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Going from 2 dogs to 3 (or maybe even 4) Are we mad?

(13 Posts)
musicposy Fri 14-Feb-14 20:34:17

Hi there, we have 2 dogs, one who is 11 and one who is 3. We weren't even going to consider getting any more for now (we said that before we got dog 2!).
However, we've seen a dog on the many tears website who seems perfect, not just for us, but us for them IYSWIM. It's a breed we have a lot of experience of and every family member is on board (had to spend a bit of time talking it through with DH initially!). Have spoken to them and to the foster carer and I think we would like to make the trip to meet the dog.

However, there are two the same breed and I think the fosterer would quite like to see them to go together. DDs are very excited about this prospect and DD1 says she will finance one (financing two more dogs is a bit of a worry - DD is 18 so essentially an adult and works enough to pay the adoption fee and vet bills etc, we can cope with food costs). I'm still not quite so sure about taking on two, I must admit.

I need it to be right. I don't believe in giving dogs back at the first whim any more than you would give your children back, so if we take one or both of these dogs, we have to be able to cope with them and it would be for life.

I've never had more than two dogs before so can anyone tell me, is it much harder work? I figure we're already tramping across sodden fields in the rain and our house is already full of dog hair and mud! Does it feel as though your house is overrun with a pack of dogs? Or does it not feel a whole lot different? I also worry about giving them each enough attention although I guess people worry about that when they have extra children too!

Thank you wise mumsnetters! Ddog2 is currently sat on me farting very stinkily (stupid dog drank flooded river water the other day before we got a chance to stop her) and I'm thinking, how nice it will be to have even more of this grin. Plus the timing is crazy - we're on a flood warning under threat of evacuation right now (but along with half the country I suspect) and most of our worldly goods are crammed upstairs. That's going to look great on the home check! But I really, really took to this dog. I often keep an eye on rescue websites but this dog really caught me, somehow. I can't explain it beyond that, I think I have to just go and see her.

Advice from those who have done similar much appreciated thanks

Greyhorses Sat 15-Feb-14 11:32:57

In all honesty I find 3 a nightmare!

Two is easy and match two hands perfectly. I find it easy to walk a dog in each hand, one bowl in each hand etc and 3 seems to make it a whole lot harder.

3 has tipped me a bit over the edge and I ended up with a broken nose in an attempt at walking all 3 at once and getting tangled!
For example simple things such as putting leads on turns into a task when one decides something else is more exciting. Mine are normally very well behaved but sometimes they do slip up and that's when it gets hard. I also have a few jealousy issues in terms of making sure all have attention and enough one to one training.
They do take over the house and sometimes I feel as though I am living in a pack, although mine are large breeds (2 GSD and one collie) and they do copy each other's bad behaviours (for example first two never barked, third does and now I have 3 barking dogs!))

I hindsight I would only do it if you have help with walks/feeding etc every day as despite mine being well behaved it is hard work. Maybe borrow another dog and test out walking 3 at once- it can get complicated! My MIL also feels the same about her third dog and wishes she had stuck at two.

Sorry just read that back and I sound so negative...I love all of my dogs but I would never ever get more than two again! I'm sure others have much happier stories though! Good look whatever you decide!

Goldencity1 Sat 15-Feb-14 11:47:48

I have had 3 golden retrievers, one old girl age 11 plus 2 pups. Yes, there is a lot of fur and mud, but you have to clean up after 1 or 2 anyway. If you are sure you can afford it, the main cost is in your time. The new dogs will need training, and you can't do both at the same time unless you and dfds or DH all go to class together....
Walking needs planning, I walked with 2 on a double lead and one in the other hand. Recall can be harder to teach as playing in a big group can be more interesting than coming back when called.
That said, we never had any problems unless we had MiL s manic cocker Spaniel s staying, totally untrained ion a lead, they liked to practise lead plating and spinning. Walking 3 Goldies was easy, add in the 2 spaniels and they tripped me over several times. All now gone to the bridge, sadly.

musicposy Sat 15-Feb-14 13:30:47

Thanks for that, it's useful to hear. I know what you mean about the behaviour - we had the same with the barking. Now if one barks, the other does too. I think they feel they can't be left out!
I'm still thinking about the realities of it so all stories good and bad are gratefully received.

EasyToEatTiger Sat 15-Feb-14 16:57:31

We moved up to 3 dogs nearly 4 years ago so we had 2 oldies and a youngster. We had forgotten what young dogs do, so once again we lost loads of stuff through chewing, and there was all the training to do, which had its own problems, and then there were the vet's bills as the baby kept taking chunks out of the older boy. We considered re-homing the youngest as he and the oldie goaded each other so much. We lost the old boy just before christmas. It doesn't make grieving any easier just because there are more dogs. Anyway, we had a massive dog-sized hole in the house, so we've filled it with a young dog. Back up to 3! The more hairy love, the better!

Scuttlebutter Sat 15-Feb-14 18:42:36

We currently have four greyhounds - this was not planned, and we previously thought we would stop at three. I can say quite categorically that although I am completely and utterly soppy about our four, I NEVER want to have four dogs again.

The biggest thing is the time taken - when we had three, I could walk them singlehandedly, when DH is away in the week. With four, I do two, then home then the next two. Along with feeding and care, it quite often feels that a substantial chunk of my day is simply spent on dog care. 10 minutes clicker training for 1 becomes 40 minutes for four. If you are a conscientous dog owner who wants to give individual training and attention to each dog, you need to sit down and think about the time taken for this.

You also need to consider transport (especially if a big breed) and don't underestimate the extra costs of feeding, vet care, kennels, insurance etc. We are lucky in that two of ours are fosters so we get help. We get through industrial quantities of feed - you need to be organised in ordering and stocking. You need room for all the coats, leads and paraphernalia they attract.

Four large dogs also has an impact on the house. It always makes me laugh when I read on MN about how childless people live in these beautiful, clean houses with white sofas and priceless objets dotted about. I feel like I live with four hairy toddlers who spend their time finding new and inventive ways to make a mess (and are very good at it). Our sofas are falling apart, our bed is full of dog hair, and our walls are constantly splashed with mud and oomska. Four just are much, much messier than two. Some days I just want to cry, as no matter how much cleaning I do, it just doesn't make an impact (especially with the weather we've been having this year). If you are fussy about your car, also - that has a similar impact. Ours is a smelly, hairy, muddy experiment in new ecosystem development. Thankfully, we only mostly give lifts to other dog nuts. Any normal person would probably scream and require a biohazard suit.

With two, you are likely to still be able to find a relative who might take them for a weekend - with four - forget it. With two, you will be able to find self catering accommodation very easily. With four, you have to search high and low. We have found a wonderful place in Pembrokeshire that has no upper limit on the number of dogs brought, but these are few and far between and you pay handsomely for the privilege.

If I won the Lottery tomorrow, these would all be surmountable problems, as I'd have a gorgeous baronial pile, a fleet of cleaners, and a converted van just for hound transport. But back in the real world - there are impacts and I'm trying to give you the non romantic side of it.

The Kodak moments are there of course, as you'd expect when we all pile on the bed together for a cuddle or are playing on the beach, but don't underestimate teh time, cost and impact they will have.

For me personally, I think three is the perfect number - enough to be a gang, but still walkable singlehanded.

EasyToEatTiger Sat 15-Feb-14 20:43:11

How wise you are, and articulate, Scuttle. It made me laugh when you mentioned about transporting hounds. I don't know quite how we did it, but we managed to squidge 2 adults, 2 children, 2 dogs and all the paraphenalia into a nissan micra. The campervan was so much easier, and it worked well as a kennel. There are also hoovers and hoovers.... I think it helps to have some knowledge of first aid with more dogs.

HindsightisaMarvellousThing Sat 15-Feb-14 21:16:21

I think it depends on the size of the dogs to some extent. We had two old dogs (large breed) and got a pup of the same breed last year, so went from 2 old placid dogs to 3 dogs. Like a previous poster I'd forgotten what a whirlwind puppies were, and she did goad the older two a great deal at first.

I found that the bills were more than I'd expected, but that may have been having a younger dog around- I'd got out of the habit of leaving the older dogs with chews etc as they'd stopped eating the furniture a while ago, so it wasn't just buying a chew for the pup, I had to buy 3 chews each time. And we had to change the dogs sleeping arrangements too, so 3 new beds.

Walking them was actually OK - one of the older dogs was getting past the longer walks anyway and used to potter around the village for 10 mins a day, so it was the other two who went out together. I couldn't have physically walk the three of them together anyway, it would have been 120 kgs of dog pulling me around.

For transport, we managed to fit all three into my car boot, but it wasn't as comfy for them all as just having the two dogs.

Sadly we lost one of our older dogs before Christmas, and I haven't felt the need to get another one yet. Two dogs, especially large breeds, is enough for us. If they'd been smaller breeds, maybe it would be easier.

nuttymutty1 Sat 15-Feb-14 21:20:36

I have 8 dogs (at the moment!) and love having a houseful of dogs but there is a big but, I work with dogs, I have land to exercise the dogs, I have space to give them their own room and I do have a dogmobile to transport the dogs.

All I do is dogs - I socialise with dogs, I work with dogs. I am married with DH and DC's and luckily they also do not realise that there is an alternative to socialising with out dogsgrin. Also very conveniently my DH is a vet - honestly that is not why I married him smile

My business is dogs and if I ever go away without dogs my partner is happy to have the dogs. Most people would run a mile rather than look after all of them so they would have to be split up in various locations.

A large number of dogs are great when all things are smooth but if you have any behavioural problems, or health issues or need to give individual time to one dog it does become a major challenge. Sometimes groups of dogs will not get on and you have to consider if you can keep them separated.

It is quite common for people to find a multi dog household hard work and I have rehomed dogs as clients have had difficulties with multi dogs households. A good book to read is living in a multi dog household

I would find increasing dogs by more than one at a time very difficult as I like to give a lot of time to the new arrival - that would be hard with two at once.

LEMmingaround Sat 15-Feb-14 21:26:13

I did think about a third dog, we have two JRTs and i would never go back to only having one dog now, but i don't think theres room for another personality in the house, if that makes sense. The dogs feel like family members rather than pets, i think if i had four, they would feel like pets.

Scuttlebutter Sat 15-Feb-14 22:10:23

Yes, I agree about hoovers. We have a Miele which I swear by and we ought to take out shares in Yankee Candle. We have a supposedly non-shedding breed (pauses for hysterical laughter) - I can't even begin to imagine four properly hairy beasts.

I agree with Nutty about it working smoothly when all going well, but a pain when one is ill/needs extra attention. One of ours had a non serious (thankfully) condition over Christmas that required trips to the vet three times a week to get a dressing changed. The time this took seriously eroded into my daily routine and resulted in me getting very stressed at what was already a very busy time of the year for the business. Thankfully I work from home so could move things round, but you can't just keep pulling time out of a bottomless pit (much as I wish I could). And even though we've tried to co-ordinate things like vaccinations so we have a family outing to the vet for those, it's amazing how often you go as with four older dogs, something (usually minor) seems to crop up every couple of months. I feel as though I know my lovely vet very, very well!

That would be another top tip - I feel as though our vet is a hugely trusted, respected professional and friend. I'm often saddened on here by the lack of trust and communication with vets - if you've got four, it's vital this relationship works really, really well. Sometimes it's the little things like her willingness to swap appointment times or even to suggest popping in before the surgery is officially open because she knows our daily routine and is trying to be helpful. When she did a tooth extraction recently, she kept the tooth back for me to have a look at because we'd been discussing it at the previous appointment and she knew I'd be interested in the size and structure of the root. I was, and really appreciative of this.

They are family members - we put a lot of effort in to maintain the individual relationships - one of the reasons why I really enjoy going to training class is that 1-to-1 time. It's precious.

Booboostoo Sun 16-Feb-14 07:12:16

I've had 4 dogs in the past and if was fine but I did get them one at a time and the others were at least 1 year old (usually a bit older) when the new pup arrived so everyone else had basic manners. I would be a bit weary about taking two on together and trying to integrate them with your existing two.

The sex of the dogs may be an issue, I had a bossy female and 3 males so that worked really well for us; more than one bitches may be a problem especially with the dogs thrown in for good measure!

Also we live on a farm so I could take all of them for off-lead walks (all had good recalls). Walking on the lead was more difficult, I really needed DP to help and he was not always willing so that was a source of friction, and practicalities like the kind of car we bought were affected. You also need to think about holiday care, we ended up with a house-sitter as we had so many animals it was cheaper overall than boarding all of them.

Finally do think carefully about finances. All costs get multiplied with numerous animals. Simple things like worming and flea treatment cost 4 times as much! I have dogs, cats and horses and my worming costs, for example, are insane!

musicposy Sun 16-Feb-14 19:47:57

These are all such useful replies, thank you.
We've decided that taking on one extra dog is enough and will be better for our two as well.
It's not Sheena, no, though she looks so lovely! We are used to quite small dogs and I don't think our house is really big enough for a dog as big as a lab (though never say never!).

However, Many Tears have put her back to available (sob) as our fence needs improving to 6 foot and also we were on a severe flood warning. I could see that taking on a new, scared dog and risking being evicted is not a good idea so they said speak to them when we had a fence and if the warning was lifted.

The flood warning has been lifted this afternoon yay! DH is also off work tomorrow so I'm going to get him to get fencing if it's in any way possible to do that without a delay and fit it (he did our fence at the bottom of the garden so will be able to do that). I'm really hoping if I phone many tears with the update tomorrow they will put her back on reserve for us - keep your fingers crossed! I'm not going to link to her until she's properly ours and then I will smile

The extra mess, mud, hair - I think I'm prepared for that. Our house is a hairy mud trap as it is with this weather and I already have a Yankee Candle obsession! We have a dog who is meant to only moult twice a year (joins in with Scuttlebutter's hysterical laughter). I don't particularly do Homes and Gardens, our house is more of the practical, lived in nature grin and I can already empathise with the car being a biohazard! We have an amazing vet already who I really trust and who was amazing when Ddog2 was spayed and when she had an allergic reaction to a bee sting (stupid dog has not learnt not to chase bees, mind you). We took Ddog1 recently and she spent ages discussing the pros and cons of having his teeth done at his age - she is brilliant. So that helps. I'm prepared for food/ vet/ vaccination/ flea treatment/ worming costs to rocket too.

Holidays with one extra dog should be OK. We haven't been abroad for years and are happy in the summer to camp in the UK in our lovely huge tent - and campsites rarely seem to care about dog numbers, you just have to pay a little extra for each. In the winter we do travelodge (we're connoisseurs of the luxury holiday, us). They will only take 2 dogs but Ddog1 very rarely comes with us nowadays because he is nearly 12 and gets very stressed in strange hotel rooms or going long distances in the car. My parents live next door and he goes to them instead where they spoil him and he gets on really well with their dog. So I think that's do-able - though not if we took on two.

With walking my current two dogs are amazing and although we always take leads with us just in case, they rarely need them. We are right by fields in the middle of the country so there are no roads to negotiate, only our very quiet housing estate and they know to walk beside me there and not go on gardens. Ddog1 walks to heel automatically and always has - we'd like him to run off a bit more, if anything! Ddog2 has terrier in her and a pretty strong prey drive so we've worked incredibly hard on her recall and continue to do so. If we see sheep within vision she goes on the lead just in case, but with cyclists, runners, cows in adjacent fields (and even fox poo if I am quick to spot her intent grin) she will come back and sit at my feet the minute she is called. So although I may have the odd moments where I have 3 on a lead, I would expect it to be just the new dog most of the time.

We have a Henry hoover but it's not really up to the dog hair as it is. My parents have a miele which they swear by so that might be something to look into. And thank you for the book link, I will order that!

Keep your fingers crossed for us - I think we could be really right for this little dog and she for us thanks

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