The Pros and Cons of Adopting Two Puppies
Courtesy of Kimberly Gauthier
Are you considering adopting not one, but two puppies? Some shelters don’t allow it, many experts caution against it, but Keep the Tail Wagging pet blogger Kimberly Gauthier did it anyway and is happy she did. Gauthier adopted her Cattle dog mixes Rodrigo and Sydney in 2010 as puppies. Their mom was rescued while pregnant from a hoarding of 200 dogs in Harney County, Oregon. “We're dog lovers and were able to rescue two dogs instead of just one,” she says. “So one more dog made it into a fantastic, happy, safe home, because we adopted siblings.” Here, she shares her views on the pros and cons of adopting two puppies at once.
As you might expect, when you have two puppies they will keep each other company. They’ll play with each other and always have a friend. But be forewarned that this can backfire at times – puppies can be rambunctious when playing together. And even though you’d think they would never experience separation anxiety with each other around, Gauthier found that wasn’t true. “Rodrigo destroyed many dog beds until we were able to find a way to keep him occupied when we were at work,” she says. And besides being buddies, puppy siblings fight, too. Rodrigo and Sydney fought over everything from toys to attention.
Gauthier always planned on having several dogs. She liked the idea that they would go through the puppy years all at once rather than repeating the experience of house breaking, training and so on over and over. That said, she notes that Sydney took twice as long to potty train as Rodrigo.
For Gauthier, training two puppies took longer, and was therefore more costly, than it would have been for a single dog. “With puppies, we had to keep taking breaks to give them play time,” she says. Plus, she discovered that each dog had an individual personality and unique training issues - Rodrigo was more headstrong than Sydney, for example, and therefore needed extra attention in training. “Lots of patience, consistency, and confidence is required with littermates,” she says.
Added Cost and Work
Many experts say that two dogs results in twice the cost and twice the work of just one. However, Gauthier believes anyone who says this is doing the math wrong. She thinks in many cases it’s more than double, but well worth the effort in her case.
“You wouldn’t believe the amount of work I had the first few months,” says Gauthier. She didn’t sleep straight through the night for two months because she had to get up multiple times for potty breaks. Though she says things got easier by the time they were four months old.
Beyond the extra cost for training, she found that more toys were destroyed by the two of them playing together and it was more challenging to find a diet that worked for both dogs.
How to Succeed
One key point is that even though you’re adopting two puppies, it doesn’t mean you always have to spend time with both dogs. In fact, it’s important to spend quality time with each dog individually as well as together for playtime, affection and training time.
Gauthier was a first time dog parent when she adopted her puppies. Adopting sibling puppies may be easier if you already have experience with puppy rearing and training. That way you’ll be better equipped to sense body language and prevent sibling spats, and you may be better able to train the dogs. Today Gauthier has three dogs; she added Blue to her family two years after bringing Rodrigo and Sydney home and they all get along fabulously.