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Aethelwine's avatar

How can two dogs from the same litter, trained by the same person, be so different? (please read details)?

Asked by Aethelwine (42961points) October 20th, 2010
21 responses
“Great Question” (1points)

We have had these dogs from birth. They are blue heeler, black lab mix. They are now 3 years old.

Spot listens to me. Bear doesn’t.

Example- I let Spot out to pee. I call for him. He comes back.

Now it’s Bear’s turn. Bear has been gone for 20 minutes now. He won’t respond when I call for him. (We live on a 200 acre farm. He’s either roaming the fields or about to get hit on the highway)



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crisw's avatar

For the same reason that two children raised by the same parents are different! Like humans, dogs are individuals.

john65pennington's avatar

The mix may be the problem. genes in dogs are like genes in humans. no two children are alike exactly, not even twins. same applies to dogs.

Put one on a leash and let the other continue to obey your commands. maybe one day, your other dog will pick up on the commands as he watches his brother respond to you.

Pandora's avatar

Is the lab the one that is running around?

Aethelwine's avatar

@Pandora Bear has more of the lab mix in him. Yes!

@john65pennington I have resorted to putting Bear on a leash when I take him out. Hopefully one day he will listen. Thank you.

rooeytoo's avatar

You know what they say, you train a golden with love and a lab with a 2×4.

Pandora's avatar

Labs are very playful and inquisitive. He may simply find the outdoors more appealing and interesting.
Although a blue heeler may be more difficult to train, once they are they typically like to please their masters. Lab like to as well but they are more playful in nature.
Try exercising him more and giving him more rewards for listening. I haven’t met a lab yet that doesn’t like to play catch. (Always a first time)
Maybe tiring him out before his walk abouts will shorten his time out alone.
But they are both very different type dogs. So you have to find a different approach for both.
At 3 years old he should still have a ton of energy, like a teen. He probably just needs to burn that energy off a little so he can concentrate on his training a little more.

gailcalled's avatar

My best friend up the road has three springer spaniels with the same mother. You’d never know it from their behavior.

crisw's avatar

Is Bear neutered? That can also make a difference in responsiveness!

Aethelwine's avatar

@crisw Yes. We had them both neutered. Bear is very….. independent.

xxii's avatar

You’ll never really know the answer to your question. It’s a huge tangled mix of genetics, learning styles, motivations and so on that result in an individual dog’s mentality. I have two dogs, mother and daughter, that could not be more different in personality and learning style.

The best thing to do is to just treat them as two entirely different dogs, and train them that way. The others have given great tips… keep Bear on a leash until he’s reliable with recall, at least for his own safety if nothing else. When you’re in a safe environment, then work, work, work on recall! It will pay off, I promise. There are tons of tips online if you Google “dog recall training”, but I’m sure Fluther will be able to help should you ever need it.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Does breed really have something to do with it, or could that be stereotyping? We had a litter of five puppies, all from the breeding of two Brittany Spaniels. They all had distinctly different personalities from the get-go.

partyparty's avatar

With every litter of puppies, you will see differences. There is always the confident one who will bound up to you, and the quiet one sat in the corner looking at you with dewy eyes.
I intentionally look for the quiet ones when buying my dogs.
Each dog will be different.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@rooeytoo : I always heard it that you train a Golden with your voice, a Lab with your hands, and a Chesapeake with a 2×4 and a Jeep. (I used to have Chessies) :-)

crisw's avatar


And, with a flat-coat, you have to show them the way to the party and assure them that they are invited.

I like Chessies. Most of the ones I know seem to be made of marshmallow inside that thick head :>D

JilltheTooth's avatar

@crisw : Yeah, I’m a biased in their always soggy, yellow-eyed favor….

rooeytoo's avatar

I never knew that many Chessies despite the fact that I lived very close to the ancestral home. The few that I boarded and handled were much like labs in attention span and attitude but there were a couple that had just plain nasty streaks. They were never a handler’s dream dog but I never had any great problems.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@rooeytoo ; I love me a difficult dog! I now hoave a Puli. (For the rest of you, think 8 Border Collies on crack). I am so outta my leaque! Good thing he’s such a happy guy, or I woulda kilt him long since!

rooeytoo's avatar

@JilltheTooth – I always spoke Hungarian to pulis, it seemed to soothe their jangled nerves, hehehehehe.

JilltheTooth's avatar

I tried saying “Zoltan! Magda!” to him over and over but no joy. I guess my accent wasn’t right. He does “sing” along to Liszt sometimes, though. I guess it touches something deep in his Magyar soul!
Or maybe he’s just upset cuz I never let his hair go all cordy.

crisw's avatar


Ever met a Mudi? That’s a Puli on crack :>) Used to know some people (in AZ, I think) who ran them in agility.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@crisw : Only met one, once, at a Pulipalooza…made my Zup seem sleepy! Most of the Hungarian herders are just nuts. Mine’s been mistaken for a Pumi on occasion because of the haircut.
Thinking my next dog will be a Clumber! ;-)

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