One Dog--Kelly (now 13)
1. gets all the love and attention
2. food and vet bills x1
3. no worries about getting along with others
4. fairly easy to bring along
5. sometimes seems lonely. Is she missing out on playing with others? Or is that just a guilty human emotion I'm pinning on my dog?
6. Days are easy. I know her routine. I know her likes and dislikes. I can come and go and know what she needs. Ahhhhhh.
Two Dogs--adding 8 year old IKE
1. lots of jealousy issues.When I pat Ike, Kelly comes running over for attention. Kelly doesn't like Ike playing with toys.
2. need for supervision- what will happen when I give Ike a toy? who will get to sleep in what bed?
3. need to separate during feeding--at first this was the biggest point of contention.
4. walking became a bit more difficult. It's easier when my husband can come along and walk one dog while I walk the other. This becomes a nice family bonding time.
5. food and vet bills x2.
6. Finally we've gotten to the point where the two of them like each other. I never thought it would happen. Kelly licks Ike's face. They exist together nicely. No fighting. Ike can even walk up to her food bowl while she's eating and she doesn't growl at all. She knows she can trust him. And Ike is dependable at deferring to her bossy butt every time. I can leave them home alone when I have to go out with no worries. Ahhhhh.
7. But...Kelly and Ike don't really play. Sometimes Ike initiates play and Kelly tries a little bit, but she's not used to this play thing and it bothers her. After a few seconds, she walks away and the play is over. Clearly Kelly (especially now that she's a senior) is not missing playtime. But now that I know that Ike wants to play, is he missing having a playmate??
Three Dogs--enter 8 week old puppy Zeke
granted, Zeke is my son's puppy and my son is a young adult with his own apartment. But I babysit Zeke 9-5 every day, and adding a third, albeit part time, dog to our pack has been a challenge!
1. Three is an odd number. Kelly and Ike had things worked out, now everyone has to work out how they all interact together and in various groups.
2. I only have two hands. Three dogs. Walking with a puppy, a medium sized dog and a large dog, all of different ages and energy levels, is a challenge. Again, when my husband can join in, the challenge becomes a lovely family pack time.
3. Remember Kelly doesn't like to play? Well Zeke does! A lot. Attempts to engage Kelly in play have been less than successful.
4. And while we're on the topic of play, I do not like bitey face. At all. Ike is extremely gentle with Zeke, but still, watching them bitey bitey bitey is tough. It does not look like a fun game. Every once in awhile I separate them because I worry it will go too far. I'm not worried about Zeke. He is bold and tough. I worry that as Zeke grows bigger, he'll be too much for old Ike, who is gentle and laid back. For now I monitor the game and if it seems like either one is getting carried away or has had too much, I give a time out.
5. Fortunately, in my case, Zeke is my son's dog so I don't have food and vet bills x3. yay!
6. Kelly gets anxious at times, but I give her a quiet place with a nice Kong. Is she suffering? I don't think so. She's learning that she can be the queen, and sometimes you have to deal with visits from loud, rude, obnoxious relatives.
7. Ike loves having a playmate. He seems younger with Zeke around. But he's also picking up on Zeke's puppy bad habits--getting into things he's not supposed to. Chewing on things he's not supposed to. Digging in the yard.
8. I'm tired. I'm waking up early, I'm always on guard, always supervising. And I expect I will be for some time as Zeke grows and changes and his hormones kick in, etc. I'm not getting much work done, and I work full time from home! But is this the best thing for Zeke? Without a doubt. He has company while his dad's at work all day, he has friends to play with, and even a bossy girl Kelly to keep him in line!
Whenever I had just one dog, I worried that she'd want a friend. I think in many situations, two can be great pals. Especially if you have a big fenced yard where they can run together, and have room to be apart as well. If they're left home, it's probably nice to have another dog there to keep them company. I don't think there's a right or a wrong way. Each dog is different. But I'm thinking, when the time is right, I'd go back to just one dog.