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Clicker Training Two Dogs

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Q: We have a couple of two-year-old Lab/Rhodesian?/Shepherd? mix "pups," two sisters that were found abandoned. We have had some success using traditional training techniques, but would like to try incorporating the clicker. Do you have any recommendations for using the training with two dogs? Even if one were indoors and the other outdoors, we suspect that both would still be able to hear the clicker.

Would it confuse the "other" dog to hear the click and not be rewarded? Or, perhaps if we trained them together, would the dog not receiving the treat understand that her sister is getting a reward for the desired behavior? I should mention that they already have a pretty good grasp of "come," "stay," "down," and "uh-uh."

A: Hearing the click in the distance won't confuse your dogs. The dog quickly understands which click is "his" click and which is not. They will agitate to have their turn to be trained when they hear someone else getting clicked, but that too will stop once they learn they have to wait their turn.

Here are some solutions people have developed for training two dogs in one household:

Put one dog in the yard or in a crate with a bone while you train the other one. Then change dogs.

Each person trains a different dog at the same time. The dogs will focus on their own trainer's click (and treats) and ignore clicks from the other person. (This would work well for you, I think.)

Tether one dog nearby and let it watch the other dog being trained. Throw the tethered dog an occasional treat for being quiet. Some behaviors can be learned by observation, so this can speed up the training.

Use different sounds for the different dogs: a click for one, a whistle for the other. Or use the new Clicker+, which has four different electronic tones.

Separate the dogs briefly whenever you train new behavior. When you are just reviewing known behavior, click when both dogs do the right thing, and treat both dogs.

Use toys and various household privileges as rewards attached to the click. That way both dogs can earn privileges together. For example, ask the dogs to sit before opening the door to the outside; click and open the door when both dogs are sitting. Gradually shift to opening the door just a little, before you click, and click if the dogs remain sitting.

Karen Pryor

Follow-up: Great, thanks so much for your help! I think those ideas will work well with Daisy and Ginger. We've done just a little bit with the clicker while taking one at a time for a walk, and they already seem to make the connection. It's great to know we can use it more freely around the house while both girls are around.

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Karen Pryor is the founder and CEO of Karen Pryor Clicker Training and Karen Pryor Academy. She is the author of many books, including Don't Shoot the Dog and Reaching the Animal Mind. Learn more about Karen Pryor or read Karen's Letters online.

Laurie Luck's picture

Hi Ann, I'm impressed that

Hi Ann,

I'm impressed that you can use/carry two clickers along with two leashes and treats! I don't think I'd be that coordinated. I would probably use a voice marker instead of two clicks. You could use two different sounds - one for each dog. I like to use a high pitched "yip," as the click. You could also use the "yip," and then invent another sound like "pop." Make sure you teach the dogs that these new sounds carry the same information as the click did by simpling "yipping" and "popping" and then delivering the treat. 

Once the dogs know that, you can then use the "new click" as the marker when the dog is in heel position. I really like to keep the food treats in until the behavior is learned. Then you can start to gradually add more distance between each click and treat until there are only a couple clicks and treats for the whole walk. 

I often use the environment as a reinforcer for my dogs: if they *really* want to sniff something, I let that be the reinforcer for walking nicely on the leash. You could also give them a toy if they find carrying a toy reinforcing. 

Hope this gives you a few ideas...


Thankyou for replying Laurie,

Thankyou for replying Laurie, its is nice of you. Thankyou for the tips, as you proberly know I'm struggerling with 2 clickers outside my home.

I've just seen the new digital clicker on the site and I'm wondering if that will make life easier as I relize each dog must have its own click.

Also may I ask you ?Is nessercery sorry about the spelling to walk each of the girls on there own? I only leave 1 of the girls at home when visiting the vet, if I go out both of my girls come too, unless its shopping.Ive been advised to walk each of the girls alone and when seperated they look for each other. being rescues I think they get confidence from each other as well as from me but I could be wrong.

Can you advise  me please

Thanks a lot ann

Laurie Luck's picture

Thankyou for replying Laurie,

Hi Ann,

Yes, the digital clicker might be a big help for you! The answer to your walking separately or together question is a definite: it depends. If I see dogs who are terribly dependent on each other (cries, searches for the other dog when separated) then I do recommend exercises to help develop independence. Walking separately is one way to help develop independence, but it's not the only way. If it's easier to walk them together sometimes, then do it, but also try to walk them individually as well. Also, spend some alone time with each dog daily. Crate one of the dogs (or somehow separate them) and give that one a nice food-stuffed toy) and have some fun with the other dog. Then switch dogs. Your goal is to foster independece in each dog so they don't depend on each other.

Laurie Luck
For Clickertraining.com
Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner
See my profile and contact information at

ok so ive got each of my girls a clicker

 each clicker makes a different sound to my ears, so must be ok for pip and miss is it ok for them?

now for the question  when out walking or at the park its difficult for me to use each  of the clickers, more so when they are on lead, pips heelwork is just passible, miss still gets the tree lol lot of the time, but im now finding pip is lagging. also difficult to reward/treat when both girl are at heel. is voice praise enough? and use a name before i click?

really need help on this please would be greatfull to pointers to any more info on this.

i really have to get both my girls walking at my side where ever i go and im not making much head way. dont want to go totaly wrong and have to totaly retrain, hence asking for help now

thanks ann

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