If you are considering getting a new dog, you have probably already considered the possibility, at least in the abstract, that two dogs would really not be that much more trouble than one, and of course there are also various merits to keeping two dogs together as well.
Obviously, getting two puppies from the same litter or taking on two young dogs that are already familiar with each other can be rather easier than pairing up two unrelated adult dogs, and adopting or buying even one adult dog comes with a whole range of challenges that you should be aware of.
But if the big brown eyes of all of the very worthy shelter dogs are starting to get to you, or if a dog you are considering seems to already have a close canine pal that is also available, should you consider going two for one with your new household addition?
Read on to learn about the pros and cons of taking on two unrelated adult dogs at once.
Getting two dogs at the same time can go a long way towards providing both dogs with some much-needed canine companionship, and ensure that both dogs always have someone to play with or cuddle up with. If you need to leave your dog alone for a few hours each day, they are exponentially less likely to be lonely or bored with a friend, although this is by no means a free pass to leave your dogs without human company for long periods of time.
If taking on two dogs, even friends, it is important to remember that they will also need to establish their own pecking order with each other, and that one dog will take the top dog role over the other. There might also be some fights and disagreements when they first come home, at what is, of course, already a high-stress situation.
If you do ultimately hope to keep two dogs together, bringing them home at the same time has the added advantage that you can begin their training and management on an even footing, and start as you mean to go on. This can be much easier than bringing a new dog into the home of an established dog, and having to re-work the rules to accommodate for the newcomer.
Housetraining, crate training and what is and is not allowed can be undertaken jointly, but in terms of basic commands and obedience, you will still need to devote double the time that you would with one dog to get both dogs up to scratch. Working on basic training and following commands is very difficult if not impossible to do with two untrained dogs at once, and you should be prepared to devote plenty of one to one time with each dog to bring them up to an adequate level of training and obedience.
While you might assume that bringing two dogs home together will go some way to reducing the stress of bringing them into a new environment as they will have someone familiar already with them, in truth, getting two adult dogs at the same time can increase the stress level of the change.
Each dog will feel differently about their new living situation, take a different view on things, act in different ways and take different amounts of time to settle down; dividing your attention between two dogs going through this process in their own separate ways can prove challenging.
It can prove helpful if you have more than one adult within the family to aid with this and ensure that neither dog is left out, but again, the more people that are involved in the process, the more stimulus, newness and potential challenges will be in play for the dogs to tackle too.
Getting a new dog in the first place is an expensive undertaking, even if you acquire the dog for a nominal fee or for free. You need to factor in expenses such as dog-proofing your home, providing toys, crates, bowls and everything else, and the amount of time you will need to spend with the dog as well. Add in worming, flea treatments, vaccinations, insurance, food, veterinary visits and everything else, and it is certainly true to say that responsible dog ownership is expensive, both at the outset and throughout the dogs’ lives.
When you adopt two dogs, these costs are of course doubled, and there are not really any areas of canine care where keeping two dogs proves to be only slightly more expensive than one, or where you can make a saving over the individual cost of two.
Even if you have enough cash to set up your dogs in the first place, have you run the figures and ensured that you really can take care of both dogs and all of their needs for life? Work this out first, before you make your final decision.