It has been a long time since we’ve only had one dog in the house. It would be weird not having to walk around dog beds, feeding only one dog, the vet bills would be smaller, etc.
Having 2 dogs will be more work than 1. How much more will depend on the right mix, their personalities, how they get along, their size, their gender, training, exercising.
Not twice the work, but a bit more work
Of course it will all depend on the dogs themselves. If one is a puppy and the other one older, the puppy will follow and learn from the older one.
Filling one or two bowls of food takes no more time.
There will definitely be double the amount of poop to scoop.
Walking them might be a challenge depending on the combination: one is big and one is small, one pulls, the other one doesn’t. We found that it’s better to walk the husky mix and the beagle separately, much more enjoyable.
Two dogs mean two crates (if using) and two dog beds, which would require the necessary space.
Yes, double the vet bills.
If they eat the same brand of food, you can buy a bigger bag, so not double the food bill.
When you go away, might be harder to find friends to take two dogs in. You would need to hire a babysitter, which would cost more when two dogs are involved.
If you get two puppies, then you’ll find it’s a lot more work!
It will be more work to train the dogs individually.
If things are going well, it will be twice as rewarding to have two dogs.
Is Having Two Dogs Better Than One?
Having two dogs is better than one for a few reasons, ranging from easier training to emotional health, from companionship to rescuing a shelter dog. Of course, there might be some challenges to overcome.
Do dogs do better in pairs?
Dogs are pack animals and do better when in pairs and won’t get lonely or bored. When a second dog joins the household and they bond and play together, it will certainly alleviate the loneliness.
Does gender matter when getting a second dog?
Since our experiences with two or more dogs were not planned, but was more destiny than any other elements. We’ve had females and males at the same time, old and puppies at the same time, which also brought different levels of energy.
But according to experts, if you are planning to adopt a second dog, it’s better if the 2nd one is of the opposite sex for a better chance of success.
But in the end, compatibility will be the most important criteria.
Best way to introduce two dogs
- Introduce them on neutral territory, such as one person walking one dog, each on a leash
- Keep them at a distance while walking, so they can see each other
- Watch their body language, growling, showing teeth, etc.
- Offering treats to reward them if they behave
- If the dogs seem relaxed, shorten the distance between them
- Don’t force the introduction, let the dogs decide how to proceed
- Once in the home, you might first use a baby gate to separate them and see how they react
- Make sure there are no food, toys or treats around the house until they are used to each other
In our case, over the years, we’ve had three different ‘styles’ of introduction with dogs that came into our lives.
l. A puppy was introduced to our golden retriever and they were no issues at all. The puppy would follow her around thinking it was her mother.
2. I found a 5-month old puppy by the side of the road and I took him home. I had two other big dogs then and I had no idea how to do this (there were no internet then to google it). I brought the puppy inside in my arms and sat on the sofa and let the other dogs smell him and all the time telling them to be nice. I stayed like that for at least 30 minutes and then put him on the floor. All was good after that.
3. Our current beagle is my daughter’s and will be living with us for now. She brought him to the dog park where my husky mix goes almost every day. So they were indirectly introduced that way amongst other dogs and then came back to our house and entered our backyard together. They are best friends.
Give both dogs the same attention
I see it as having two kids and making sure each one gets their ‘alone’ time with you. Same goes with the two dogs especially in the first few months of them living together.
Each dog should get their solo walk, in order for you to train it. Training two dogs at the same time is impossible.
A good suggestion would be to hire a professional trainer OR online classes to teach you how to train your dogs.
Is it ok to leave two dogs alone
It will be nerve wracking the first time you leave the two dogs alone in the house. What we’ve done is leave without much fuss. Walk around the house quietly and come back five minutes later. Assess if there was damage, if you heard the dogs fight, etc.
Later the same day, do it again but for ten minutes, and see how it went.
I would repeat that for a few days, adding five minutes but still stay around.
If all goes well, you should be good to go to add more time.
But remember, it all depends on the dogs and their compatibility and personality.
How is it living with three dogs
At one time, years ago, we had four big dogs in our house! It wasn’t planned, it just happened.
Currently we have three dogs at home. Again it wasn’t planned this way LOL. One is our 13 year old Chocolate Lab who loves everyone and don’t bother with the other dogs. One is a failed foster who is now eight and loves kids and people and bonded with no problems with the latest addition, the eight year old Beagle.
The challenges of having three dogs:
takes a lot of space:
- there is a big crate that is used by the senior dog as he loves it
- there’s a ‘dog’ chair
- there’s three dog beds
- multiple ‘dog’ carpets
- and a ‘dog’ mattress
the vacuum cleaner is working every day
- there’s dog hair
- there’s sand/dirt
- there’s dust
feeding time has a ritual
- line up the three bowls on the counter
- fill all three with the same food (thankfully)
- add a pill for the senior dog only
- two feeding stations are closed to each other and one is far apart (latest dog)
- have to watch the Beagle as he finishes first and wants to go lick the other bowls
pooping and walking
We have a fenced backyard. My husband is the poop collector and goes around the yard at least once a day. Three dogs poop a lot!
We walk them individually. The senior Chocolate Lab sniffs every piece of grass and of course walks very slowly. The Husky and the Beagle used to walk together, but was a lot of work as one is small and the other tall and one wants to go left and the other right.
we need an SUV
We have a Toyota RAV4. The back seats are always down so that the back space is big enough to fit two or three dogs when we go to the dog park or getting the nails done.
we don’t go out much
If we do, it’s usually five hours at the most and even then we try to have someone come in to let them out and stay for 30 minutes.
We would rather have family and friends visit us instead. We have a big house 🙂
going on vacations
We used to send them to someone who babysits dogs in her house. Believe me, the dogs must have felt like they were at a 5 star hotel. They were also on vacations.
But now that our Chocolate Lab is a senior, we think it’s better for him to be in his own stuff and surroundings. So we hire a dog babysitter who stays at our house while we go on vacations.