The Great Debate: Is it Better to Have One Dog or Multiple?
For all you dog lovers out there, it’s likely that you’ve considered getting multiple dogs. It sounds great: you get double the dog love, and it means that your dogs will have a built-in friend to spend time with while you’re at work, school, or otherwise away from home. However, becoming a successful two-dog family depends on many factors, including the personalities of everyone involved, your financial and living situation, and your level of commitment for effective integration of a new dog into the household.
The Pros of Multiple Dogs
At their core, dogs are social pack animals. They long for the security and leadership that a pack provides, and sometimes humans become their pack in a single-pet household. However, most people today have chaotic, active lifestyles making daily routines difficult to manage, causing dogs to feel anxious.
A second dog can have a major positive impact in your pet’s life and allows both dogs to become a pack and have their own rhythm and routine. Obviously two dogs can also mean twice the love and fun for you, too!
Stress and Anxiety Reduction
Solitary confinement can make a dog unhappy, worried and stressed. If they are left alone for too long they become stir-crazy, which can be a major stimulant for destructive behavior.
A second dog can reduce stress and anxiety, and your dogs will often be more content and at ease when left alone. This will improve their overall well-being, and will also reduce the risk of you having to deal with a destroyed home or a dog bite scenario.
The Cons of Multiple Dogs
Dogs can be expensive, and two dogs is more or less double the cost of one. You will need to account for twice the amount of food, gear, and veterinary care, among many other miscellaneous expenses.
Your dream of having two best friends may not become a reality. Your dogs may just tolerate each other, or at the worst, hate each other. It is instinctual for the dogs to compete to see who is first in the pack order, and it’s normal for dogs to feel territorial around one another. Allow for a meet and greet prior to adopting a new pet by taking them to a large open area on neutral ground. If they don’t take to each other, you might want to reconsider getting another dog.
Twice the Mischief
On the other hand, your dogs could get along splendidly. It’s good to have dogs that enjoy spending time with one another, but be careful that you don’t wind up with a couple of partners in crime. Dogs can encourage each other to get into all sorts of mischief, and if you and your home aren’t prepared for that, it could lead to a bad situation down the road.
New dogs should spend the first few days in a restricted area to get acclimated to their new surroundings. Crate training can definitely help, or you can use a playpen or baby gates to give them access to a select area of your home.
Generally, opposite-sex dogs do better together. However, it can be an issue for them to determine who will be dominant and who will be submissive, and it’s important to make sure that they are spayed and neutered if you are not planning on breeding your dogs.
Having two same-sex dogs can be a huge problem for certain breeds. For example, terriers often continue to attack even after the other dog surrenders. Make sure to do thorough research on dog breeds before making a decision to bring two together.
It is safer to consider a dog of the same breed, but opposite gender as your current dog. Often, larger males and smaller females work well together. Typically, males are inhibited against aggression toward females, and larger dogs are inhibited against aggression toward smaller ones.
Lastly, assess your lifestyle. Do you travel often? Traveling is much easier with one dog than with two. Do you live alone? Do you work long hours? If your dogs need a lot of attention and care, it might not be a good idea for you to adopt them if you cannot give them the attention that they need.
No matter how many dogs you choose to bring into your home, make sure that you cover your dogs with Canine Liability insurance. You never know when a dog could become anxious and lash out, and liability insurance for your dogs will help you to get through that difficult situation as smoothly as possible.
There are many reasons a dog may bite, and it’s not always 100% preventable. In addition to financially protecting dog owners from dog bite claims, our Canine Liability Policy also covers other injuries to people, including scratches and fall injuries caused by dogs and injuries to other animals. Please contact us today for more information at (407) 865-7477, ext. 101.