Are two dogs better than one? Is one dog easier to take care of? Are two dogs more expensive? Will two dogs be on the same schedule?  Will two puppies be happier than leaving one alone? There are a lot of things to consider when thinking about a second dog. There are also a lot of different scenarios to consider. Let’s examine some of the most common situations that may include the circumstances of your household and what you might be planning to do.

If you have an adult dog and decide to get a puppy

The best way to introduce your first dog and your new puppy is outside of your home in neutral territory. Most often, the adult dog will ignore and/or be annoyed with the new energetic relentless pup. However, after a week or two, you may start to see a wonderful relationship develop between the two. The best situation is when the mature dog is well-trained and the puppy follows suit. It’s OK and beneficial if the adult dog corrects the puppy because that is the best way for the puppy to learn; as long as the correction is not aggressive and neither dog is being injured. If that happens, the pet parent needs to step in. Having the first dog in the home lead the way will get the puppy on a good schedule and help to teach the puppy to go out for bathrooming, (yes I know that’s not a word) walk on a leash, and other basic skills needed to be a “good” dog.

If you have a senior dog and decide to get a puppy

You may experience a similar situation to the above if you have a senior dog who is in good health and physically able to handle the activities of the puppy. Very often the energy of the new puppy will surprisingly energize the older dog and you may witness the clock turn back before your eyes. Isn’t that nice!  Senior dogs with arthritis that experience pain and discomfort may not have the patience to withstand being jumped on, pulled at or bitten by a young puppy.

If you decide to adopt two mature rescued dogs from a shelter

I can only think about how wonderful it would be if you were to save two lives instead of one. If the dogs have spent time together at the shelter, it’s an ideal situation for them to be together in a new home. Dogs that are abused, neglected, or suffer extreme anxiety and/or fear of humans, that would normally retreat or hide, can assimilate into a new home environment better and with reduced stress if they are with another dog.

If you decide to get two puppies at the same time

Here are the pros and cons. Pros first: The puppies have each other for comfort. They may be quiet during the first few nights when a puppy has the hardest time adjusting because they’re not alone. Two puppies will most likely be on the same schedule of eating, going out to bathroom, sleeping, playing, and such, especially if they are littermates or very close to the same age. Leaving two puppies home together is usually easier than leaving one puppy home alone, again because they have each other, which avoids separation anxiety. A huge pro for you is getting double the amount of love and affection and playtime is twice the fun. Not all dogs are guard dogs, but most are watchdogs, and two watchdogs are far better than one.

Here are the cons: Puppies that have each other may not bond as quickly with their pet parents. A puppy usually finds more comfort in another puppy especially a littermate than a human. Two puppies are more work than one; think of twins. Training is more time-consuming and difficult if you have to start by training one dog at a time. It’s almost impossible to separate two puppies that live together and have formed a strong bond.  Veterinary procedures such as spaying or neutering may cause situations where separation can’t be avoided.

Two pups cannot live as cheaply as one. It’s more expensive to have two pups for almost everything, especially veterinarian expenses. Most pet parents have two of almost everything when they have two dogs. Pet parents shop with two dogs in mind when buying leashes, collars, crates, bedding, bowls, toys, car harnesses, food, and treats. Oversharing is not common among dogs. Dog walking, professional training, daycare, boarding, grooming, and any other dog-related service will more expensive. 

I always have more than one dog. Dogs are social and need to be part of a pack. They thrive on companionship and immensely enjoy the bond they form with another dog, even though they consider their pet parents to be pack members as well. There are things dogs can do together that they cannot do with a human. Most important of all to me is that I know they always have each other if I’m not with them.

If you are thinking about bringing home a new addition to your canine family, consider your first dog’s personality, age, sex, size, and health. Ask your veterinarian what they suggest would be a good match.

Tell me about your experience with two puppies or getting a puppy if you have an older dog. Send your photos, please to STORY & PHOTOS.

Thank you.

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