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Cupcake's avatar

What do I need to know about having 2 dogs?

Asked by Cupcake (11958 points ) October 21st, 2011

Our family has had a dog for over a year now, and are accustomed to her activity level, food needs, etc. She is very social and active (she’s a black lab) and I’ve been a little nervous about her energy around our (soon-to-be) baby at home.

We decided to accept a dog from the facility who occasionally boards our dog for a week trial to see if they occupy each other to the point that it is somewhat easier to have 2 dogs than 1 (the new one is an Australian shepherd).

Anyway, I’ve never had 2 dogs before. They’re getting along great today (day #2) and the new dog seems very friendly yet calm.

How do I decide if we should keep the new dog?

What should I know about having more than one dog in my home?

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16 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I had two golden retrievers that were abandoned and adopted me. The only thing unusual with having two was they bonded together so tightly I couldn’t take one alone, they always had to be together. If I tried to take one to the vet, the other one would throw themselves at the gate trying to get out. It annoyed the vet the first few times I brought both of them when only one had the appointment, but they learned how tight the two of them were. Also on the downside was when one died the other went within a month.

john65pennington's avatar

If they are both females, eventually they will resiste each other for being a dominant dog, especialy when one comes into heat. This could be a serious situation with a new baby in the house, because this puts a third person on the scene for jeaslousy.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

JP brings up an excellent point. Bringing the new baby into the home is bringing a new member into the pack. Make sure to be very careful with the baby around the dog or dogs.

snowberry's avatar

Make sure they are neutered.

Cupcake's avatar

They’re both fixed. Our dog is a female and the new one is a male.

blueknight73's avatar

One thing to remember is, everything will cost twice as much, and take twice as much time!

SpatzieLover's avatar

I chose to always have more than one dog, since they are pack animals. As far as I can tell, it’s easier or the same as one dog.

Yes, your costs will go up on food and vet care. However, since you are having a baby soon, the dogs will have each other instead of the one looking to you for all of it’s attention.

If they sees to get along well, I don’t know why you wouldn’t want to keep the new dog.

Questions I would need answered if this were me (especially with a babe on the way):

Does the shepherd bark a lot?
Is it well trained to commands?
Is it leash trained?
Does it fit into my current lifestyle?
Does he allow my current dog to sleep where she wants?
Is he able to keep himself occupied while I’m in the kitchen or cleaning?

Cupcake's avatar

@SpatzieLover Thank you. We all do want to keep the dog, but I want to make sure I make my decision logically instead of emotionally.

It’s only been 1 day, but he has only barked a couple of times at our dog when she was especially hyper. She appears to be well trained and know commands. She is fine on a leash. Our current dog sleeps in a crate (as will this one) and they did ok last night in crates near each other (a little more barking than usual from our dog). I am still assessing the fitting into our lifestyle and whether he interferes with our normal routines of cooking, cleaning, etc (although he was great last night when I vaccumed around him).

Food and vet costs will, of course, double. Boarding costs (for when we go out of town or just send them to play with other dogs for a couple of days) will be 1–½ times as much, since they give a multiple dog discount.

Thanks so much guys!! Keep asking questions/providing advice!

YoBob's avatar

Dogs are pack animals and in a sense two are easier than one because they can keep one another company when the rest of the family is away. OTOH, please realize that they perceive the humans in the house as a part of the pack as well, so don’t expect the dogs to just take care of themselves, you still have to take them on walks, family outings, etc…

marinelife's avatar

Two dogs provide company for each other and can wear each other out playing. An Australian shepherd and a lab sound like a good mix of size and personality.

tranquilsea's avatar

We unexpectedly got my mother’s dog when she died. He’s a jack russell and a royal pain in butt. He had been traumatized after he attacked a golden retriever. To be fare to the golden retriever…the jack russell started it and ended up losing. The net result of that fight was that the jack russell wouldn’t play anymore.

We own a poodle and when Eddie came to live with us our poodle would try to play with him all the time. Over the last 3 years Reg (our dog) has brought Eddie out of his shell a bit. They mostly ignore each other but Reg is always happy to see Eddie if he’s been away from him from any period of time.

They would just need to spend time together and time with you. You need to work on training them both so they both recognize you as the pack leader and not one of them.

Hibernate's avatar

Beside the “cost” which other suggested remember it’s gonna be twice as fun to have them around. When one does a “Stupid” thing you can’t get mad or else the other dog will get upset too. I suggest you keep the second one and make him a family member :P

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

My two dogs loved to play frisbee. But when one picked up the frisbee the other would try to pull it out their mouth. They had funny tugs of war.

tko7800's avatar

I would be very careful about feeding – even dogs that normally get along great can get very possessive during these times. Keep them separate when eating and take away bowls when they’re done. Some dogs are also very possessive about other objects like toys, beds, bones, etc. so keep an eye out for that. Just remember things probably always won’t be rosy, especially in the beginning. A certain amount of “fighting” is normal just as long as it doesn’t escalate into blood and scars territory. I would also keep them separated when no one is home until you know for sure they get along fine. Hope it works out well – I have 3 dogs and while they have their occasional squabbles, they get along great and tire each other out every single day.

YoBob's avatar

Funny what @Hibernate said. I can always tell when one of my “girls” has done something she shouldn’t have the moment I walk in the door because the other one will “tell” on her by being excessively submissive.

Hibernate's avatar

When we had 2 dogs and one was trying to “rat” the other one we punished the “loudmouth” first. After a few times he understood it’s not nice to be a snitch. And he was smart enough to know what things he had to share and those little things he had to keep for himself. Gosh .. good old times. I miss those dogs… wish dogs could live more than 15 years sometimes :(

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