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sweet_ceana

Advice for bonding with your pup w/ more than 1 puppy in the house

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I can see why having more than 1 bc puppy at a time is not highly recommended here. Sita is 5 months and I now have two fosters (hopefully soon to be one foster since the newest addition is picking on the other) that are 6 month old males. I take Sita aside to do 1 on 1 training, but I can't help but notice that when it is not just us two she is really focused on the other pups. I don't know if this is detrimental at all to our bonding, or if Sita playing with her "boyfriends," will end up being harmless.

 

Does anyone have any advice to help me increase my bond with my pup, or should I not worry about it and let her enjoy her wrestle mania? At least I can say this pup is really socialized. She has been passed around and solicited donations at events and our friends all try to steal her... not to mention she has been around 20-30 other border collies by this point. :rolleyes: That number shocks me, lol, we really do know a lot of border collies. Any advice and experiences would be wonderful. I am about on over load with puppies here, and I think Poke feels the same.

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I go through the same thing every time I bring a new dog into the house. I use play as reinforcer to start with. This means I teach the sit/stay. To start out, the stay is only going to be about 5 seconds (trying to set up for success and it wil become longer) before I say "All done! Go play!" For us, "go play" means I'm completely done with you for right now so you can have some free time. "All done" means the stay is finished, but I might want you to do something else. It helps to vary between the commands so my kids don't get the idea that "all done" means "go play." If the dog breaks the stay or leaves before I say "go play," then I issue a verbal correction (uh uh) and place the dog back in the sit/stay in the same location.

 

To call a dog off is a bit trickier. Of course your dog needs a good concept of come, or at least know her name and have a positive associate with it. Either way, I always say my dog's name first, then "come," and I make sure have their favorite toy with me. So, for example, if Maverick is playing with the other dogs in my pack, I'll say "Maverick!" He looks at me. "Come!" And, a few seconds after the command, I'll pull out his ball as extra incentive. At first, he'll get the ball everytime, but soon I'll start to with hold it so he only gets it sometimes. The best time, in my experience, to begin training your dog to come off the other dogs is a little bit into their playtime when they're starting to slow down. The distraction isn't as great then and you're more likely to get a response. After 20 or so repetitions of this, you can probably start calling your dog before they start to tire.

 

Hope that helps! It's worked for me in the past. I also make sure that I control all the resources so my dogs have incentive to pay attention.

 

ETA: I would also spend some 1 on 1 with the fosters teaching them this too. This way you'll have complete control. BTW, I only say the dog's name if I want one to come, otherwise it's just come to get them all. Sorry if this isn't very coherent...I need to go to bed.

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If it were me, I would continue to let her play wrestle mania with her boyfriends, but I would also increase your one on one time with her. Can you take a puppy class with her, obedience or baby agility, something like that? I'm sure she's already getting training from you, but it would be a chance for the two of you to leave the boys at home and have some bonding time alone. If you don't want to take a class, I'd at least take some time every day to do something alone with her, go for a walk, a backyard training session, etc. I know she likes tennis balls, so I'd also spend time playing with her one on one, either fetching or tugging something that requires her to interact with you. You may still find for a while that she'd rather play with the boys when you're all out together, but that might change as you guys spend more alone time together.

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When we first adopted Dean, he was very, very dog-oriented. He loved on us and we were important to him, but he really looked to the other dogs much more than he did to us.

 

I didn't worry about it as long as he played with them appropriately. He was such a handful that I was actually grateful that his play with the other dogs (chiefly, Maddie) kept him busy in a non-destructive way for good stretches of time.

 

At the same time, I did separate him out for one on one things - both training and play. Over time wrestle-mania became less interesting to him and he really did begin to focus more on me than on the other dogs.

 

At first he would not call off the other dogs to save his life, but as I spent more one on one time with him and taught him to interact with just me, the call off developed naturally.

 

My approach would be to allow lots of time to let the dogs be dogs on their own terms (as long as all play is appropriate), but make it a top priority to make sure that I did several short one on one sessions (training or individual play) daily.

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Maybe because I'm not a puppy kind of person, but I always feel like my puppies see me as a mixed bag for a while. Sure, I'm great for toys, food, affection, protection, going places, playing games, but I also thwart some of their fondest desires. And when it comes to the excitement and fun of full out running, wrestling, rolling around on the ground I can't beat another dog who is willing to play with them.

 

So far, as they matured, my pups have all bonded just fine with me. So I would say, let her play with her pals. The only thing I would caution is not to let her spend more time having grand fun with the other pups than she spends with you. When you aren't around, I'd keep them separated. With my Shelties, the second grew up with full time access to the first Sheltie who was an indulgent "teen parent." He was way more fun than I was and never took cool things like new boots from her or made her come in from the playground (backyard) when she was in the middle of a great time or told her to stop chewing baseboards. Because of that 24 access to the perfect companion, she did bond more strongly to him than to me.

 

But she still bonded very nicely with me, has always been a delightful, obedient companion, was a great little agility dog and when she was scared or not feeling well even as a small pup, she went to me, not the other Sheltie, for comfort. It was just a little odd to see her greet him first, then me when we came home. :rolleyes:

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Seperate crates, training, and play time. Period. I would not let pups this age play "free for all" like this because its teaching nothing, and highly increasing the risk of injury during a very vulnerable time for their joints.

 

People argue that they would play like this "in the wild", but I disagree. In a wild environment they would have a lot more space to find non over the top fun things to do, plus they would be busy trying to get, and keep it long enough to eat it, food. They would also have a broader age span of family there - some which would be providing more rules than play (the grumpy "uncle" LOL), and others that would educate/play on a much lower scale of excitement (the sweet "uncle" LOL)

 

I've raised several littermates at once and I can tell you that ime there is nothing good coming out of what you describe. Injury, teaching the pups to play in wild free for alls that many other dogs would not tolerate, teaching them to ignore humans, etc. Remember what happened when the gamekeepers in Africa (or somewhere thereabout) removed all the adult elephents and let the young adults stay. They formed destructive "gangs", just like human kids, and pups, with too many same age coherts and no adult balancer.

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Thanks for the input guys. Each pup is crated seperately. They have no unsupervised play time and all three can be called off of playing no problem. My fosters learn quickly that when I say "all done," everything stops and they look to me for more direction. I may be cookie, food, and snuggle lady, but I am not as fun as wrestle mania...yet.

 

Before I allowed any play time tonight I took each pup on a 1 on 1 walk instead of a group outing. This was really beneficial. I learned a lot more about my foster pups. Hopefully a routine of spending time with me first and then the other dogs will get them to think of people first for enjoyment, and not each other. I also did a simple training session with all 3, which was very daunting at first. I eventually got all 3 to sit next to each other, be calm and place all their attention on me. After all this activity and brain bending they really didn't want to wrestle very much at all, and instead all 3 cuddled up under the kitchen table and took a nap. Thank goodness.

 

I have to say that we are lucky to have Poke to help us. He really is a third set of eyes. :rolleyes: Ike tried to counter surf and Poke walked up and made his "cut it out now puppy..." rumble, sending all four of Ike's paws to the floor. Poke then proceeded to give me that puffed out proud chest look and wagged his tail. :D -Thanks Poke, but that isn't your job. Why don't you stick to bite inhabition and I will take the people no no's.

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