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!