Training Two Puppies at the same time


This is a question that came to me the other day from a person in PA.

“ May I get your advice on training two retriever pups at the same time as I want to do a good job training them.”

This, and I’m going to call it a dilemma, comes up quite frequently. When I have a chance to advise against having two puppies at the same time I definitely do it.  It is a challenge to do this successfully.

First of all, each puppy must think that YOU are the main attraction in their life. If they are with another puppy that won’t happen.  The two puppies will bond and be a team and you won’t be the main source of their interest.  I have attempted to do this on several occasions and I can assure you that it is, if done properly, a lot of extra work.  But if you are stuck in a situation where you have two puppies that are the same age here are a few rules that you must pay attention to if you want either of the puppies to turn out well.    #1 The seven week rule applies.  Puppies are to be separated, totally separated, from their littermates and their mother at 49 days old.   #2 Each puppy must have his own space, his own crate, his own time alone with you, they must eat separately so one doesn’t dominate the other, and his own time in the back yard playing etc, etc.   #3 It is okay for each puppy to be with an older dog on some occasions but should not visit their littermate at all during the first couple of months.    #4 One of the problems with having more than one puppy is that we tend to try to evaluate which puppy is superior instead of treating each puppy as an individual and train it as though it were the only puppy in the world.   #5 If you have only twenty minutes to walk your puppy and you have two of them then each puppy only gets ten minutes.  Even more restricting is if you have only five minutes to walk your puppy and you have two of them, each puppy only gets a 2 ½ min walk.  In a general sense it’s possible to have two puppies be successful in the same home at the same time but it is very rare.   #6 After the puppies are five or six months old and have bonded with you and you are the pack leader and the subject of their full attention then you may start to introduce the puppies to each other, gradually at first but still maintaining individual contact and training sessions with each one individually.  Raising two puppies together can be successful but it takes a great deal of discipline and a lot of extra time.