I LOVE my multi-dog household. I don't think we'll ever go back to having just one dog. It's not for everyone, for sure, but multiples fit well with our lifestyle, our house, our family. Here are some things to think about if you're considering adding another dog to your family:
- Dogs keep each other company. I feel less guilty when I leave the dogs at the house. Those not crated can pal around…or just sleep.
- Dogs entertain each other. I wind 'em up and let 'em go. Once they're all playing, I can sneak back to my computer and get some work done.
- Everyone has a dog (or two) to themselves. Tango is definitely my dog. Nemo is definitely my husband's dog. We share Lily equally (or is it that she shares us?), and Baby Caysun's everyone's and no one's (except Service Dogs of Virginia — they lay claim to her) because she's the service pup in-training.
- They clearly enjoy each other. These dogs play together, relax together, and stand guard (or at least pretend to) together. When one is gone (out with me, usually), the others appear quite happy to see the missing one when we return home again.
- They're expensive. Dogs eat a lot. They require lots of medicine. If you buy one toy, you buy FOUR toys. You need supplies in multiples: toys, beds, medicines, leashes, crates, bowls, everything.
- If they don't get along, you're in trouble. Big trouble. If our dogs weren't good friends, it'd be a nightmare. Having two compatible dogs is heaven. Having even one incompatible dog will make your life a living hell. It can get ugly in a hurry.
- Exercising multiple dogs can be hard. Yes, they will exercise each other if you have a large fenced yard. But if you've gotta leash your pups up and get them out for walks for exercise, it's going to take you a long time and a lot of effort to get them all the exercise they need.
- You gotta train them all. Training is important with one dog. It's mandatory with multiple dogs. In fact, the more dogs you have, the more individual training they all need. Because handling just one dog can be challenging, but handling several dogs can be a real bear, even if one of those dogs has an issue (even a small issue can be magnified when you've got a slew of dogs).
- Your house (and yard) will be a mess. I already spoke of my dog hair problem. I haven't yet shared our poop problem in the backyard. We pick it up. Often. And there's a lot of it. It's disgusting. It's a part of your daily life if you have multiple dogs. Let's just leave it at that. (But oh, the pictures I could post…)
So. While I love having multiples, I understand that it's not for everyone. Thank goodness I have a husband who also likes mulitples, who doesn't mind dog hair, and who is ok with poop-pickup once a week. If you're thinking of adding another, my general thought is: go ahead (if you've considered all the cons above)! Just keep canine personalities in mind, sign both dogs up for training, and then jump in to the joy — and chaos — of a multi-dog household!
Katherine Ostiguy, KPA CTP says
Ooh, good topic! I found that while jumping from one dog to two dogs seems like a big jump, it was actually the addition of dog #3 that made it seem as if I was living in a dog kennel. And dog #3 is an easy keeper — it’s just the combination of all three of them. 3 breakfasts, 3 dinners, 3 crates to wipe clean… Yeah, it’s definitely not for everyone! 🙂
Erin & Co. says
I too am a multiple dog owner, and also raise puppies for the Guide Dog Foundation for the blind. Last year we found out just how hard it is to have one incompatible dog in the house, we survived eight months together, but I told the Foundation to move him on pretty soon after that! 🙂
The Jolly Dog House says
Good article Laurie and oh so true!!
Steph B says
This is so timely! We are in the process right now of deciding whether to add another dog to our one-dog household. I love the idea that the dogs could play together and entertain each other. I love training, so some extra obedience time would never be a problem, but I worry that any negative behaviors will be amplified by the presence of another dog… Fence sitting! It’s always good to hear from people who have a positive experience with multiples!
Pup Fan says
I always grew up with multiples, and it was lots of fun. 🙂 I would like to get a pal for Bella one of these days, but we haven’t taken the plunge yet.
Great post, and so true. Our four dogs keep us so occupied its not funny, but I actually think I’d be spending even more time with just one dog than I do the four. Their dynamics are fascinating.
Buying in fours though… oy. It gets expensive!