to many unruly dogs

Posted by jojokok
Sep 6, 2009
I just moved to Utah with my 2 year old, semi-obedient terrier mix into a household containing two senior disobidient jack russells. Using the techniques in the books are simple, with one dog, but I am at a loss on how to handle three.
I figure I need to do the training individually with all three, isolated from the two not in "class". However, I don't know what technique to use when they are together and 1 is disobeying, but the other two are not. Should I praise the 2 obidient dogs first or try to get the other dog to respond correctly. It seems like when I divert my attention to any one dog, the other two immediately move to reestablish my attention. It is distracting and frustrating when I am trying to get them to wait or stay. I takes only seconds before I am saying "scoot stay, oakey sit, gator down.." all at once. It confuses me, can't imagine what the dogs think.
Also, the guy who owns the two jacks really gives them no attention. I don't even think he pets them. Both him and his father only give those dogs attention when they are bad. It is going to be harder to train them (humans) to not yell at the dogs when they bark or whine then to teach the dogs. What I am getting at, will the dogs be content with each other for companionship instead of the owner?
Lastly, my dog follows me everywhere. I take him with me downstairs (my room and area) with me and I take him on walks, basically, he gets special treatment. Is this going to disrupt my training or cause me any disobedience probles?
Posted by KOPsarah
Sep 11, 2009
hi jojokok and thanks for your post,
It is clearly a pretty hectic situation there for you trying to do what's best for all of the dogs but only having actual ownership of one. In regards to the jack russel's they will be used to their situation by now no doubt and having you and your dog there to expand the pack and give them some extra attention will probably seem like a huge treat to these dogs. Working with them will be a little tricky because of the poor training that their owners do with them however they should quickly learn to respond to you and see you as a leader with you working with them regularly even if their relationship and behavior with their actual owners is not altered.

In regards to working with three dogs the best place to start is with "down stay". Start out working individually and then when they are all reliable you can get all three of them to "down stay" by asking each one one at a time treating them for the down then asking them to stay and treating again. Then ask the next dog to go into down treat ask for stay and treat etc. Once all three dogs are down you can keep treating two for staying in a down then ask the other dog to do what you need it to do e.g. get in the car etc.

If they are all in a bunch and one in particular is misbehaving the best thing to do is put one into a quick time out (about 3 minutes) somewhere where they are away from all the other dogs and what is going on.

In regards to giving your dog separate attention, the only thing this is likely to affect is the order of dominance among the dogs, special treatment may make your dog top of the pack or may cause disputes between your dog and whichever of the other two is currently dominant. At this point I wouldn't worry about this, if you do see any social issues creeping in then this would be the point to look at how to manipulate the dominance order while still letting you give more attention to your dog. Remember your dog is your first responsibility so don't feel guilty about giving your dog some extra attention. You can always leave the other dogs toys or chews etc to keep them busy while your out.

I hope this helps a little, if you have any more questions about your tricky situation please don't hesitate to ask.