What is it REALLY like having 2 dogs??

(58 Posts)
cansleepanywhere Mon 06-Jan-14 10:50:54

Our lab bitch is 9 months now and we'd love another. We were thinking of next Jan when my youngest is at nursery weekday mornings so I can do the 'big walk' without the pushchair/backpack. I can handle 1 dog and a pushchair but not 2!

She'd be nearly 2 then....is that a good age?? Bit like having kids in that I don't want to leave too long between them as I'd like them to play together.

If you have 2 dogs, do yours tend to sleep together or will I have to get separate beds? Would I HAVE to do separate walks with a new pup?? I'm happy to take new pup training separately and do little sessions alone in the garden but not sure I can do long walks for current dog and then more for pup....how do you find the time? I was planning on taking pup along and then carrying her/him.

Also is it a bit like having more than 1 kid in that the workload doesn't just double, it goes up tenfold??

Would a smaller dog (i'm thinking cocker/springer) work well? Whatever we get would need to keep up with lab length walks when it's ready. I'd love another lab but not sure we have the space. This morning there were 2 kids, 2 adults and 1 dog on my bed!!! Also would it be better to get a male? Would this increase the chances of them getting along?

Am I mad to want another??

SnakeyMcBadass Mon 06-Jan-14 10:58:27

Well, I have two, a 2 and a half year old springer/cocker cross and a poodle/cocker cross that is 10 months old. The spaniel is a tricky dog to own, very high maintenance, so we've barely noticed the poodle tbh. Walking hasn't been an issue for us, they have separate beds but swap frequently, and are great company for each other. Just worth a mention, but one dog might snooze in the evenings an be fairly quiet. Two dogs will take it in turns to pounce on each others' heads, play noisy games of 'Gissit' and generally create mayhem. Our pup winds up the spaniel, then hides while he bounces off the walls <takes valium>

SconeForAStroll Mon 06-Jan-14 11:02:41

<Settles in to the madness>

If it makes you feel better I have two. And I did everything wrong - got black Labrador litter brother and sister when I was three months pg.

And now they are 11, asleep on the sofa and it is amazing.

But - they def need two beds. And often separate walks (although for us that is because one has terrible joints and the other doesn't) and food obviously doubles and vets bills/insurance.

I love having two dogs. My mum still thinks it is total insanity. I do everything for mine (although the dc are old enough now to do some of the walks!) and dread the day that one of them passes on.

What a lot of completely useless faff, scone. I suppose it comes down to your own character and your desire for a second. Your current dog won't miss what he doesn't have, do if it would make you materially happier then do it.

Watching with interest as we pick up our new puppy (working cocker) in two weeks, we have a 14 month Springer, who is very calm and placid at the moment, but does relish a lot of exercise.

Would be very interested in hearing views too, hope you don't mind the gate crash cansleepanywhere

For me, it's just the practicalities of the first few months that I am trying to figure out, rather than long term issues.

cansleepanywhere Mon 06-Jan-14 11:33:22

needastrongone gatecrash away grin

I used to have a springer so know their hardy enough to keep up with the lab (mine was Bonkers!). Don't know much about cockers other than the fact that working strain are more high maintenance, but more than a lab??

Our lab doesn't really settle until about 9pm on an evening, by which point she's been walked, played with, done a bit of training and chewed a bone. I'm hoping that 2 may tire each other out?

Insurance and food bills not really an issue as when DC starts nursery my childcare bill will half... happy days!

mistlethrush Mon 06-Jan-14 11:38:25

If you're worried about the puppy / older dog stage with 2 walks etc, why not consider an older male dog (eg 3 - 4 yrs) and find one that gets on well with your existing dog and would suit your family... plenty of rescues will home to families.

I have two dogs, both 3 years old, there is 3 months between them and we got them both as puppies, 3 months apart.

They are best friends. No extra work as if you're doing one dog walk anyway it doesn't matter if you're taking two dogs. They sleep in separate beds only because the beds are too small for them both. They snuggle up on the sofa together given the chance! Both bitches, both spayed, both so gentle with our toddler.

We'd never have only one dog again. It's lovely seeing them have company and tearing about playing together. I'm at home all day but if I go out to shops etc then at least they have each other.

NuttyMuttie Mon 06-Jan-14 11:53:10

More expense, more mud, dogs will pick up on the bad habits of the other dogs not the good habits. You will need to train both dogs separately, puppy will need to be walked separately to start with.

Cockers are much hairier than the labs and you will have to add grooming and de-matting time as well. Why rock the boat? enjoy the dog you have. Take her to gundog classes, or agility increase the time you spend with the one you have rather than water it down on two dogs. Dogs really do prefer to be entertained by humans than dogs so would prefer your company to that of another dog.- honestly

I would recommend you read Feeling Outnumbered - How to manage and enjoy a multi dog household by Patricia McConnell & Karen London before you commit.

PS I have 8 dogs smile but I do nothing but dogs, my work is dogs, my leisure time is dogs, my holidays are dogs - that if fine for me but maybe not for everyone.

I have two but I rescued them both as adults so can't comment on puppies.

We lost our greyhound in May and got another end of June. He had some sa although it improved quickly, he had been kenneled with a bitch his whole life and was clearly happier in the company of other dogs. We decided not to get another greyhound as my boys wanted a dog that they could play with so we went for a lurcher. They are very different dogs but they are best friends!! We took him with us when we met her and they got on instantly. We had a few teething problems but very quickly it was like they'd always been here. They have their own beds and sleep on them at night but will cuddle up together during the day. They have similar exercise needs and do exercise each other as they chase around together. I run with them and if I want to do a longer run I do laps and take both for the first, drop the greyhound at home and go back out again.

I wouldn't say it's even double the work once they've settled, but I found it quite hard for the first month. The greyhound walks lovely and I just clip him onto my shopping clip and can then hold the other lead and push but it is more stressful than walking with one and a pushchair.

I don't know puppies at all but how long do they need shorter walks than adults? I'm thinking of how big it would be for carrying until it was able to walk the whole walk with your current dog. A young adult dog rescue would eliminate that stage.

Bowlersarm Mon 06-Jan-14 12:02:23

I have two labs. Both from puppies, two and a half year gap.

Works really well. They are great together, get on well, and whilst we had one dog to walk, feed, play with, I thought we may as well do it all at the same time with another! Makes you feel much less guilty when you leave them at home too, as they aren't alone.

Downsides-lots of hair everywhere. Plus dirt with the constant rain and mud everywhere. Quite a bit more expensive insurance, food, treats blush. And you get more negative traits combined with two ie one of my dogs gets car sick, the other doesn't, one chews shoes etc, the other doesn't, one jumps up but the other doesn't, one steals food and the other doesn't. So it's almost double trouble with the two of them covering all the bad traits. Much easier with one.

Wouldn't change it though, and think we will always have two dogs at the same time.

LoofahVanDross Mon 06-Jan-14 12:06:22

Wholeheartedly recommend more than one dog at a time. No extra effort as you walk them together etc. Only the insurance costs and food for 2 to factor in. Apart from that, they keep eachother company when you go out. Good luck!

Holidays are more tricky as my parents won't have both and lots of holiday places won't take more than one dog.

And yes lots of dirty, we have many dog towels! Mine lose very little hair so two didn't make a difference with that.

I have a 6 year old Weim and a 2 year old cocker.

Definitely get a male if you already have a female.
Lot of extra work during the puppy stage, but it's only minimally more once the pup is about a year. Do NOT get into the habit of carrying a pup.

Get the pup a crate - it really helps them to have a secure space where they dont have to "sleep with one eye open"
There'll be a bit of establishing the pecking order type of jostling for position - but that'll settle down too.

I walk my 2 together - but I run with each of them separately, so they get some one-on-one time too.

We have female 8 month old and male 6 month old Yorkiepoos. She loved socialising in the park so much that we decided she needed company, and they're very, very close - normally do sleep snuggled together and sometimes on top of each other. The bills have gone up but it doesn't feel like the work has.

The size is a definite advantage for us, it's easy to walk them with both leads in one hand and I can also manage the pair of them on my lap (just) on buses. I do worry about when one of them dies, they already hate going out without each other , but hopefully that's a long way away.

For me, just wanted to thank you for the replies (I know it's not my thread)

Interesting reading. Positive in the main, I think! Prepared for the extra cost and mud, we holiday in the UK anyway, self cater so understand the choice narrows, although our Springer's breeder is happy to have the new puppy too for holidays as she does our current dog, mad dog loving woman smile

I am loving hearing so many viewpoints it's great to get a variety.

NumptyNameChange Mon 06-Jan-14 12:27:50

i have a black lab who is 3 and a bit and a lhasa apso who will be 2 in may. no extra work as far as walks go (other than getting under your feet - lab is much better behaved and obedient than the lhasa and i do think this is a danger with second dogs though possibly a lot of it is my fault as the first tends to get a lot more one on one attention and training whereas the second can be sort of expected to just fall in plus she's a littlie so easier to ignore bad behaviour like jumping up).

it is a LOT more mess. i would say more than double somehow.

i've given up on dog beds as i've never had one that wasn't rank and destroyed within weeks including one very expensive waterproof supposedly wipe it down and it's fine one that lasted a fortnight. they both sleep curled up together on the rug in the hall or if they're being treated to a night upstairs the lab sleeps with my son and the lhassa with me.

holidays become more complicated in some ways but easier in others. for example we went away for a fortnight in the summer and i put them in kennels. i would never have done that with a solo dog but with the two of them to keep each other company and feeling safe i felt ok about it and they were absolutely fine. when we go away for weekends i've found a schoolgate mum friend whose happy to have the little one and pamper it and the lab bunks in with the bloke next door. they cope fine apart but are always very happy to see each other and us when we get back.

it does feel like a burden sometimes but then so can one dog. i got the second in anticipation of me going back to work and not wanted to leave the dog on her own. i have sometimes really disliked the second dog if i'm honest - possibly just because the first was just such an angel and the second had different challenges but nowadays now she's settled down a bit and is such a loyal and loving and playful thing i sometimes find she's my 'favourite'. it has definitely made me think i did the right thing sticking with one child! my son, like my lab, was very easy going and lovely and i worry that a second would be like my lhassa and have me pulling my hair out grin

sorry long waffle!

NumptyNameChange Mon 06-Jan-14 12:29:37

oh and mine are both girls - i am not keen on male dogs and i've found two girls get on absolutely fine contrary to popular mythology.

Goldencity1 Mon 06-Jan-14 12:30:55

I have 2 Goldies, and have had 2 for the last 25 odd years. Before that we had an "only" dog, also a Goldie.
Currently we have a 10yr old and a 7 month pup, both bitches. The others have been litter sisters or same age pups. At one stage we had 2 pups and a 12 yr old [survivor of the previous pair she had been pining for her sister, she perked up and lived till she was 16 the "matriarch" of the pack].

So, having had both, I would always go for a pair. They play together, don't get bored, and are generally twice the fun! The older dogs also help train the younger pups, i am sure ours are calmer and more content because of this.

However, they do take up a lot of space and make a lot of mess! But it takes just as long to clean up after 1 dog as 2, so not a problem.

I would think you will need 2 beds..they walk together so no need for seperate walks. Ours are used to walking side by side on lead, they even walk in step.
At first the little pup didn't need as long walks, so short joint walks, the oldie had another while pup had her nap.
For training, if you get 2 pups, you will need 2 people, 1 for each pup, at a class and also do seperate 1 to 1 sessions at home.
At the moment I take the pup to training class on her own. Old girl waits in the car, then I swap and oldie goes to class....just started with her again doing very basic agility and she loves it, who says you cant teach an old dog new tricks!

HomeHypno Mon 06-Jan-14 12:35:50

We are thinking of having a third dog. Dogs are pack animals and generally happier with company, especially if they are left alone a lot.They sleep in a pile and seem to miss one another if they are apart.

The 'baby' stage in dogs is very short so I wouldn't worry about that. It is not like getting another child at all, in fact it may be easier when your dogs have the company of one another and need less entertainment. Dogs do pick up habits from one another, in good and bad so getting the time for training is essential. Our older dog has taught the younger one to bark at anything that moves which is annoying, but they are calmer in the car together than apart for example.

Goldencity1 Mon 06-Jan-14 12:38:34

Also, holidays - we go self catering/caravan and the dogs go with us. You get used to stepping over them! I take loads of fleece covers and towels to keep everything clean.
Our dogs have passports and travel in Europe, they like car riding and are fine on the ferry. You do have to plan and consider the dogs as of course you can't just leave them in a hot car while you go shopping etc...

But quite a few self catering cottages/caravan have a limit of a single dog. Sorry to hijack but any links to multiple dog family holidays would be fab!

We stayed here last year and wish we had been quick enough to book for this year, stunning.

www.orroland.com/

Making a sweeping generalisation here about an entire country, but Scotland seems very very dog friendly indeed smile Can't imagine Cumbria or Northumberland wouldn't be either, the latter has dog friendly beaches for sure.

ps - no connection to the above website, promise, just was amazing and so dog friendly.

CQ Mon 06-Jan-14 13:02:23

No time to read the whole thread, so sorry if repeating, but just wanted to add my take on this.

Dog1 is SO much happier and livelier since we got Dog2. We have two beds but quite often they'll snuggle up on one bed together. They play, chase and charge about together. Remove all loose rugs and table lamps from your house - they may not survive.

However, they also bring out the worst in each other and amplify the other's faults, so Dog1, who used to be a wuss, will now chase anything that moves, if her sister is doing it. Dog2, adopted as an adult, would never dream of climbing on the furniture - until Dog1 showed her how.

Just make sure you have thoroughly trained the first dog before you introduce another delinquent to the madhouse grin

But yes, on the whole, 2 dogs = double the fun

benid Mon 06-Jan-14 13:34:34

Hello hello.. here is my twopennorth..

We have recently got another dog to keep our JR terrier company. The JR is 2 and the new dog (another terrier but different kind) is 1. We rehomed them both (not "rescues" as they were in nice homes, just with people who couldn't look after them any more). They are both boys and play fight A LOT which does my head in! I expect this is due to the 2-terrier combination though and they are happy as larry. I expect the youngster will settle down over the next year or so (as he gets his head round our house rules!).

I don't regret it at all. There is no extra cleaning up. More food costs of course. On each individual walk there is no extra work however we have needed to make a bigger commitment to walking in general as the dogs absolutely cannot do without their 3 walks a day otherwise they are bouncing around fighting till all hours. (We used to be able to get away with 2 walks sometimes when we only had the 1 dog)

My PIL look after the dogs for us when we are away and were happy for us to get another dog. If not we wouldn't have got another and would have been completely tied down by them.

There do seem to be a few dog-friendly places that take 2 pets in the UK.. we just googled "dog friendly cottages" and there were some. We're staying here next month:
oldpiggery.co.uk
No idea what it will be like but it looks lovely and extremely dog-friendly!

Let us know what you decide to do!

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