Double trouble – why two puppies is not such a great idea
“My husband and I are looking for two puppies? Are you likely to have any available in the near future? We have had a border collie before.”
What do you think? Is it a good idea? I know lots of people who have two puppies from the same litter. The usual story is that they went to look at one and there was going to be one left, so they got both. Why?
I’m going to say right up front that I was brought up to think this was a bad idea. But let’s look at the pros and cons:
Positive reasons to have two puppies
- Playmates – what could be nicer for the puppies than to have a permanent, same age playmate?
- Easier to leave – puppies are less likely to suffer from separation anxiety if they are with another dog
- Less destructive – you might think that two pups together would ‘wear each other out’ so be less demanding and less destructive
Basically, it is lovely for a puppy to have another puppy to play with all the time, but it does come at a price..
Negatives around having two puppies at once
- Twice the trouble!
- Twice the chewing
- Twice the pooing
- Twice the training
That’s the truth of it – you will have to do twice as much training as with one puppy. When you have two puppies together, they become a ‘unit’ and are totally focused on each other. They rely on each for entertainment and look to each other for support.
To some extent, I have this problem with keeping a puppy when I already have the mother. The pup will become totally fixated on her mum when we are out and it is much harder for me to gain her attention. Fortunately, with Ounce, I had already had this experience, so I spent longer working on training her separately, before taking her out with the pack. I also try to make sure that I do call her to me every day, so that she pays attention to me, rather than to Busy and the other dogs.
When you have two puppies at once, it is essential that you train them separately, so that they learn some level of independence. Also, so that they learn to focus on you, not just on each other.
“They are so full on and it is hard to get them to listen to me. Why are they such hard work?”
Not just as puppies – why two continues to be harder
As they get older, the chewing and the destruction caused by the double trouble should reduce, to some extent. They won’t have been as easy to manage though, so it might take longer to get them into good habits.
However, you will continue to find that they are more than twice the work. If they spend lots of time playing together, they will be really fit and therefore need more exercise! If you want to go to classes, you will need to go to twice as many. Trying to concentrate on more than one dog in a class is extremely demanding – trust me, I’ve tried it!
As they get older, you will find that they both start to have health issues around the same time. You might then be paying out for two lots of health care and health management. Then of course you will have two old dogs at the same time.
Finally, it is much harder for one dog to lose its sibling at an old age, than for a younger dog to lose its older companion. And much harder for you, too.
Please think very carefully before getting two puppies from the same litter? Why do you want to do it? What do you hope to achieve? If you think it will be easier, or that they will keep each other company because you are out all day, then please think again?
If you are buying a dog, start by looking at the What Dog? page, then contact me? Or if you want to breed, read the Dog Breeding Blog and then please CONTACT ME to discuss this, as I may be able to mentor you?
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