I don’t use my clicker when training more than one dog at a time. I think it may confuse them about who is actually getting clicked.
If Dog A is giving you attention, Dog B is sniffing Dog A, and Dog C is lifting his leg on Dog
B, how do B & C know they were not the clickees?
I do play a lot of multi-dog games though.
I ask for a behavior that all 3 can perform and the first one to do it gets the treat. Now they are pretty good at ‘synchronized spins’ so all 3 get treats.
I also will ask for attention and if one looks away, the other two get the treats.
It seems that the one who looked away realizes the error. I also train one in something
active while the other two hold stays, making sure to regularly reinforce the staying dogs.
Their favorite game is to ‘find the hidden Kong toy’. I scent it with my hands, put all 3 dogs on stays, and hide it out of sight. Then I release them all to ‘go find’. It’s really entertaining to watch them frantically search the house. They’ve learned to air scent and to look under furniture, in the bathtub, etc. The winner usually seems pretty pleased.
I also play ‘popcorn toss’ and see who can catch from the furthest distance. The Papillon is at a big disadvantage here as things just bounce off his little head. However, if it hits the
floor it’s his.
A good idea to keep dogs from crowding around and begging while you eat is to, at random intervals, toss a piece of food to the dog who is the furthest away. The Papillon figured this out right away. I think the Golden might have the idea, but just can’t force himself to move further away from the food.
Deborah Jones, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Psychology
Kent State University Stark Campus
Planet Canine / Akron, OH