Are two dogs much harder work than one?

(23 Posts)
BuckytheRedNosedReindeer Sun 16-Dec-07 20:09:12

We recently got a GSD (2 months ago). My parents have had GSDs my whole life but this is the first time I have had one of my own. Anyway, he is beautiful and well behaved, very intelligent and in fact I can't complain at all except for the fact that toys last about five minutes until he chews them to pieces grin.

He is at home alone (in the garden with a kennel) during the day. We have a dog walker that walks him for an hour at lunchtime. He seems fine, but I wonder if a second dog would be a bit of company. However, I have also seen many an example of owners thinking that they are doing their dog a favour getting a 'friend' and they end up with a nightmare when the dogs don't get on, or the original dog is victimised. I am also not sure that the 'new' dog might not lead our perfect boy astray or that the two of them might get a bit too mad if they do get on.

'Why are you bothering if you are so worried' you might say? Because I think if they get on it could be great for him, he is a lovely dog and he needs somebody to play with. A girl can only tug a rope for so many minutes a day wink and if the second is as lovely as he is it would only be a good thing! What do you think?

loler Sun 16-Dec-07 21:17:49

We had 2 dogs and it was only when one died that I realised how easy one dog is. I definately found it more than twice as much work and they got on well! We did have 2 that didn't get on and that was just hell!

Say ing that I would love another dog one day - maybe it's just because I'm not allowed any more children?

hercules1 Mon 17-Dec-07 08:07:54

We have 3 dogs and it is a lot of work. Far more than two or one. There was a time I'd have said not much work having 2 but actually I no longer think that.

Someone is always at home and they have taken a lot of training, time and effort to get them into a reasonable state. Tbh if you are intending leaving them alone all day outside I wouldnt do it. They will bond more with each other than you and that is not a good thing.

hercules1 Mon 17-Dec-07 08:09:22

Oh,and ours do get on reasonably well but have their moments. It really has taken an awful lot of time and effort to get them to live together the way we want and it is an ongoing ever changing thing.
One of them has just started to 'guard' us from the other two just when we thought we could relax a bit...

fishie Mon 17-Dec-07 08:18:27

yes much harder. unlike cats, 2 dogs are more like 200.

LittleB Mon 17-Dec-07 09:25:15

I'd disagree, but I guess it depends on the dogs. We've had two dogs, at different times, so two different pairs of dogs. They did get on well, although the older one would always get tired earlier and have to tell the other to give her a break! We've always had mixed sexes which probably helps them get along better. They played together well and kept each other company, they could be a handful when walking with a pushchair or a little one, and we did find it limited our choice of holiday cottages as many will only take one dog and we needed a bigger car. We've only got one at the moment (lost my old dog a couple of months ago) and as he's only 9mths we'll wait until he's at least 3 before getting another, but we'll definitely get another, I prefer having two dogs, its lovely when thy play together. I would say wait until you've had him for a few more months so he's well settled in and has bonded with you fully, then think about it all again!

purpleduck Mon 17-Dec-07 10:08:21

We have 2, and I do prefer it, but it has to be the right mix. We have a female greyhound, and a male terrier/spaniel/god knows what, and they are fantastic together. They do keep each other company, and I feel better when we have to leave them for any length of time. Our greyhound was 2 when we got our other dog, and thb, we got the second dog mostly because the greyhound is not very affectionate, and I wanted something a bit more snuggly smile.
They do have their crazy times of the day, and it can stretch on, which drives me nuts!! We join the leads together, so they walk fine together. They are pack animals, so i feel it is kinder to them to have at least 2. My greyhound started to get more barky around other dogs after we got our second one, and i'm not sure why that is.

All in all, i don't think it is much more work, and the second one does add alot to the family as he has such a different (affectionate) nature. Like I said though, it has to be the right mix. I think it helped that our second dog is much smaller, and a different sex.



bunnyhohohunny Mon 17-Dec-07 10:19:38

we got 2 dogs as I felt the same way about the single dog as you do.
I found it MUCH harder than 1 dog.
eg: You can't delay a walk, as they wind each other up
Mine got possessive about food (depends onthe dog I guess)
Car journeys with 2 were a nightmare, with either 1 alone it was bliss.
They didn't really play together and keep each other amused, like you'd think they would.

After having 2 dogs for about 6 years, we ended up giving our first dog away as he was getting very possessive and we had a new baby. It's only now that I realise the 1st dog was making the 2nd dogs life a misery by being dominant to him.

But then our 2nd dog was a rescue Jack Russell, so he wasnt exactly calm!

think hard about it before you do it. I think maky dogs are happy being the only dog in a family.

magnolia74 Mon 17-Dec-07 10:26:05

We have 2 dogs and they are soul mates smile
They are similar although ones a full breed and ones a cross. They do have the occasional spat but it's over very quickly.

I will admit though that I find them hard work but its mainly since our son was born and now he is crawling around the dogs are harder to cope with as they are quite bouncy and having 2 makes them play even more hmm

But they are so very good together. You are not going to know until you have 2 but if your dog is very happy with your company, gets good walks and meets lots of other dogs ect... If he is a puppy I would say get one soonish, although they will be harder work at first they will bond easier than if you bring a puppy into a house with an older dog smile

allIWannaBeForChristmas Mon 17-Dec-07 10:32:03

there are no guarantees that they will play together/be good friends.

I have two dogs, one is my current guide dog and the other is my retired guide dog. They don't really play together as they're 10 years apart in age, but I wouldn't be without either of them.

that being said, two dogs brings its own challenges - two baskets do actually take up quite a bit more space than one, I find it hard to walk them on my own as, athough they're both very well behaved, it's hard with two on leads until you get to the point of letting them off, plus when we go on holiday I have to find someone to look after two dogs, or alternatively have to find two people to look after one each.

GoodGollyMissMolly Mon 17-Dec-07 11:08:22

We have two dogs, and I don't find it any harder, just do everything twice. Do two bowls of food and take double the amount of poop-a-scoops out with you when you go for a walk, etc, etc.
We even got our second dog at about the right time for the first dogs vaccinations so they could have them together at the same time. I find that makes things a little easier. Only have to go to the vets once for vaccinations.

My dogs get a famously, there was a settling in period which took about 10 days, but they are now inseparable.

We got our second dog for company for our first as we had both started working full time, whereas before we were part time and on shifts so our first dog was very rarely at home alone.

Hope all goes well for you, if you can make it work I'm sure your GSD would love a companion.

ChopsterRoastingOnAnOpenFire Mon 17-Dec-07 11:35:13

I grew up with labradors. My parents had one, then as he started to get older they got a second, then continued in on. The older one died, the second was getting older, so they got a third, and so on.

We've found that after settling in puppies have deferred to the older dog and they've all been pretty close. We had to keep them strictly separate when alone to start with when unsupervised, jsut in case. We found that for the older dogs, having a puppy come along actually gave them a new lease of life, and they became more energetic, played more etc.

Walking is a bit harder, and of course you have double the vets/food bills. ours have never actually fought, jsut a bit of settling in warnings etc. from older dogs towards the puppies.

LittleB Mon 17-Dec-07 11:41:51

Sorry Magnolia but I would disagree, alot of people say don't get two puppies together as they will tend to bond with each other more than you and therefore be harder to train, wait until you have a well trained adult dog before you get a pup, but its sounds like your GSD is very good, I would wait until he's well settled in, it can take up to 6mths for a dog to fully settle in to his new home (I used to work as a dog warden and have had rescue dogs so I have experience of this - my second collie took several months to settle and gain his confidence) I wouldn't worry about ages, there were 8 years between my first pair and my older bitch loved playing with my 1 year old and it improved her arthritus as she gave her legs a better workout playing that just walking Earlier this year i had a 15year old and a puppy. My 15year old didn't play with him until he'd been with us for a couple of months, I think she thought he was too small, but she soon enjoyed playing with him, and he learnt how to behave from her, she died a couple of months ago and my pup misses her, but we will wait until he's an adult before we get another. I love having two dogs, and they've always enjoyed each others company, I don't think its twice the work at all, but is a bit more work. let us know what you decide.

BuckytheRedNosedReindeer Mon 17-Dec-07 16:15:45

Thank you so much for all the advice. It has really given me food for thought. I think I will probably stick with the one for now. Given the risks with getting a second, the fact that we are just getting over the shock of all the mess and exercise we are now getting and that there really is no rush. I suppose it would be silly to not wait and see how things progress.

I really appreciate all your posts, it has made the decision much easier.

CountryGirl2007 Mon 17-Dec-07 16:51:09

I have 2 dogs, a male and a female, and I don't find it difficult at all. the male ignores the female anyway lol. walking them isn't a problem either, a lead in each hand, simple! I do think a male + a female get on better sometimes than a male + male or female + female combo, I know a dog for example who I call a real gentleman because he will put up with any crap from my female dog and just walk away or ignore her, but will fight with another male if it annoys him.

dogs do like to play with other dogs and it would be great company for him especially if he is left alone for long periods daily.

if you were to get another dog, I'd recommend getting a dog younger than your current dog so as the newcomer, he would probably have more respect for the older dog as well.

another thing is, instead of introducing the dog into your house, it's better to introduce the dogs on neutral territory, i.e. the beach or a park, and then bring them home together.

If you're dog is well socialised and you were to pick a well socialised, playful dog, then I don't think there would be a problem!

bunnyhohohunny Mon 17-Dec-07 17:57:10

allIWannaBe - good point about the holidays too - we used to send our 1 dog to friends, but asking people to look after 2 is much harder.

And the point about 2 leads to - I remember having 2 leads AND a pram. Nightmare! and both dogs were ok on their own, but with 2 (a dawdler and a fast walker) with a pram it was really difficult - I ended up doing 2 separate walks, which kind of defeats the point.

magnolia74 Mon 17-Dec-07 19:39:24

Littleb I never said get 2 puppies together! I said It may be better to get another dog quite soon so the other dog would tolerate another more easily.
Believe me from experience 2 puppies of the same age is very hard work but 2 young dogs with not a huge age gap can work quite well.

CountryGirl2007 Mon 17-Dec-07 21:32:29

bunnyhohohunny, I have a lazy dog and an energetic dog too, my solution was to put an extendable lead on the energetic one and a normal lead on the lazy one, so the lazy one could walk along slowly with me and the energetic one could walk ahead on his extendable lead. much easier that way!

BuckytheRedNosedReindeer Mon 17-Dec-07 23:08:48

There is a picture of the dog in question on my profile. He is such a sweetie grin.

BuckytheRedNosedReindeer Mon 17-Dec-07 23:12:12

Except the stupid page is not working! blush. I gave myself a festive name and it seems to have messed it up.

MuffinMclay Tue 18-Dec-07 14:08:43

Yes, but more than twice as rewarding too, when things are going well.

We had 2 spaniels until a year ago and they didn't get on. The oldest bullied the youngest, and it was a nightmare to manage. They couldn't be left in kennels together if we went away, couldn't travel together, couldn't be shut away together if we had workmen or people who didn't like dogs round. Whenever the oldest got stressed he'd attack the youngest. We learnt to recognise the signs of trouble and could manage them, but we could never leave them with other people. We had a lot of help from behaviourists and dog training people, but things were never right.

Two also means more than twice twice the mess, in my experience (although just one has managed to spread mud everywhere in the Muffin house today angry).

But, at the same time, it is wonderful to watch 2 playing and running around together, and they probably get more exercise and stimulation than if they are an only dog. And there is always one doing something silly that makes you smile (or is that just spaniels).

I'd still love to add to the dog numbers here one day, despite the extra work. Far easier than children imo.

Onlyaphase Tue 18-Dec-07 14:14:16

I got 2 lab puppies together, mainly so they would have company at all times. The only downside is that two dogs together encourage each other into all sorts of mischief. If both are running after something and you call them back, one will look back but then see his brother is still running and so carry on. And when they were still at the chewing stage they did manage to polish off a sofabed and most of the original victorian skirting in our kitchen diner (sorry to the person who bought our house and found it was made of wood filler and paint)

On the plus side, we never have to worry about leaving them for a couple of hours, they play together all the time - being labs they love the water and will goad each other into it, they still sleep together in mirror image patterns, they get on remarkably well all the time. They have given us so much pleasure as a pair of dogs - especially when they are running back to you sharing the same stick.

We will probably repeat this and get another pair of puppies in due course.

iotasbadasscat Tue 18-Dec-07 14:24:54


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