Sometimes well meaning owners will take on the responsibility of two dogs at once. The dogs have bonded and will be heartbroken if separated… Dogs are social animals, so they will always need a buddy… Two is better than one? The list of reasons may go on and on. Reality is, potential owners don’t see the downside of bringing in two dogs at the same time until the negatives become glaringly obvious. Double the bills… double the training… double the frustration! Is it better to adopt one at a time? Or is there a way to make a smooth transition with two dogs at once?
If adopting a bonded pair, whether they are puppies or adult dogs, there is a symbiotic relationship between the two that spans beyond human interaction. Quite often a bonded duo has relied on each other so heavily that they aren’t sure how to interact with their new, human counterparts. Integrating a human into their relationship will require a lot of one on one play with each of the dogs. Human, canine interaction should be fun, engaging and unique for each dog. One dog may enjoy fetch while the other would rather play hide and seek. Spending one on one time with each dog creates two strong bonds between human and canine.
Training doesn’t always go as planned. Some dogs pick up cues quicker than others. Some dogs are too stubborn to give in to commands. Imagine having two incredibly stubborn dogs feeding off each other and vowing in their own canine like way to not give in to the human. Frustrating wouldn’t begin to cover it! Having a one on one session with each dog would take some of the exasperation out of training. However, it would increase the amount of time spent training.
Adopting two dogs at once would certainly assuage loneliness between them. It would also double the expense of bringing the dogs into the pack. Double the food, supplies, and grooming to name a few. Even if the dogs were adopted from a rescue or shelter, where most adoptees have been fixed, vaccinated and microchipped, there is still the lifelong expense of vaccination upkeep, possible illness, or accidents which costs a small fortune for one dog.
Exercise is important in the canine world. Bonding is also important. As was mentioned above in the bonding section and in the training section; it is best to walk the dogs separately at first. This would give the new owner a chance to understand their dogs walking style and preferences. See what needs to be worked on as far as training goes, and what behavioral/social issues need addressed. It isn’t the most relaxing stroll when two dogs are pulling in two different directions barking at two different things.
Is adopting two dogs at the same time a good idea? Not usually no; at first everything should be done separately– training, walking, bonding, etc. It takes double the time and double the effort as opposed to bringing in one dog. Individual attention could be paid to one dog, then after a period of say six months, bring in a second dog and start the process all over again. However if the owner has the time, patience, time (yes, time was mentioned twice) and knowledge of what is needed to make it work, more power to them!