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Two dogs versus one!

September 16th, 2006, 08:07 PM
Hi Everyone.

My 15 year old Shih Tzu, Tasha recently passed away and I swore I would never get another one, since losing her was so very difficult, however I am seriously reconsidering that decision. I really miss having a dog around the house. Since Tasha was my first and only pet, I always thought it must have have been lonely for her staying by herself when I went out, and wanted to get your opinions on having two dogs as opposed to having just one.

I have heard varying opinions about two dogs. Some people say that if you have two they bond to each other and not so much to you, but I don't know if this is true or not. I'm sure many of you have more than one dog and could give me some ideas on this issue.

Some things I'd love some input on.

1. What are your opinions on having 2 dogs in order for them to keep each other company when you're not around?

2. Will the dogs bond to each other and not you?

3. If you do get two dogs is it better to get two puppies at the same time, or is it better to get one puppy, train that one and then bring another one into the home, perhaps a year or two later?

4. I vaguely remember training Tasha, but that was 15 years ago. How difficult is it to train two at the same time? If I do get another dog or two I will definitely be looking at Shih Tzus only.

Any other pros or cons you could think of on this issue would definitely give me lots to think about. I would love your input.

Thanks and glad to be here. Linda

September 16th, 2006, 09:21 PM
I'm sorry for your loss Linda. It's good to hear that you have recovered enough to start thinking about bringing another furrkid into your life.

I have two sister doggies whom I have had since they were wee nothings. They fought ALOT and still occasionally get into a fuss. Training two puppies at the same time is VERY difficult. Not only do my grrrls have very different personalities but they learn at different rates and by different means. Establishing my position as "pack leader" is an ongoing battle with the alpha of the two as her sister consistently defers to her and if Bridie thinks I'm not doing a good enough job at correcting Ceili she'll "jump in". It also means twice the Vet bills, twice the grooming and in my case because Ceili has mobility/health issues, twice the walking (well, actually thrice ~ I have three doggies...:crazy: ) With that said they ARE good playmates and companions for one another for the most part and they are VERY protective of one another. They both bring me joy in very different ways and I can't imagine life without the two of them. So there you have it ~ a mixed review!

September 16th, 2006, 09:31 PM
It's too bad you do not live in Sudbury. I have someone who has 2 male Shih Tzus to give away. his wife died and he no longer wants these babies. One is 4 and the other 8. Healthy and friendly. Sighhhhhhhhh I wish we did not have a 2 dog limit here.

September 16th, 2006, 09:39 PM
Thank you for your condolences and your reply MUMMUMMUM. You weren't kidding when you said it was a mixed review. :)

I had a feeling training two puppies at the same time would be quite a challenge, and I have been giving a lot of thought to what would happen if I happened to get two dogs with very different personalities. I don't know how you manage with 3 doggies in the house. It must be fun, but I think 3 would be more than I could handle.

I would love to have a couple of dogs, but the more I think about it, it looks like one will be more my speed. :dog:

I guess there will be more contemplation ahead before I finally make my decision. Thanks again for your input. Linda.

September 16th, 2006, 09:39 PM
I've had up to 5 dogs at a time but for the last 15 years, only one. I would say it depends what you want from the dog and how bonded to you you want them.
Certainly if left alone for long periods, and the dogs get along which is not a given, then two will be company for each other. That means they won't be as dependant on you for company. For myself, now, I want a dog to turn towards me... but then, I am retired and spend most days all day with my dog.

As to training, I would agree with the previous post. Training two at the same time is twice as difficult, takes twice the length of time and twice the costs. If you work, think carefully if you have the time to invest.

September 16th, 2006, 09:40 PM
1. What are your opinions on having 2 dogs in order for them to keep each other company when you're not around?
The dogs have to get along first. You can't just throw any two dogs together and expect them to get along. They have to have a real connection first. In my experience, they either love each other right away or don't. When they don't they can grow to tolerate each other, but don't really keep each other company.

2. Will the dogs bond to each other and not you?
Not really bond so much as PLOT. You get a two peas in a pod thing happening. If you are the alpha of your home, they should still have a strong bond with you, even if they get up to no good together. :D

3. If you do get two dogs is it better to get two puppies at the same time, or is it better to get one puppy, train that one and then bring another one into the home, perhaps a year or two later?
Definitely train the first one first. Two puppies are HARD work and it's very hard to train them when you have two ADD dogs together to distract each other. The more obedient and trained the first doggy is, the better. Sometimes you get competition between them to see who is the better dog, and they push each other, which you wouldn't have if they were both completely untrained.

4. I vaguely remember training Tasha, but that was 15 years ago. How difficult is it to train two at the same time? If I do get another dog or two I will definitely be looking at Shih Tzus only.
Like I said in #3, go through it with one first and then add another. Be sure to socialize the first like crazy so when the time comes, the resident dog accepts another dog around. I also prefer the girl/boy dynamic. You get less dominance issues, IMO and it just goes more smoothly (in general.. not always).

My two do-no-gooders :D

September 16th, 2006, 09:57 PM
Shaykeija. Too bad these weren't two females as I might have been interested. And I didn't realize there were limits in Canada as to the number of dogs you could have. With all the abandoned animals living in shelters you would think it would be better to adopt them out to loving homes who are willing to care for them.

Sounds like you would love to take in these two wee doggies and give them a good home. Hopefully they will find a forever home soon.

September 16th, 2006, 10:00 PM
The limits usually go by city. You just have to check the bylaws where you live.:)

September 16th, 2006, 10:03 PM
Suzan, what you said makes perfect sense to me. I too am retired and am home all day, although I may decide to go back to work part time within the next couple of years. I would definitely want my dog to be bonded to me, as I had that kind of bond with Tasha, even though I did work. But she was with my mom all day long, so I didn't feel guilty about leaving her alone. Now that my mom has passed away I live alone, so it would be nice to have my dog bond with me rather than another dog.

Boy, 5 dogs must have been chaos, but I bet it was a ton of fun too.

I really appreciate all this insight. It's fantastic!!

September 16th, 2006, 10:10 PM
Prin, you made me laugh with the picture of the two dogs plotting against me. :D I can definitely picture two wee Shih Tzus planning and plotting.

The more I think about it, I think I will take it one doggie at a time. I don't need them ganging up on me.

And your two dogs are lovely. They look so sweet! I can't imagine them ever giving you any problems!

Thanks for the reply. Linda

September 16th, 2006, 10:48 PM
I don't mean to hijack, but at the beginning of this short video of my doggies, you see how they work together.. :rolleyes:

September 16th, 2006, 10:59 PM
Here's my 2 cents: I have a brother and sister lab/rott pair who are just over 10 months old. They do keep each other company well, but......housetraining wasn't too bad (except that we lived in a 2nd floor apartment at the time, in the winter:frustrated: ), however, it is difficult to work with just one at time to try and train them. The girl pup, Bronwyn, pushes right in because she is both jealous of any attention Fingal gets, and she likes to boss him around. She and I have occasional alpha issues still. And she has a fit if he is too far ahead or behind her on walks, or if it seems like he's doing something she's not.

As for bonding, they are very bonded to us as well as each other. :o They're my babies.

In all honesty, in the future we will probably have more than 1 dog at a time, but I don't think I would have 2 puppies at the same time again.

September 16th, 2006, 11:09 PM
Don't you have a video of one distracting the other? :D

September 16th, 2006, 11:21 PM

I had such a rough time trying to get any video of Fingal doing his tricks because Bronwyn kept interrupting. :frustrated:

September 16th, 2006, 11:36 PM
omg that's the one! It's so perfect to show how hard it is with two young dogs. :D :highfive: :dog: :dog:

September 16th, 2006, 11:50 PM
:D Ya got that right! They push me harder than they do my husband or daughter. With her, I think it's because they view her as an equal or lower in the pack (despite our best efforts) so they don't have to push her, with my husband it's because he's the "big dog" around here. They remind me of toddlers-they push Mom to see how far they can go. They do obey me and let me handle them and treat their ouchies, so I'm hoping they do view me as alpha:pray: .

Now, we just have to work on food grabbing-Miss Bronwyn again! :frustrated: We'll get there. :fingerscr

September 17th, 2006, 12:16 AM
You could get 2 older rescues...they come already trained!

September 17th, 2006, 01:16 AM
I have noticed too that 1 boy and 1 girl seem to bond together better and get along better than boy/boy or girl/girl. Yeah rescue...

September 17th, 2006, 09:27 AM
I have a 4 yr old male tzu (Harley) and about 3 months ago we bought Buster, who is a mix tzu/bichon. Buster was 8 weeks old when we brought him home and Harley had been king of the house prior to that. So far, so good. The training is/was pretty easy because every time Harley went out for potty, Buster went too. I do have some food issues because Buster is still on puppy food and Harley is on his adult food. Of course, they each want the other ones food. There is also some jealousy happening. For instance when we come home, I make a point of saying Hi to Harley first but Buster goes CRAZY!!! (Buster will start obedience classes next month....)

Two dogs is a lot of work but it's twice the enjoyment too. Also, twice the cost..... Personally I wouldn't get two puppies at the same time....that's just too much for me to handle (IMO)

September 17th, 2006, 10:10 AM
It is easier if you have one that already is housetrained and add a younger pup, the younger pup will pick up some of the house training skills from the older dog, I have a 4 pack the youngest is 5 months old no problems with bonding to me.

THe one bonus with 2 pups together is they get plenty of exercise playing and wear each other out

September 17th, 2006, 04:14 PM
Thanks everyone for your suggestions and feedback.

Prin, Boo certainly seems to be enjoying your socks and it looks like both Boo and Jemma are quite a handful.

I think from what everyone has said, it would make more sense to get one dog first then see about another one later on.

I can imagine having more than one is a lot of fun, but the feedback seems to be that training two at once is somewhat of a challenge. One at a time seems to be the way to go for me.

I have looked at rescues, but for some reason there doesn't seem to be very many Shih Tzus for adoption in Ontario, although there are quite a number in the U.S. I guess I'll take my time, do some research and see which direction I want to go in.

Love to see another Shih Tzu lover on here. Hi Harley's mom and Harley is so cute. Hopefully he and Buster will become fast friends.

Thanks again everyone. You've all given me lots to think about.

September 17th, 2006, 05:29 PM
I have noticed too that 1 boy and 1 girl seem to bond together better and get along better than boy/boy or girl/girl. Yeah rescue...
Now I have to disagree with you :sorry: I have 2 males and 1 female.They all get along fine but the males are closer.And I had a lot of fosters,basicly it comes down to dominant and submissive rather than boys versus girls. 2 submissive will get along fine,or one submissive and one dominant.But 2 dominant is a no no.

September 17th, 2006, 08:01 PM
i totally agree with Frenchy. it's more about personality than sex, although the *general* rule is that opposite sexes get along better, it's not the rule. and sooo much easier to get one dog, train it well, and when life is easy then you get a 2nd one... more often than not, the older dog will train the young one for you :D

good luck! :highfive:

September 17th, 2006, 08:28 PM
We have 2 dogs.We put down the family dog in march.Which was hard.More so the kids.They lost their Nana in feb and mar.We lost Raidar.We weren't sure if we were going to get another dog.Then Jag was given to us.Our shih tzu was miserable with him.When she got over morning they bonded now all hours of the night and day play.And they fight over my attention.Which i love.It was the same when Raidar was alive.

September 19th, 2006, 10:37 AM
I have two JRTs, which I adopted about a year ago, one 8 and one 6. THe second JRT was brought into the home because the older one was a nervous/anxious dog and they thought that the second would calm down the first. This is what we were told when we adopted them, anyhow. I will never again just have one dog. The dynamics between the two are so funny and sweet. They really protect each other, amuse each other and have figured out how to tip over the garbage can with two of them working together. I don't know about training a puppy, but there are lots of tag teams up for adoption/rescue since it is hard to find people willing to rehome two dogs. I've had the greatest experience with rescuing dogs. Just a though to consider, since it eliminates the need for initial training and you're doing a wonderful thing!