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One new dog at a time is challenging enough for most pet parents, and experts don't recommend adopting two puppies at once. But if you've already brought home two puppies, you can double the fun with the right training and socialisation techniques.
Are you ready to find out how to train two dogs at once? Let's learn how here.
Training Two Puppies: What Could Go Wrong?
There’s no doubt that it's more difficult to adopt two puppies at once. But by understanding and anticipating the special challenges ahead of time, owners can train and socialise both dogs to be amazing family pets.
Along with the practical considerations of adopting two puppies (How expensive will vet care be? Do I have room?) raising them has some special challenges:
Two puppies are more likely to bond to each other, rather than to their new human family.
Puppies adopted together might be anxious or timid when separated.
Dogs are individuals, so each puppy will learn and train at their own speed.
If you have adopted two puppies, there are steps you can take to prevent behaviour issues and help with training multiple dogs at once. Many of these suggestions involve the puppies spending time independently:
Crate the dogs separately at night. Crate training helps with safety, damage control, house training, and travelling. Your new puppies should be crated separately and kept close enough for you to hear them at night if they need you.
Train them individually. When training two puppies, the dogs should attend training classes separately. Alternatively, if you're training at home, work with one dog while the other is with a human family member in a separate room or has a food dispensing toy to keep them occupied. You can also put each puppy on a long, comfortable lead outside to get them used to watching each other receive attention.
Socialise and play with them separately. This creates puppy independence and lets the more timid dog play without competing for your attention. You can try taking one puppy at a time with you on a short outdoor errand, or bring them over to a puppy-proofed friend's house for a meet-and-greet.
Walk them one at a time. Give each dog your undivided attention on their own daily walk. Even with separate handlers, if you always walk your puppies together, the less confident puppy will come to rely on the presence of the other dog for confidence and security. This also gives each puppy time to sniff and meet other dogs in their own way.
You're not trying to keep these two potential best friends apart from one another. Rather, you're just giving them each their own space to be who they are as they develop into well-adjusted adult dogs. As you start to understand their independent personalities and where each one shines, you can start to incorporate more group activities that allow them to train as one. Just always make sure to give each one their own share of love and attention, so that your attention doesn’t become a scarce resource that triggers squabbles or even more serious fights. Training two puppies just requires extra diligence in ensuring that each puppy is given equal attention.
A Tail of Two Dogs
You should always consider the time commitment and care costs of a new furry friend before you adopt. That’s even more important if you’re bringing home two! If you do decide to double down on dogs, you can succeed by treating them as individual personalities, by properly training them, and by spending time with them around people and other dogs. Taking these steps will help bond your dogs to you for life and put a foundation into place that helps your new puppies wiggle their way into a happy, well-adjusted life as the newest members of your family.
Kara Murphy is a freelance writer and pet parent who lives in Erie, Pennsylvania. She has a goldendoodle named Maddie.
Reviewed by Dr. Hein Meyer, DVM, PhD, Dipl-ECVIM-CA and Dr. Aileen Pypers, BSc, BVSc, PGDip