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Pros and Cons of Owning Multiple Dogs

Updated on September 28, 2010
Multidog household:  my Petra, Kaiser and Asso.
Multidog household: my Petra, Kaiser and Asso.

You head towards a breeder to adopt a puppy. Upon seeing the litter a puppy comes straight up to you with its tail wagging. It feels like love at first sight. However, minutes later another pup looks up at you with pleading eyes, almost asking to come home with you. You get mixed feelings and cannot decide between the two. A thought crosses your mind and as much as you try to bury it, it comes back to haunt you: ''What if you come home with two?''

If you are bold enough to talk about it with the breeder, you may get different answers. Backyard breeders will often be trilled about having two puppies adopted at once and in a corner of their mind may think about the nice profit. Reputable breeders. on the other hand, with the dog's well being kept first in mind, may literally discourage you from adopting two because they know how difficult it may be raising two puppies as once.

Having two dogs has many pros and cons. It is important to evaluate them carefully in order to avoid major disappointments and the likeliness of having to re-home one dog after it has tugged to your heartstrings. What to do? The most important thing is to think it over carefully and figure out how much time you have to dedicate to multiples dogs.

Accessories for multiple dog households

Considerations About Adopting Two Litter Mates

If you are dealing with litter mate puppies think things over clearly before making a big commitment. It is best if you go home and think it over rather than driving home with two puppies without getting a feel of how things will be. One puppy can be really hard work and another one will clearly double the trouble. If you work, this may not be something for you. If you will be a ''stay at home mom'' you have to consider how much time and patience you will have.

Litter mate puppies can be adorable but they may not be so when they are growing up into adult dogs. Litter mate pups may suffer from sibling rivalry and if they are same sex dogs, once reached sexual maturity they may turn out acting aggressively towards each other. It is much better choosing a male and female puppy if you are considering adopting litter mates.

Picking up after one puppy can be hard enough, imagine picking up after two. This may mean you will be cleaning up a puddle of pee, while the other puppy is already getting ready to poop. Expect to pick up pee and poop every two -three hours the first weeks. This may be emotionally and physically draining for the most determined ''pet parents''.

Consider also that each puppy must be trained separately in order to ''bloom'' into a separate entity. It is easy for owners to allow the puppies to play together for most of the day with the ultimate result of both bonding together and caring less about their owner. You can see this when you scold one dog for something and it runs up to its litter mate for a game of play. The puppy learns to ignore the owner and finds a ''way out'' by running towards its favorite playmate.

So if raising two puppies at once is so difficult, should you dump the idea of owning a multiple dog household? Not necessarily. It is a much better idea to get one puppy, raise and train it properly and only once it has become adult and gained a good level of trust and bonding to the owner, then consider getting another dog.

Pros and Cons of Multi Dog Households

One of the biggest pros of having multiple dogs is that you get to gain a lot of experience. Watching the dogs interact within a pack can be a great way to learn about dog psychology and the dynamics behind pack mentality. However, you must make the pack well aware of the fact that you are the leader.

Another pro is that your dog will have a playmate for life. This may be a great outlet for pent up energy. You will not have to rely on the dog park or organize play dates with other dogs in order to have your dog romp around. However, socialization with other dogs is still an important process.

One of biggest cons is that if you have to ensure you remain the ultimate leader of the pack. It may be difficult to establish leadership especially when you have more than three dogs. If you fall behind your leadership role, your dogs will take over and you may find yourself dealing with dominant personalities which can also lead to aggression.

At times, some dogs may not get along as much as you try to introduce them properly. Same sex aggression is a big problem that may lead to bloody disputes. You may end up having to separate dogs away from each other for their life or re-home one in desperate cases. This may a difficult situation that can be avoided by thinking things over carefully before getting more than one dog.

Another con is cost. Owning more than one dog can dig a deep hole in your wallet after some time. All dogs need fixed costs including food, shots, de-wormings, flea and tick products, training gear, and grooming supplies. Variable costs include unexpected vet care and the need for special tools such as crates, training books, no-bark collars and so forth.

In order to make sure your dog pack is well cared for you also need to have lots of time on hand. You still must walk the dogs, find time to feed them, train them and interact with them individually. You cannot just allow them to fend for themselves. As a responsible dog owner ,therefore you must ensure you have what it takes in order to take good care of your pack.


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    • profile image

      Ronn Mitchell 

      7 years ago

      I find this article to be very useful.

      I am decidicng to bring home a Great Dane along with a lab, the dane being the dame.

      But I think that the real thing lies in a basic instinct........................

    • ocbill profile image


      9 years ago from hopefully somewhere peaceful and nice

      yeah, it is great watching them interact. what was interesting is we always had a female and male. The female, although bigger being a St. Bernard, always had the last bark (her name was Tasha). I like the unusual names too. It gives a more interesting label.

    • Arthur Fontes profile image

      Arthur Fontes 

      9 years ago from Fall River,MA

      I have two dogs a six year old male GSD and a two year old Chihuahua. When we introduced the puppy to the Shepard he immediately started bringing food and even his water bowl over to the puppy.

      The acceptance was immediate, we were very concerned about this but it has all turned out for the best. It is great to watch them play together.

      You have presented some very useful information to potential dog owners. I enjoyed the hub.


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