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Going from two dogs to three

(29 Posts)
NoBetterName Sun 12-Feb-17 16:46:04

We have two dogs who are well established in the house. Ddog2 is very elderly and has had a rough life previously. However, she's very placid and never actually complains about anything. In addition, we had a young foster dog come to us before Christmas from a reputable UK rescue and he find his "forever" home shortly after Christmas. The only problem is that his "forever" home lasted less than a week and he's now back with us. Ddog2 seemed happy enough to have him back (though we have no idea if this is her just going along with things). Ddog1 was less impressed at him being returned, but now seems to have re-bonded with him too.

He's a lovely dog and the longer he's with us, the more attached to him we become. We are considering adopting him ourselves. However, going from two dogs to three as a "permanent" move (as opposed to only foster) seems like a massive leap. Walking three is more difficult than walking two, there will be more expenses associated with three than with two, we'll potentially need a larger car, holidays will be more difficult (though dogs always come with us on holiday, never into kennels).

Would it be complete madness to actually commit to this? For those with three or more dogs, do you sometimes only take one or two or your dogs with you when you go out, or do you take all dogs every time? Gah, it's so difficult to decide what to do!

Ta very much for any advice flowers

Blackfellpony Sun 12-Feb-17 16:56:01

I don't think it's the number as such (as long as can afford it!) but more how well the dogs work together and in the home.

What I mean is 3 dogs of similar personality and a reasonable level of training and probably easier than two with different needs.

We had 3 well trained ones and it was lovely, however when I had two well trained and a crazy one it was way way too much to handle. I would say 3 was difficult training wise. I found walking 3 much harder, it's restricting, lots of places won't let you stay with 3 etc but I am too soft and would probably keep him too smile

Wolfiefan Sun 12-Feb-17 16:57:52

Won't you have to walk older dog separately?
I have a friend who's off this week to stay on holiday with her three dogs.

Blackbird82 Sun 12-Feb-17 17:03:01

Ah just got for it grin

I have five dogs and it's actually fine but I do have my own land which makes things extremely easy in terms of their exercise. But, it wasn't always that way and prior to having the land, yes it was very stressful at times!

I think you would easily cope with three and they sound as though they all get along which is great.

DeadZed Sun 12-Feb-17 17:10:11

We have gone from two to three dogs last year and I do think it is a struggle. Dog3 is a bonkers puppy and adding him go the family highlighted how poorly trained our two older dogs were. I struggle to walk all three together although I am getting better. I think it does depend on their personality its though.

As for taking them out separately I do it to make sure they don't become dependent on each other. The puppy especially doesn't like being on his own so it is good practice for him.

dalmatianmad Sun 12-Feb-17 17:10:36

What a shame his home failed, any idea why that happened?

He sounds lovely and settled at yours, I think you should keep him!

You clearly manage with 3 so it won't be that different, I think it's just accepting that it's permanent.....

NoBetterName Sun 12-Feb-17 17:12:21

Not really, Wolfie, Ddog1 and 2 have excellent recall and in daylight will usually come off the lead. This means Ddog1 usually spends the walk chasing squirrels, whilst ddog2 just potters alongside us at a much slower pace. Both are under control. Atm, ddog3 doesn't get let off the lead because he is a foster and it's not allowed as part of his contract. We tend to walk all three with either 2 adults, or 1 adult plus ds1 to help out (who's a very mature 12 years old). On the odd occasion there's only 1 adult and no ds1, we walk the three as a pair, then a pair again (Ddog1 getting two walks).

Ddog3 does need quite some training yet, but this is do-able, I believe as he's keen to learn and follows the examples of the other two.

NoBetterName Sun 12-Feb-17 17:24:43

DeadZed, do you manage to walk all three together? I'm wondering about random walks in the summer with dc and whether it becomes necessary to choose only one or two dogs to take.

NoBetterName Sun 12-Feb-17 18:23:44

Dalmatian, it was nothing to do with him as much, more that he didn't get on with the (two) existing dogs in their family.

Wolfiefan Sun 12-Feb-17 18:26:54

Can't see why it won't work! I was thinking of elderly and maybe arthritic dog unable to keep up!
You sound lovely. Hoping he's landed all four paws in his forever home! grin

NoBetterName Sun 12-Feb-17 18:36:33

Thank-you! <<Shuffles away all embarrassed>>

To be honest, our elderly girl is slightly arthritic, but she tends to just potter along with us (making sure every blade of grass is well and truly sniffed). Ddog1 and 3 are the same breed and ddog2 is a related breed, but none are massively high-energy - they are sighthounds, so sprinters, rather than long distance runners and even Ddog1, once he's had a brief run, is happy to potter.

TrionicLettuce Sun 12-Feb-17 18:56:43

I've currently got four and for me the biggest jump was going from one to two, after that it never felt as much of a big deal!!

Three of mine are whippets and the fourth is a vaguely lurchery mongrely thing. I tend to walk the three whippets together and don't find it much of a bother, in fact they do a fabulous job of playing chase and wearing each other out grin

Four is a bit of a step too far to walk alone, although I'm not sure how much of that is to do with the numbers and how much is to do with DDog2 (the non-whippet) being a bit bonkers.

When DH does the walking he prefers to take them out in pairs rather than a three and a one like I do, but then I do the vast majority of walking and training so I find them easier to manage as a group.

As DeadZed says it's a good idea to mix it up a bit when it comes to walking (something I'm guilty of not doing as much as I should) so they don't get too used to only ever being walked altogether.

Scuttlebutter Sun 12-Feb-17 19:50:40

In the past, we've had four, and last year we went from two back up to three .
You are right to consider the practicalities such as the expense, extra cleaning and bigger vehicle. These are all very real issues and shouldn't be ignored. I couldn't believe the difference for instance when we lost two last year, in cleaning the house and comparatively how little dog food we were getting through.

Assuming you've done your homework and the figures stack up for the extra cost, I'd say walking three is certainly doable. Our new boy is a huge bouncy lad (incredibly sweet though), plus we have elderly greyhound girl and adorable small lurcher. I comfortably walk all three single handed - it helps that none of them are dog reactive, and the two girls have absolutely immaculate loose lead walking. Our new boy is still not perfect but in fairness he's almost there (just gets a bit excited when his lurcher sister goes haring off after squirrels) - generally, his lead walking is excellent.

I was ambivalent about getting him initially as I loved how easy it was having two (after having four, including a very reactive hound with all the work that involved), but one of the factors that swung me was that our darling oldie is now thirteen and a half so it's likely we have a limited time left with her, and we knew we would never have little lurcher as an only dog. Getting a dog who she could bond with seemed sensible and I've also been delighted at how well our lovely oldie has got on with our new arrival.

I do individual training with lurcher particularly (we do Rally together) and DH said when new boy arrived, that he wanted to be responsible for the majority of the training. I was fine with that, but my two red lines were that he HAD to have good loose lead walking and reliable recall. I don't mind if he teaches him to samba on a unicycle but those are non negotiable since I do a lot of the walking in the week when DH is working away.

I think in conclusion it's certainly doable (and not that much extra effort from having two) and if you have an oldie in the mix, it's likely you won't be a three dog family for ever in any case (I'm sorry if this sounds a bit blunt).

NoBetterName Sun 12-Feb-17 20:27:44

Thanks for all the input. The idea of mixing them up when walking is interesting because with two, they've just always been walked together.

Then of course you are right, Scuttle, we don't know how long we'll have our elderly girl. Last year we thought we were likely to lose her when she had investigations for low white blood cells and the vet started muttering about bone cancer, but she seems fine now and the vet no longer seems concerned.

Our two are mostly good with loose lead walking (but far from excellent), but our foster is still a work in progress with that. He is reactive on the lead, but I don't believe it's insurmountable, Ddog1 was fear aggressive for a long time, but is now very good. I think our foster has not been well socialised, but he's young (not a pup, but young enough to learn).

Lots of food for thought though. Thank you.

user1468957349 Sun 12-Feb-17 21:25:15

I've had 3 for a long time (sadly lost my elderly lurcher a couple of months ago though) and never an issue. Always walk them all together and to be honest they walk better together as a pack than separately because they establish an order and a routine. As long as all the dogs get on I don't think there is a massive difference between 2 and 3 in my personal experience x

DeadZed Sun 12-Feb-17 21:40:53

I think my two older dogs are very used to being together ( both whippets) and new dog is a different breed which does make a difference. They are learning to walk together but one of my whippets has started pulling so I've had to take him seperately and do some training as well as training puppy. The puppy is actually getting better in the lead but putting the three together is still quite hard work. They do get along though at home which makes things so much easier.

When the dc are off school we go in the woods for walks or I make the older dc (age 13) walk one dog to help out. Off course the dogs are always better after a run in the woods and behave better as a consequence.

NoBetterName Sun 12-Feb-17 22:17:07

Isn't it ironic that everyone that has come on here with three or more dogs has pointy-dogs of some description? (At least everyone who has specified a breed) grin

Scuttlebutter Sun 12-Feb-17 23:02:04

They are very addictive. blush And it all started getting multi-hound for us when we started fostering..... grin Found we were not very good at the giving them up bit...

Just to add though, it's really worth investing in the time for one of the family to take new boy to classes - definitely an investment that repays in so many ways.

DeadZed Mon 13-Feb-17 06:16:58

Hmm, yes pointy dogs are rather addictive aren't they? grin

NoBetterName Mon 13-Feb-17 09:12:48

Thanks. Yes, we planned to take the new boy to classes, the was a very good one I took Ddog1 and 2 to. I was also going to ask if she'd let ddog1 go again, but this time with ds1. The new boy is quite intelligent (for a whippet) and might even (later) enjoy agility or similar, but first we need to work on his basic training, manners and socialisation.

user1468957349 Mon 13-Feb-17 09:26:44

So have you officially decided to make the leap from 2 - 3?? grin

NoBetterName Mon 13-Feb-17 10:47:29

Not yet, I'm still dithering grin. He's not going to leave is he?

user1468957349 Mon 13-Feb-17 10:52:30

It doesn't sound like it ... 😂

MardAsSnails Mon 13-Feb-17 11:06:37

We had OldGirl, who is now 12 and a lovely little thing 27kgs of little when we acquired YoungGirl, who is a maniac and around 3 years old

YellowDog turned up last year, as the laziest old bastard ever. All he does is sleep and be yellow. he's awesome

It's taken some getting used to. Yes, we have 3 dogs with issues therefore 3 lots of vet bills, and all separate special diets so lots of food costs.

Walkies was 'fun' at first. YellowDog had never walked on a lead despite being 8, YoungGirl still twirls around and drags us around, and only OldGirl is well behaved. We've now got into routine with Yellow and OldGirl walking together, with YoungGirl getting solo walkies most of the time. For 'big walkies' whee DH does 20-odd km hikes, Okd and Young girls go together and me and YellowDog go for a potter around. There's no way we would manage to walk the 3 together with one human - they are a combined 92kg with one being badly behaved so if she decided to run, we'd be knackered cos YellowDog wouldn't keep up

Feeding time is also fun, as it's the only time YellowDog gets hyper fat bastard. They all eat in separate rooms.

We thankfully have a big enough car for me and DH in the front, girls in the boot, Yellow on back seat. Thankfully no small people to consider.

For us, it's therefore added an extra 2.5 ish hours a day to dog duties, but between 3 of us that's fine (me, DH and dog walker)

Oh yes and extra daycare when needed, and extra boarding when needed.

I'd prefer not to have 3 dogs, but I'm glad I got my yellow cuddle monster grin

NoBetterName Mon 13-Feb-17 22:03:36

Mard, 2.5 hrs per day! Wow.

We've got dinner time sorted by feeding dogs 1 and 2 first and leaving dog 3 behind the stair-gate. He accepts this quite happily now and he gets fed straight after 1 and 2 are finished. We tried feeding them together but dog 3 would steal the old girl's food, so we had to put a stop to it. As it was, she had to be hand-fed the first week he was here, but she knows now that he won't be allowed to steal from her and she's more relaxed around him. I'm quite enjoying seeing how the dynamics between the three of them changes though as they establish themselves.

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