. NEVER ever train one and then not train the next. Unfortunately you'll have to train all three. After one has finished and the other has waited patiently they both get a treat. So now i can get Echo (18 weeks) to sit on an agility table and wait for 15 minutes while i do weave entries with Mylie because Echo's stay is so good she can't break it. I can't leave one inside or in the front yard because they will rip through hell and back to get to the training yard so i found it best to have them watch and they will wait patiently. Saying this if i am at the club training grounds god forbid if i might crate one and work the other one. So far tying Mylie up instead of crating seems to work at the club when im working Echo as i played so many crate games with echo she wont complain when she's crated and im working Mylie.

 

Also i found if i have completely different command for each then i can ask for a behavior from one without both doing so, as the command will mean something to one dog and not the other. This is especially great for long distance stays and recalls. Mylies release is "OK" and Echo's "Break" so i can release either one without the other charging full tilt at me.

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Thanks all for your suggestions.....I think I'm on the right track now and just need to realize that these things take time. They've been to separate obedience classes and will go again in the early spring. I can't fault them for wanting to work :rolleyes:. Just need to manage it better.

 

I usually give each 15-20 minutes of obedience work then let them all play together. Or, let them all play, then put two away and take them out again one by one. I'll try putting the two I'm not working with in crates on the porch -- thinking of it as a one room school house. I'll also give Ladybug and Brodie something to work out their anxieties on.

 

 

It's a good idea to give different release commands...I'll really need to focus on this because the pups have both picked up on "Okay, good boy" as great, I'm done! . They do know "wait" and "go" so I could say, Robin "wait", Brodie "go".

 

Now, about the cat streaking past when we're trying to work......:D. At least the pups are getting distractions. :D

 

Liz

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Honestly I think I just never went over to the dogs waiting to switch unless they were quiet. Plus when I say short sessions, we're talking about 2-3 minutes so they don't have a lot of time to wait. If I'm actively training all 3, then each dog is trained for a few minutes about 3 or 4 times. Often I also do work with them on walks, as a group, and when I take one to work with me.

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Honestly I think I just never went over to the dogs waiting to switch unless they were quiet. Plus when I say short sessions, we're talking about 2-3 minutes so they don't have a lot of time to wait. If I'm actively training all 3, then each dog is trained for a few minutes about 3 or 4 times. Often I also do work with them on walks, as a group, and when I take one to work with me.

 

 

Limiting the time even more sounds like a great idea! They learn more in short bursts and won't have time to get all lathered up. :rolleyes:

 

Liz

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