So, you have a dog, and that dog is awesome. Your fur kid cuddles with you, loves you, and, sometimes, gets up to all kinds of mischief.
Maybe he’s lonely?
What would happen if you found him a friend? Is it better to have two dogs?
Let’s picture it: you get home, and suddenly there are two sets of paws chasing you down, jumping on you, and altogether going bananas with excitement because daddy’s home!
There are two mouths to feed instead of one, two sets of poop to clean, and two adorable coats to groom.
Will your fur kid be as needy if he has a sibling to play with? Are you able to give both of them the love and attention they need?
If these questions are milling in your mind, you’re not alone. Stick around as we unpack this.
They Socialize Each Other
Dogs absolutely need playtime to stay healthy, happy, and fit. It also helps them socialize and develop to become well-rounded animals. If your pup relies solely on you for love and attention, you’ll spend a lot of time at the park or in the garden. Seriously. Dogs need between 30 minutes and two hours of exercise per day, depending on their breed, size, age, and general health.
Getting a second fur kid takes some of this off your shoulders, as they’ll play together and socialize with each other. This is especially crucial for more social breeds prone to separation anxiety and loneliness since they’ll keep each other company.
Then, there’s the mischief. Bored dogs run amuck, ruining homes, gardens, clothes, and just about anything they can lay their paws on. Having two dogs decreases the odds of them getting bored, so they’re less likely to get into trouble. Unless they do it together, in which case you might have double the chaos.
You Need More Time
While dogs socialize each other, taking some of that load off your shoulders, they still need your attention. Having two dogs means that you don’t have to spend much time playing fetch, but they still need your love and attention. You’ll also spend way more time grooming your pups, especially if you opt for a breed that requires a ton of maintenance. You can outsource grooming, but this will add to your expenses.
Eases Separation Anxiety
Separation anxiety is actually quite common in dogs, especially when they’re the only fur kid in the family. Some pups outgrow it, but others suffer from it all their lives. When you only have one dog, managing separation anxiety can be pretty overwhelming. Here, your pup needs extra attention, special training, medication, and even doggy therapy.
The easiest way to ease separation anxiety is to get your fur kid a friend. When you’re away, these two will keep each other company, and they’ll probably understand each other way better than you can. After all, you’re not a dog, are you?
Easier Puppy Training
We all learn from our elders (at least, we’re supposed to). Dogs are no exception, and they’re pack animals to boot. In the doggy social hierarchy, the young ones look up to the pack leader for guidance. So, when you’re training a young pup, involve your older dog. He’ll teach the young one the ropes through his example, making your job so much easier.
Potty training is also way more manageable when you already have an older dog. See, dogs go potty where other dogs have already gone. So, since your older dog is well-trained at going potty in appropriate places, the new pup will follow suit. In this way, he’ll quickly learn where he’s supposed to go, and by extension, where he shouldn’t.
Supervise Them, Especially in the Beginning
Once properly introduced and used to each other, some dogs can spend hours together without supervision, happily playing and not getting up to mischief.
Some dogs don’t do well without supervision, though. Here, you could have a case of one dog biting or otherwise hurting the other or dogs getting into trouble together. Neither of these are good situations and should be avoided. If you’re not sure about your pups’ behavior when you’re out of sight, it might be wise to use crates or gates to separate them while you’re away. This creates space for each dog to do their own thing, avoiding all the yuck stuff they can get up to when together. Unfortunately, this approach negates the socialization aspect of having two dogs.
So, think carefully before getting a second pup, and ensure that their temperaments match well.
Mind the Age Gap
Having two puppies at the same generally isn’t a great idea. Training a puppy requires a lot of time and energy, and it’s a mission to do this properly for two little bundles of joy at the same time. Even if you have the energy and capacity to get this done, there’s still the social aspect: dogs are social animals, and they learn from each other. Having an older dog around to help show the noob the ropes is a great help, both to you and your new puppy.
Adopt, Don’t Shop
Adopting a pup saves a life. So, if you’re adopting two pups, you save two lives. It’s simple math. Well, actually, adopting a pup has a knock-on effect on the system. By adopting, you create more space at the local shelter or wherever you adopted your new fur kid from. Now, another needy pup can have a shot at a happy life.
It’s Not That Expensive
So, having a dog can be pretty expensive. We know this. Luckily, having two dogs doesn’t necessarily cost double. Okay, so there’s the vet bills, which you won’t get away from. That part doubles. But, the other things don’t. Either way, you’ll have to do some financial planning for your growing family. For example, what will vet bills be for an elderly dog who needs special care?
Pups can share toys, beds, water bowls, grooming tools, and all the other general supplies you need. You’d think that your food bill would double, but you actually end up saving on food since you can now buy in bulk. That is if your fur kids are on the same diet. If you have a puppy and an older dog, or any dog that needs a special diet, it might not be a good idea to share food.
Routine is Essential
Dogs thrive on routine and consistency. Knowing what to expect, where they will have their meals, and when they will spend time with you helps dogs adjust and manage themselves.
Additionally, it’s also a good idea to feed your two fur kids separately. This prevents resource guarding, where they start fighting over food and playing the alpha male or female.
Spread the Love
Dogs bring an insane amount of love into your home and having two dogs increases that exponentially. Now, you have fur kids loving you and your family, and you get to enjoy how they play together and interact. Adding a second dog to your family allows you to see a side of your fur kids that you probably haven’t seen before. Watch as they learn to socialize, care for each other, cuddle up for nap time, and generally do life together.
Understand Your Dog
Some dogs thrive on social interaction with other dogs, but some pups don’t get along and are best off in single-dog families. Before opting to bring a second dog into your family, take time to understand your dog and his social behavior.
Having multiple dogs isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, and that includes humans and dogs. Before you bring a second pup into your home, think carefully through all the factors governing that decision. Your pup’s temperament might not do well with a second dog, or he might be over the moon at having another fur kid in the house. Then, there are the implications for your time, energy, and finances. Do you have enough of it to properly care for two fur kids? Will the rest of your family cope with this transition?
Once you’ve thought through all of this and decided that a second fur kid is the way to go, take time choosing a pup that’s the right fit for your family. When you bring your new fur kids home, take time introducing them to your family, one at a time. Set aside time and take special care when introducing them to your other dog(s) to ensure that everyone adjusts well.