Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Pooches: The Multi-dog Household

The other day, Levi had a really good question; they were curious about our experiences adding a second dog to our already smallish 2-bedroom condo. We touched on this a bit while we were crazy enough to have three pitties living with us in our smallish 2-bedroom condo last summer. Besides finding a place to put another crate, we've never really had problems with our big dogs inside our house. We take them on walks to tire them out during the day, and most of the time they just laze around the house:
While most people say having a second dog isn't much harder, I will admit these were some of the major adjustments we had to make:

1) Learning to walk two dogs at once
When we first got Mr. B, I actually had to take the dogs on separate walks, because I just couldn't handle all the excitement and obstacles in our neighborhood. After much training, practice, and separate leash colors, I can now take them on a walk at the same time. Though I still run into some off-leash dogs, ice-patches and unexpected excitement that make these walks difficult.
2) It's harder to find boarding for multiple dogs
Boarding in the city is already expensive; when we were looking at boarding both dogs for a week over Thanksgiving we had quotes of over $900! It was much easier finding someone to watch just one dog, but with multiple dogs we have to figure out creative situations where people might be willing to watch, and walk, one of our dogs.
3) Baths, vet visits, and Heartworm treatments are twice as expensive
Expenses are always bigger with another dog. We made some adjustments, saving elsewhere so compensate. Plus with preventative treatments, and our pet health insurance plan, I feel like we are saving in the long run.
On the other hand, there are so many more benefits to having more dogs that do override the disadvantages.
What does everyone else think? What are some other advantages to having only one dog that we may have missed? What are some of the biggest changes you had to make after getting a second dog? Plus, we know a lot of people with 3+ dogs; how much more of an adjustment do you have to make for more dogs?


Backcountry Brodie said...

Mom always says she could never have just one dog again because she would be the sole source of entertainment and that is too much work - multiple dogs entertain each other. There are 3 of us so all the more entertainment! One thing mom learned is that you should still make it a point to do things individually with each dog every now and then. If you always do everything together they become too dependent on being together all the time and it makes it harder if something happens to one and the other is left behind alone.

Unknown said...

I am still in shock over the $900 boarding quote. I guess living in a small town does have some advantages.We have been a multiple dog household for the past 13 years & could not imagine it any other way. I also agree with Shawnee, having multiple dogs does mean built in entertainment. Until recently we did not have a vehicle that all of the dogs & people could fit into & we had to make multiple trips each time we went hiking or for a swim at the lake. It just would not be fair to leave anyone behind :)

Anonymous said...

I love a two-dog house. It just seems so much more balanced. Our Chick and my parents' dog Tex are best friends, so it's extra fun having them together. It's a little tricky with Lollie because she and Chick are in "tolerate" mode with each other rather than "love" mode, so it's extra work and more often than not we have them in separate parts of the house via baby gate. Still, it's much nicer having her around. Something feels funny about having two humans and just one four-legged critter!

Mack said...

Mom says the biggest problem is the $$$! But I just know we are worth it!

Kari in Alaska said...

we only had one dog for 3 months :) The training with one dog is easier in our experience


The Daily Pip said...

I agree with many of the comments. Before adding another animal it is important to make sure you have the time and money to provide a proper home. It is a big commitment and should be taken very seriously.

By the way, $900! Are you boarding at facilities or having pet sitters come in for walks, etc. I have never heard of boarding being so expensive.

Your pal, Pip

bigalrlz said...

My Dad always said, One Dog or One Kid, at least you always know "Who Did it" when something gets broken. But I could never have only one pup while I know there are homeless babies dying daily at our local shelter :(

Those Elgin Pugs said...

Goodness, when we went from making the transition from our first (Izzy) to our second (Anakin) it was not difficult. But, going from two to three was so taxing at first.
Trying to walk three of them...
(Josie was able to walk 5 years ago)
But we got use to it..

Now we have four.. oh goodness~ Trying to find a good spot on the couch is the most challening ;)

kissa-bull said...

mommish says sometmes in ouw cases we dont get to pick wether we want to add more dogs or not . god just seems to find a way to add them to our pack tee hee

pibble sugars
the pittie pack

Daisy Dog said...

A house with one dog is so much easier, but a home with two (or 3) brings three times the love. I took my first vacations this past year after the passing of Sprocket who had some doggie demenita, partially deaf and blind and I could not find any boarding faciltiy for him, or anyone to stay with him. He was high maintenance and needed to be had feed by hand. He is flying free at the bridge after his second stroke, and I found a great place for Daisy and Roscoe. Yes it is expensive. I also have my nephew living with me now and going to school. I will be taking advantage of that for some trips too, now that we ar back to 3 dogs :)

Anonymous said...

I am dying to get a seond dog but I know it's probably not the right time. So we're waiting until we can afford a new place with a fenced yard in the hope that the second dog and Shiva would have a place in which to wear each other out. Though, if you can have two pit bulls in a small condo...

No. Bad Kristine.

$900 is insane! We have yet to use any boarding facility but that seems a bit much.

Our dog trainer owns 10 dogs. Can you believe that? Ten dogs and two people. Granted, a few of them are chihuahuas but I think she's nuts. A stronger woman than I.

Heather said...

Definitely feeding two dogs is more expensive. And because one dog is on a special (read: expensive) diet, the other has to be as well because it's just too difficult to try to feed them different things. Traveling with two is a little more cramped, too. But other than that, it's not too bad for us. Of course, we have one small dog and one medium dog, which is definitely different than two large dogs.

And by the way, my mom is a traveling pet nanny, and is MUCH cheaper than what you were quoted. Check her out if you are interested: roadrunnerpetnanny dot com.

houndstooth said...

We've found that having four dogs means that two or three can have each other for companionship if we have to take one or two out with us. Going to three dogs was a lot harder than going to two for us. Greyhounds are very used to having others for companionship, and they're very easy to handle. Now, throwing a Shepherd into the mix was a little more challenging, but it has been worth the payoff!

Anonymous said...

I've had up to six large dogs (pits and presas) before - and am actually up to six again right now, though thankfully a few of those are fosters. Travel sucks with more than 2 dogs, the expense is something to consider, and the exercise and training needs are nothing to take lightly either. I have found though, that while going from two dogs to three can be a leap, going from three dogs to more is nothing - so be forewarned. :)

Two French Bulldogs said...

Mom said she wouldn't trade us for a zillion coins but 2 of us is lots of work. My Lily is hyper and I'm kick back. We heard from Mr. Cesar each of us should be walked alone 1 or 2 times a week so we could have our own special time. Mom does that making us feel special. So we agree, 2 of us is a lot different than just one
Benny & Lily

Anonymous said...

Hi there! I'm back. Did you miss me? Did you have a Most Merry Christmas?

Mom says that everybuddy told her that having two dogs wasn't any more trouble than having one. And she BELIEVED THEM! Boy, was she ever surprised...BOL! Of course, it prolly woulda been easier if I had had a normal upbringing and hadn't had so many...ahem..."issues" when I first got adopted. She says the main thing she's found to be harder is going to visit peoples - like over Christmas. When you have one dog the size of Brudder Ranger, peoples don't really seem to mind at all. But with TWO of us (and me being bigger boned), she says she feels more like she's imposing. I pawsonally think that's crazy. I mean, two dogs equals TWICE the luv, right?

Wiggles & Wags,

Kitty+Coco said...

I have two. My first dog was very nervous, and seemed lonely. She was developing more anxieties as time went on, and then I convinced my husband to get a second pup. Coco was the perfect answer to Kitty's anxieties. Kitty found a best friend, sister, playmate, and fellow trouble maker. She is so much happier now that Coco is around, and I wonder what we ever did with just one. Yes, there is a financial committment. I have been tempted to add #3, but I think that would be a MAJOR change. I do worry them if something happens to one. The other will absolutely be lost.

Cate said...

I always notice how good everything looks at your place including your fur babies! We have two cats and are so glad we had the two of them, they play together so well! Happy New Year to you!

Granite State Pet Sitting said...

I would have to say that we don't travel a lot anymore, having 5 dogs, but I can't imagine our lives without our babies.

Also the Vet Bills have gotten expensive having two elderly dogs, they are on prescription diets and two different medicine which are not cheap!

Author said...

Great post! Going from 2 to 3 dogs was our biggest change. At the time, we lived in a small apartment with no yard, so we were forced to leash and walk every time someone needed a bathroom break, and it made house training tricky.

For the longest time, we did 3 dogs and one foster. So 4 total. That wasn't so hard, because by then we had this house and at least they could rip around outside to help lessen the walk load. At one point we went up to 5, but the combo was off and it was WAY too much dog.

Then, back down to only one foster and it was easier. Of course, now we're up to 5 and it is no harder than when we had 3, because the group that we have are good matches in energy and personality.

I certainly don't walk 5 at once, but I do different types of exercise with each one depending on their requirements and abilities (we have a 3 legged dog and one with a leg to be watched).

The ONLY disadvantages to having 5? Number one, the biggie, is that we have no room for a foster, which is hard for me as I like being involved hands on, and the only other is finding someone to watch the dogs if we want to go away. We have 1 selective male Boston, 1 selective female pit bull and 1 food aggressive and resource guarding dog, so I worry about other people managing and walking them...but it makes getting away as a family a bit tricky, because where can you go with 5 dogs in tow?

Great post, its like a support group for multi-dog homes! :)

jen said...

Our home has almost always had more than 1 dog. We currently have 3 and it is a lot of work but I wouldn't have it any other way!
One adjustment that I have had to make is investing in a good vacuum cleaner, one that lasts more than 2 months:)

The Heartbeats said...

Well, it was kinda boring with just me. Then we rescued Lucy and we had tons of boxer fun. THEN we McIver to train. He was fun to have around. Then he went to a home and we got Nikki and then McIver came back so we are at 4 now. It's lotsa fun. Since we work with a service dog organization, boarding isn't TOO much of an issue as they board Nikki and McIver. The biggest problem is running out of seats on the couch!! So we got a new couch!!


Jess said...

I certainly love having a multi-dog household. They keep each other entertained and they're great snuggle buddies. And of course we get quite a kick out of the three-dog wrestling matches on the living room floor. Multiple dogs = more love!

Of Pit Bulls and Patience said...

Adding a second dog is what drove me to blogging in the first place. Really, the logical side of me should have waited until Parker was older and more settled, but I can't imagine Skye succeeding in the average home. I think the hardest part has been training. I don't have the time right now to give them both the amount of training, attention, and exercise they need, so it's always a compromise.

On the plus side, they love each other, and I love them. Everything is twice as fun, and I feel more balanced with my little odd couple. Of course I can't help but think about adding a third. I think finding a dog with the right personality might make things slightly easier... but I may just be lying to myself :D


Mary said...

If we lived in Chicago, we'd happily give Mr. B. and Ms. M. room and board while you were away!

I have found the transition to two dogs pretty easy. Like you mentioned, the biggest challenge is walking them. There is also the fact that now I have TWO dogs that are my shadow and underfoot all the time. Neptune gets excited about things (new to us for a dog!), so little things like wiping his paws and putting on his collar are more challenging. But we just need to work on training with him.

My goal right now is to make sure I'm giving all four animals all the attention they deserve, which can often lead to some guilt if we are busy around the house. I just do my best, though! On the other hand, Levi and Neptune were complete maniacs the other night. It was awesome for Levi to have a playmate. I thought they were going to come through the ceiling above me.

My friend who fostered Neptune has, I think, 12 of her own dogs and she is up to 4 fosters at the moment, two of which are special needs, and one of which is in the Panda, or hospice, program. Not sure how she handles things like feeding and poop clean-up. But she lives in the country, so she doesn't have to worry about walking them all. They wear each other out!

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