Author Topic: Multi-dog households: share your tails  (Read 651 times)

hops

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Multi-dog households: share your tails
« on: January 10, 2019, 09:37:01 AM »
After years of waiting for the stars to align, we adopted a dog last spring. She has settled in nicely after a rocky start in life and made us so happy that we'd like to adopt one more. But we aren't sure the timing's right and are slightly jittery about disrupting our current routine.

Since none of our concerns are financial, I assume this is the right place to ask: Do you have more than one dog? Any regrets or recommendations? How long until you felt comfortable leaving them alone together while uncrated? Feel free to share breed details if it's relevant. We have a mega-mutt who is, among other things, parts boxweiler and Australian cattle dog. She's only 40 lbs but very energetic and stubborn.

All we've determined so far is that we'd look for a pup of roughly the same size and energy level as ours. We know that in her foster home she got along with boy and girl dogs of all sizes.

ketchup

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Re: Multi-dog households: share your tails
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2019, 10:25:48 AM »
As long as both dogs are well socialized, you should be fine.  Depending on the age of the dogs, I'd give them a while before leaving them alone (alone meaning you leave the house, not alone they're in the other room) together uncrated just to be safe, but assuming there are no issues (growling, resource guarding, etc.) I'd trust them after only a few weeks.

Frankies Girl

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Re: Multi-dog households: share your tails
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2019, 10:28:15 AM »
I honestly clicked into this thread expecting lots of fluffy dog butts. Much disappointment.

Tales... you mean tales.


hops

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Re: Multi-dog households: share your tails
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2019, 10:43:07 AM »
I honestly clicked into this thread expecting lots of fluffy dog butts. Much disappointment.

Tales... you mean tales.

I should've known, when trying to be cute, that a dog's fluffy butt is always cuter.

Frankies Girl

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Re: Multi-dog households: share your tails
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2019, 10:54:52 AM »
I honestly clicked into this thread expecting lots of fluffy dog butts. Much disappointment.

Tales... you mean tales.

I should've known, when trying to be cute, that a dog's fluffy butt is always cuter.

Well, of course! :D
(the attached is a lovely random photo of dog tushies, because this thread is sadly lacking, and as an apology for the highjack)


FIFoFum

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Re: Multi-dog households: share your tails
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2019, 11:22:29 AM »
I think you are wise to think really hard about why you want to add in another dog to your home. Do you want another dog? Do you think your current dog would be happier with another dog in the home?

I had a dog who was great as the only dog in the home, but had lived with other dogs and enjoyed other dogs. We wound up adopting another dog to be a good playmate and match for that dog & to open our home to another dog. That dog - while very sweet and a great companion for dog #1 - turned out to have much more serious behavioral issues. None of these issues were known to us or visible in his foster home at the rescue (or from his history). This changed everything about our routine. We were no longer able to take dog #1 out to as wide a variety of activities, because dog #2 had more limitations on what he could do and where he could go. Even with tons of training, it never improved to where dog #1 could routinely do the stuff she loved the most.

I've seen less extreme examples of this with the 2 dogs in a household having entirely different needs, so even if they got along ok, bringing in the extra dog was nearly 2x the amount of work. I've seen examples where the dogs didn't really get along and there was more than 2x the work, because of needing to supervise and never leaving the dogs alone in the same space.

And, of course, there are many households where the dogs get along fine and are good doing the same things & everything is fine. With younger dogs or more active dogs, having them to tire one another out IS a real benefit, and many dogs enjoy the company of another dog when the humans are gone (even though they are unlikely to do much of anything together while you're gone).

One idea if you're on the fence is to foster for a bit. There are rescue groups that need fosters for dogs that are ok with other dogs. It'll give you a chance to see how your dog and routine deal with having a new dog around. You also can be "shopping" for a foster that you might keep permanently (known as "foster failure" :) ). Good luck!
« Last Edit: January 10, 2019, 11:24:24 AM by FIFoFum »

NewPerspective

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Re: Multi-dog households: share your tails
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2019, 11:33:25 AM »
We have three.  I feel it is one too many really.

Sheltie
German Shepherd
Chihuahua mix

Everyone gets along and no one has any bad habits really but it is just a lot of .......energy.  They take up a lot of room, they shed a lot, they need your attention, etc., etc.  I really like my house to be clean so just keeping on top of three dogs and the chaos can feel a bit much at times. (Full disclosure we also have cats - I know - insane!).

The sheltie is never crated.  The GSD is sometimes crated (we are trying to leave her uncrated while at work but it is still hit or miss if she will destroy something).  The Chi is locked in our bedroom during the day.

I think two is a perfect number personally. We had one for about a year (the sheltie) after our last GSD passed away and that was actually pretty nice now that I think about it.  The sheltie didn't seem to mind being an only dog.

I know you said finances aren't a concern but we spend a fortune on boarding when we travel.   Actually we spend a lot on our pets in general.  Way more than most MMM people would agree with.

I also second the idea of fostering.  It is a good way to test it out.

FIFoFum

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Re: Multi-dog households: share your tails
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2019, 12:01:09 PM »
I know you said finances aren't a concern but we spend a fortune on boarding when we travel.   Actually we spend a lot on our pets in general.  Way more than most MMM people would agree with.

I agree with this point on costs! When I have 1 dog of regular behavior, I can usually find a friend to watch my dog when I travel if I need to (sharing petsitting is a big way to save costs). In general, it's easy to get a person to take on 1 dog to help you. When there are multiple, I've had to pay for professional boarding or housesitting or whatever works.

You may have family nearby that makes this not an issue. But it has been a significant cost difference for me.

SunnyDays

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Re: Multi-dog households: share your tails
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2019, 01:37:54 PM »
I've had a mixed breed (Shepherd/Collie) for 3 years and she loves to play with other dogs.  Although she's on the lower energy side, you would swear there is a serious fight going on when she gets together with the neighbour's dog, she's that intense about play!  Because she only has 2 cat brothers otherwise, I took on a roommate who has a Golden Retriever, thinking she would like a live-in playmate.  NOT!  She basically ignores him and is a bit jealous of any attention I give him.  She seems to prefer to be an only dog.  So, if you can, I would recommend "borrowing" a dog in some capacity before you adopt another or even foster, because foster dogs often have issues that need a lot of attention.  Once this roommate leaves in about 6 months, she'll be back to being the only dog and I'll leave it at that.  Play dates only.

nessness

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Re: Multi-dog households: share your tails
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2019, 01:54:27 PM »
We have three dogs and, while the third dog is arguably my favorite, I agree with @NewPerspective that it is one dog too many. Sometimes they all just laze around the house together, but other times they're all running up and down the stairs together, or worse, wrestling incessantly, and it drives me nuts. You'll have some of that with two dogs, but in my experience way less.

I got my first dog as a puppy, then six months later got another puppy, so my first two dogs basically grew up together and are BFFs. They share a crate at their insistence. They do fight occasionally - not enough to hurt each other but enough to make a lot of noise and terrify my kids. But overall I'm glad we got a second dog.

SheWhoWalksAtLunch

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Re: Multi-dog households: share your tails
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2019, 02:19:29 PM »
We're currently down to one dog, but I've been a multi-dog owner most of my life.  I second the recommendation of a trial run, maybe pet sitting for a friend, before you commit to starting a pack.  There's a lot to consider.

What most humans aren't really aware of is that the addition of a new dog to your home is the creation of a pack structure for the dog.  In their minds they're kind of like co-workers and there's an adjustment period where everyone is thrown into a power struggle for dominance.  We can't explain to dogs why we're suddenly bringing a new dog into the household and you can expect to see even the best behaved "original" dog to backslide on behaviors when you suddenly "open your relationship" and start to divide your attention between them and the "new girl". 

It can be great fun to have a pack (I for one, loved those years), but to be successful, you suddenly have to become very involved in your dogs inner lives.  As for the three is too many comments, they're right, that's the tipping point when your pack really becomes a PACK and suddenly you can be outvoted and even kicked out as leader if you're not paying attention.


hops

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Re: Multi-dog households: share your tails
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2019, 05:04:05 PM »
Thanks so much to everyone who has weighed in! All of you have given us stuff to think about. Those of you who've had more than two are crazy, brave, or both. Any more than two and I'm pretty sure I'd end up in a crate while they help themselves to my dinner.

I think you are wise to think really hard about why you want to add in another dog to your home. Do you want another dog? Do you think your current dog would be happier with another dog in the home?

Both. We think we have enough love and other resources to give another dog a happy home, and we think our current dog gets a little lonely sometimes. We have two cats that she really wants to be friends with, and one is receptive in bursts but the other thinks she's a philistine. She has tried to befriend the neighbor's dog, who's a bit too aggressive for my liking and lacks our dog's silly streak.

As much as I think she'd enjoy the company of another pup, I worry about the period of adjustment that she SheWhoWalks mentioned. She has thrived as an only dog. She was one of six in her foster home and having our undivided attention thrills her. Then again, she's 14 months old. A leaf blowing in the wind, or the sound of a freezer bag opening, is almost unbearably exciting to her.

She currently accompanies me to work (we're typically alone together all day) and it works pretty well, which complicates things since the goal would be for her to eventually stay home with a second dog instead. That would be a big transition. There's a chance I'll be working from home next year, which might present the best opportunity for expanding the brood. But her trainer recommended adopting sooner than that if possible since she's still in full possession of her foster home manners.

I know you said finances aren't a concern but we spend a fortune on boarding when we travel.   Actually we spend a lot on our pets in general.  Way more than most MMM people would agree with.

That's good to keep in mind about boarding costs. It's something we could afford, though it would be great to have two that my parents or siblings could keep up with while we're out of town. My in-laws adopted a second dog impulsively and have found it cramps their travel style because the second dog's kind of a jerk, unlike the first, and wore out his welcome with their friends.

I love the fostering suggestion. It seems like it would be very rewarding, but my wife's worried it would be difficult to let go. Her pragmatic side would agree it's a low-risk way to get a sense of whether we're cut out for double-dog duty while helping a dog in need. If she has a change of heart, I'm definitely up for it.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2019, 05:06:54 PM by hops »

GreenEggs

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Re: Multi-dog households: share your tails
« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2019, 08:07:51 AM »
I know you said finances aren't a concern but we spend a fortune on boarding when we travel.   Actually we spend a lot on our pets in general.  Way more than most MMM people would agree with.

I agree with this point on costs! When I have 1 dog of regular behavior, I can usually find a friend to watch my dog when I travel if I need to (sharing petsitting is a big way to save costs). In general, it's easy to get a person to take on 1 dog to help you. When there are multiple, I've had to pay for professional boarding or housesitting or whatever works.

You may have family nearby that makes this not an issue. But it has been a significant cost difference for me.


Ditto.


We live out in the country & have had 2 dogs for many years.  The could run free without worry, and we could travel for a few days & just leave extra food & water for them.  Now they're old (15 years) and we've been having to spend a lot of time in the city helping with family matters.  The city house doesn't have a fenced yard, so we have to walk them multiple times per day.  We also added a cute little 8 lb lap-dog to the crew about 3 years ago, so there are 3 dogs total.
One of the old dogs has teeth/gum problems and the other seems to be losing her eyesight and/or getting dementia. 


3 is too many. 


Having 2 the same age means you eventually end up with 2 old dogs. 


I'm "done" with it, but they're a little too healthy to put to sleep, so I keep feeding, walking, and paying vet bills. 


So, IMO one dog is good.  Two are plenty.  Three is too many. 


BTW, there's good money in dog sitting & walking if you're looking for a side gig. 

snacky

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Re: Multi-dog households: share your tails
« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2019, 08:19:45 AM »
I have found that having one dog means that dog is dependent on its people for all it's emotional, social, and recreational needs. Having two means they like having you around, but also are fine without you. Very often instead of walking my two I leave them in the yard, where they play until exhausted.

Three is more mess and chaos than most people want.

Slow&Steady

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Re: Multi-dog households: share your tails
« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2019, 08:42:55 AM »
I have found that having one dog means that dog is dependent on its people for all it's emotional, social, and recreational needs. Having two means they like having you around, but also are fine without you. Very often instead of walking my two I leave them in the yard, where they play until exhausted.

Three is more mess and chaos than most people want.

We currently have 4 dogs and I couldn't agree with this more... +1000.

All of our furbabies were adopted from a shelter and are larger outdoor breeds.  When it was just me and SO 4 was fine and we had plenty of time to devote to them, now that there are little humans in the mix I feel like the dogs do not get as much attention as they would like.  Two of our furbabies are 12 years old and will probably start decline here pretty soon.  We will not be a more than 2 dogs at a time household again after that.

iris lily

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Re: Multi-dog households: share your tails
« Reply #15 on: January 11, 2019, 11:51:31 AM »
When you have 3 dogs they act like a pack. If you are a strong pack leader, ok. If not , you are in trouble. Because there will be squabbling of various intensity. Two dogs arent bad.

We have had bulldogs and French bulldogs since 1993, and we favor older dogs. We foster rescue dogs. We have had 30 dogs thru our house in those 25 years, rescue dogs and our own dogs.

In bulldog rescue, we do not place a female with another female. Eventually they will come to blows. The boys seem to be ok together IF ( and it is a big IF) they are not dog aggressive to begin with.

We have had so many combinations including 7 Frenchies all at once, a rescue situation.lots of fighting with those little bitches!
« Last Edit: January 11, 2019, 11:56:25 AM by iris lily »

NewPerspective

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Re: Multi-dog households: share your tails
« Reply #16 on: January 11, 2019, 12:02:45 PM »
Regarding the pack conversation.  Just speaking for myself, I don't feel like three is too many because of pack issues.  For me it just about the general maintenance and upkeep.

For whatever reason my three don't play with each other (not sure why that is exactly, age, size difference, who knows), but they get along great.  There is no squabbling or resource guarding etc.  I will say I'm very "hands on" with the dogs and when I'm home they are always supervised (never just put out the backyard by themselves for example).   But I don't feel like it has been difficult to manage them from a pack perspective.  Or at least it isn't something that I have to think about.  Although, all of the dogs have good basic obedience foundations, so maybe that helps.

Over the years we have fostered dogs (when we "only" had two).  The only time I felt uneasy was when we fostered a dog with resource guarding issues.  That is not something I would want to deal with on an ongoing basis.


MasterStache

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Re: Multi-dog households: share your tails
« Reply #17 on: January 11, 2019, 12:16:59 PM »
We have 2 dogs (and 2 cats). Unfortunately all are on some kind of medication. We travel a lot more than we used to as well. We have to board the dogs every time we travel. Between the medication and boarding, our pets are very expensive. We've decided having 1 small dog in the future is probably going to be best. 

hops

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Re: Multi-dog households: share your tails
« Reply #18 on: January 12, 2019, 02:19:04 PM »
I have found that having one dog means that dog is dependent on its people for all it's emotional, social, and recreational needs. Having two means they like having you around, but also are fine without you.

That's a good summation of why we're thinking of adding a second. The trick seems to be finding the right second. It's been a non-issue for most of our friends and family, whose dogs were either fast friends or at least reasonably respectful of each other. My in-laws with the second dog who's a PITA are navigating a minefield now because Dog #2 is a jerk to Dog #1. Fostering would indeed be a great way to test their compatibility beforehand.

Having 2 the same age means you eventually end up with 2 old dogs. 

That's a good point that we'd completely overlooked even though we lived through that exact scenario with our childhood pets. The dog we most strongly considered arranging a meet and greet with is just a couple months younger than our current dog, which is great now but could present more challenges later.

oldladystache

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Re: Multi-dog households: share your tails
« Reply #19 on: January 12, 2019, 02:53:11 PM »
For many years we alternated between 2 and 3 dogs. Tried to have them aged about 6 years apart so when we lost the 13 year old we'd get a new 2 year old. It almost always worked well. In those days husband and I agreed 3 dogs was too many and 2 wasn't enough.

Later I went into fostering and dogsitting. I found 6 to be the maximum number of dogs to have at the same time. Whenever I'd introduce a 7th dog bad things would happen. Squabbles between dogs that had been friends for years. Once I realized that I kept to a limit of 6 and it was always peaceful. I never figured out what made the difference and I didn't really care.

I felt comfortable leaving them unsupervised once I had seen them getting along with no issues for 24 hours.

Edit to add:
Now that I'm in a retirement community I can only have one small dog. That works for me.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2019, 02:55:06 PM by oldladystache »