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Hi there. This is my first post here so I hope I have followed all the rules of conduct completely. Let me know if not.

I am writing because I just added a new puppy (Blue) to my household with a well-mannered 3 year old shepherd (Magnus). It has been a relatively smooth transition except that, when I give commands to puppy Blue, Magnus thinks I am speaking to her. We live in a small space and Magnus is very attentive so she hears any command I give.

This concerns me as, often with the puppy, I am saying "no" to her nipping. Each time, Magnus thinks her perfectly fine behavior is somehow wrong and she tries to change what she is doing to appease me. Obviously, this could lead to a very confused shepherd and, I fear, a depressed one in the long run (if she continually thinks she is misbehaving).

If anyone has tips on how to address this confusion in training, I would greatly appreciate the advice.

Thank you.
 

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Do the dogs respond to their names?

If so, then use the dog's name proceeding the command.

If not, begin training using the dog's name before the command.
 

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This demonstrates one of the inherent limitations of using the word "no!" for what's technically referred to as a 'conditioned punisher'. The punishment can easily, inadvertently transfer from one dog to the other. Just for comparison, think of it as an ultrasonic anti-bark collar that emits an uncomfortable high-pitched tone. When one dog barks and the tone is emitted, every dog within earshot will feel the effects regardless of whether they're barking or not.

I would stop using "no" altogether. It really isn't necessary, even though at times it may seem convenient and it may work to some extent if only one dog is present. There are other ways of effectively conveying messages to your dogs and molding their behaviour. Teaching them what you WANT them to do is much better than punishing them for what you DON'T WANT them to do.
 

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I'd use Knute's dog-name-first to distinguish. Ideally, you can tell the dog what it should be doing as petpeeve suggests, but I think most of us in certain circumstances come out with a loud, "No," by instinct. It's easier to train ourselves to modify that to "Blue, no!" than to come out with some better command, which would still need a dog's name so the right one would know you mean her.
 

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Oh, Lol. Maybe, I found it rather easy to learn- then again I am 15. Good luck though, the name idea sounds worthy!
 

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Same problem here, and we're basically doing both of the major suggestions. I'm working on name-first commands, which is going all right - it's fastest if you can do some training on stations and actively re-instruct when a dog follows a command that isn't for him (ie you have dog A in a sit, you ask dog B to down, dog A downs and you immediately ask him to sit again without a food reward). Not sure if I'm making sense, but here's a good video:

I also try hard to make sure my instructions are, well, instructive. We do use words like 'no' or 'ah-ah' to interrupt behavior, but try to follow up with a request of what we want the dog to be doing instead. Sit. It's usually sit. That way the dog can be rewarded for doing the 'correct' behavior instead of leaving him to guess what we want. Ideally, I'd be able to drop the interrupter entirely and focus only on asking the dog to do the appropriate or desired behavior when he's being obnoxious, but it's very hard to break that habit.

Both our dogs are bilingual to some extent, btw. No way could I remember which one responded to which language if I tried to train that way (which is totally a me problem). Heck, I get their names wrong more often than I'd like to admit, lol. My wife and I just have two different native languages so when we're being sloppy we'll use cues in the language we didn't originally teach the behavior in. Hand signals have saved us there.
 

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Using a name helps, but what helps more is separating the two dogs when training so the puppy is all you are working with.

I use names. They know it too. The only confusion comes at photograph time. I get one dog sitting and then want the other dog to sit next to the first dog.. when I say the second dog's name the first dog says "Oh it's not me" and will sometimes move (especially the older age 10 dog who has few training requirements).

I use German commands on the younger dog and English with the older dog. Oddly the older dog has learned the German Commands too. As for "No!" I use Pfuie for the young dog as well as No. The older dog already knows "Oh I am a Senior and none of that is Me." The Cats get No once in a while and both dogs know it is for the cats (I think they are smiling and saying "no us! Bad Kitties!!).
 
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