Dachshunds or Dalmatians – each breed of dog is characterized by certain characteristics. This makes living together with the respective dog special and makes demands on the dog’s upbringing that are appropriate to the type. But what should be done when dogs of different breeds live together? We have tips for raising two dogs in one household.
Do dogs of different breeds learn differently?
Yes and no. The learning process is similar for every dog. Nevertheless, it is important to adapt the training to the respective dog, because the requirements are different. Race affiliation is only one aspect, because there are also differences within a breed, even within a litter. Whether pedigree or mixed breed: some four-legged friends learn and forget quickly – others, in turn, need longer and remember what they have learned. Dogs that are more easily distracted by other dogs are more difficult to train in everyday life with a second dog. Four-legged friends with a great hunting instinct also have different training requirements. And independent dogs quickly understand what their human wants from them. But they also need a good reason to adhere to it. Tip: Positive reinforcement and consistency are training methods that work well for any dog.
Parenting training with one or two dogs?
In many situations, training with a single dog is beneficial. Sometimes training sessions with both four-legged friends also make sense. In everyday education, both fur noses are usually on board.
When is it better to train with a dog?
If you want to raise two dogs at the same time, you should plan well regardless of the breed. It makes sense to practice a few minutes a day with each four-legged friend while the other is not in the room. Mastering small tasks in a human-dog team strengthens the bond. You can respond more individually to the needs of the individual dog and the four-legged friends have less distraction. You should always practice with a single dog when starting clicker training.
When is it better to train with two dogs?
Joint training with both dogs is also possible – and makes sense to master everyday life as a trio. You can use threesome training to consolidate exercises that you learned in pairs. Some dogs benefit when you can see training successes from others. Thus, when practicing with three people, the role model function can play a role. Even advanced clicker users can work with two different clicker signals in parallel and thus positively reinforce two dogs with the clicker.
Everyday upbringing: it’s all in the mix
In multi-dog households, everyday learning should take place with both two and one dog. This will prevent your four-legged friend from getting used to a variant. For example, an insecure dog can benefit from going to a restaurant with an experienced four-legged friend and relax better in the unfamiliar environment. Then visit the place with the individual dogs. So both learn to assert themselves without familiar conspecifics.
What are the risks of training with two dogs?
If you practice with two dogs at the same time, you risk incorrect connections. Because the right timing of praise and treats is crucial for the success of the upbringing. With two dogs this is very demanding. Beginners in dog training can get confused quickly. Every dog should get to know their own word of praise to avoid confusion. Raising two rowdy dogs can be exhausting. Upbringing is easier when a four-legged friend has already mastered the basics. He can act as a role model for a younger or new dog. Be careful not to upset the ranking of the dogs during training together. It can lead to competitiveness if the lower-ranking dog shows itself from its best side and receives many treats in front of the eyes of the higher-ranking pack member. A sure instinct is required here.
Tips about the education of different dog breeds
The more similar the character and constitution of two dogs, the easier it is to bring up and train together. If dogs are particularly independent and do not like to subordinate themselves, you need more patience for training. If you want to train together with two dogs, you should make sure that they are fair to both. It is not productive to train a highly motivated Papillon together with a headstrong Spitz. In some situations, an advanced four-legged friend can be used as a role model.
When it comes to raising two dogs together, we are helped by the division of the FCI, which combines different dog breeds into groups. Of course, this is a rough classification, but most races in a group have similar requirements in terms of upbringing and physical exertion. Here is a brief overview:
Sheepdogs are smart, territorial, and obedient – when properly trained. The dogs need a task and are versatile service dogs. Breeds: German Shepherd, Belgian Shepherd, French Shepherd
Herding dogs and cattle dogs
Herding dogs and cattle dogs learn quickly and need a lot of activity and physical exertion. You are self-employed and therefore place high demands on people’s leadership qualities. Breeds: Border Collie, Pyrenees Shepherd, Bouvier des Flandres.
Molossoids and Great Danes
Molossoids and mastiffs are territorial and ready to defend their pack. You need consistent leadership with a sure instinct. Socializing two adult dogs can be a challenge, which makes it difficult to raise them together. The XXL dogs grew up relatively late. Breeds: Bordeaux Mastiff, Great Dane.
Shepherd and herd guard dogs
Shepherd and herd guard dogs are very territorial and independent. Their upbringing should be reserved for dog lovers. You are one of the late-developing dogs. Although they show no willingness to subordinate, they accept consistent leadership. These dogs are hardly suitable for dog sports and need a large territory. Upbringing works better without conspecifics, but good socialization is important. Breeds: Kuvasz, Komondor.
Terriers are typical dogs for hunting under burrows. This requires courage and independence as well as aggressive behavior when threatened. Therefore, when using a terrier as a companion dog, particular care should be taken not to positively reinforce aggression. Terriers are considered to be independent, solitary and not very patient and submissive. However, since they are smart, with a little expertise they can be educated well. Only well socialized terriers benefit from training “in pairs”. Breeds: Jack Russel Terrier, West Highland Terrier.
Bull-like terriers were bred to be butcher’s assistants for bull biting and later for dog fighting. Well educated, the four-legged friends are sovereign and very affectionate towards their two-legged friends, but not ready to be subordinate. Breeds: American Staffordshire Terrier.
Dachshunds: Although dachshunds are clever and docile, when in doubt they know best where to go. Willingness to obey is not one of their typical characteristics. Dachshunds are brave and, like terriers, are considered solitary. With consistent, loving upbringing and a lot of patience, the dachshund learns obedience.
Spitz are very independent, vigilant and usually have a low will-to-please. Asian lace tend to hunt more than European ones. Spitz form a close bond with their two-legged friends and behave at a distance towards other people and their fellows. Breeds: Wolfspitz, Shiba Inu. The Japanese Spitz, which differs in character from its relatives, is easier to train.
More hunting dogs
Running and sweat dogs are passionate hunting companions. Most breeds are therefore only suitable for hunters, otherwise they would not be fully utilized. They like to live in the pack and get along with conspecifics. They are not very territorial and willingly submit. Breeds: Bloodhound, English Foxhound.
Pointing dogs also feel most comfortable in the hands of a hunter and can hardly be used to capacity otherwise. Although they are ready to be subordinate, the hunting instinct quickly gains the upper hand in everyday life. They are social and therefore also suitable for joint parenting training. Breeds: continental pointing dogs such as spaniel and griffon as well as the setter.
Retrieving, rummaging and water dogs
Some hunting assistants can also be found in this group. Browsing dogs such as the English Springer Spaniel usually have a great hunting instinct, while this is less pronounced in retrievers and water dogs. Retrievers and many water dogs are characterized by a pronounced will-to-please and are considered to be compatible with conspecifics and friendly towards people. Good prerequisites for raising several dogs at the same time. Breeds: Golden Retriever, Barbet, English Cocker Spaniel.
Society and companion dogs
Society and companion dogs are characterized by a close bond with their people. They love to be with their two-legged friends and learn with great motivation. Poodles, closely related to water dogs, are particularly docile. Socialized company and service dogs are easy to train in pairs. Other breeds: Havanese, Chihuahua, King Charles Spaniel. This also includes small mastiff-like dogs such as French bulldogs, but they are less submissive and docile.
Greyhounds have their own mind and are self-sufficient. For her, running counts more than tricks and mental training. Short-haired greyhounds in particular develop a close bond with their humans. The great hunting instinct can make free running a challenge. An exception is the Irish Wolfhound, which works closely with its humans and has little inclination to hunt. In terms of upbringing, greyhounds mostly benefit from individual training. Other breeds: Whippet, Afghan hound.
Similar dog breeds are easier to train together
Our brief overview does not cover all breeds and is therefore not complete. For example, there is a lack of diverse primitive types or Nordic hunting and sled dogs. Raising different races together is promising if they belong to groups with similar requirements or even to the same group. Of course, the character traits are tendencies that do not apply to every dog. Pedigree dogs or mixed breed dogs: get to know the personality of each dog well and adjust your training accordingly. Do not overwhelm your animal companions and remember: for four-legged friends who are not used to conspecifics, being together during training is an important lesson in their upbringing.