Everyone's responses on our last debate post (Cropping, Docking and Dew Claw Removal) blew me away. I absolutely loved reading such thoughtful responses and was surprised at how many of you were in the same vein as me on that subject.
Today's topic is, to me, surprisingly controversial. I didn't have much of an idea that it is such a hot topic until I ventured into the foray myself. To me, it's not something that negatively impacts either the dog or owner (when done properly and with care, I should note), and affects no one else, so it shouldn't be anyone's business but the person in question.
It's one of those things (for me, at least) that if you don't want to do it, there's absolutely no reason not to. If it doesn't work for you, that's fine, but it can and does work for other people. As always, refer to the below and let me know what you think!
Pike and Olivia are almost 11 months old and almost 6 months old, respectively. So while one is a definite adolescent and the other is well on her way, it's still two dogs less than a year apart in age. Personally, I adore this age gap. It works really well for both us, especially having a very well behaved and well trained 4 year old Nola. Nola adores puppies and often times acts like one herself, haha.
These are the things I've heard most frequently when people (mostly online, because let's be honest: people simply are not that ballsy in real life. Gotta love the keyboard warriors, eh?) find out I have two "puppies", and I'll touch on each one.
Don't you worry they won't get adequate time, training and attention?
I worried about this when I added puppy Pike to my adult dog household, so no, this isn't something I worry about because they're puppies, it's something I worry about because I have more than one dog. It's an unfounded worry, for the most part. Yes, there are some days (especially in the first 2-4 weeks of adding a new dog) where I feel overwhelmed or like I'm not doing well enough for them, but those feelings are always fleeting. I look around and see that I really do have amazing dogs, and I'm not fucking them up for life. To be honest, I'd be alarmed if I felt like I was always doing the best - you need to grow and evolve, and it'd be damaging to both the dogs and myself if I didn't change along our path.
You've seen my dogs every day for over three years now, and you've followed along as I've added to my family. There isn't much that doesn't go on this blog, and I don't sugarcoat. What you see is what you get with my crew. I hope it's clear that they are all healthy, loved, and well cared for.
That's not to say they don't get different things, or that everyone gets the exact same amount of time on xyz. They don't, because they all have different needs. Nola gets the most training and the most one on one time, because she needs the most mental stimulation and the most time with me. Pike gets the most physical exercise, the most grooming and the most cuddles. He's my most active dog, given he's a teenaged herder, he's the fluffiest so he needs the most care there, and he wants physical contact all the time, where the girls do not. Olivia gets a pretty even blend of the two with lots of handling thrown in due to her age.
I don't do it because I love one more than the other (well...I'll be honest and say that Nola is my heart dog and my favorite. It's just how it is, but the others are loved just as much! She's just liked more ;)). I do it because I know what each dog needs to be happy, healthy, and well adjusted to our multi-dog lifestyle.
I should also make note that I find working more than one young dog into a house is easier than working a puppy into an adult dog home. Puppies are pliable and always learning and adapting, so I've found the adjustment period a thousand times easier.
As for training....my youngest is already better behaved than the vast majority of average pets. Pike is damn near perfect, and you know Nola is flawless.
House training, teething, crate training, ugh! Why would you want to double that?!
Well, with Pike and Livvy nothing was doubled. Pike was 9.5 months old when Olivia came home. He's been fully house trained since 7 months, crate trained since 3.5 months, and hasn't chewed anything he shouldn't since 6 months old (provided he has the right amount of exercise and isn't bored). Pike was an amazingly easy puppy. Nola was difficult because I wasn't well versed in positive training and she was my test subject for a lot of things. Plus, I didn't have any experience with a smart and high energy dog, so there was a lot of fumbling until things smoothed out and we got into a good rhythm.
Back on topic now, for the time being. :) Olivia is, like I said, nearly 6 months old. It's been a month since she's had an accident. She's been an absolute dream in her crate since day one. She's just now starting to teethe (she's getting her canines in at the moment, and those have always been the worst for my dogs) and her poor gums are sore, but she's only chewing what she's suppose to. Again, knowing what to do, when to do it and how to do it has made this journey virtually struggle-free.
So, while I haven't done it myself I'm of the opinion of what's a little more? You're already doing the above things, so if you want to have two that's your choice. Personally, even though I like my dogs close in age, I don't like them so close I have to double up. I don't have the patience for that, so I don't add to my group until the youngest has their basic household manners. If you do though, more power to you and you have my admirations for your patience and skill!
How do you afford all that?
I find this a really inappropriate and offensive question, especially since it's not nearly as frequently directed to adult multi-dog households as it is to multi-puppy households. The answer is simply that I work. It baffles me that that question is asked like dogs stop costing money when they hit that magic one year mark. Ha, I wish! Yes, you have shots, and altering if you choose to do it before a year. But my adult still needs food, toys, vet visits, parasite prevention, ect. You're generally done with shots at around 5 months old until you do 1 year boosters, and then it's your choice as to how you continue with that. In the grand scheme of things, it's a minimal difference.
I'm sorry, but it isn't your concern how I afford my dogs, regardless of age or number. It's just not.
But they'll be, you know, seniors...at the same time!
Yes, I do know that. However, I have small breed dogs that are generally extremely healthy and long lived. That isn't a guarantee that things will always be okay, but it does stack the odds in my favor. If I had a large breed, unhealthy and short lived breed like a Great Dane or Mastiff, or even a Lab or Golden, I wouldn't have them close in age and I probably wouldn't even have more than two.
My dogs are (just turned) 4 years, almost 11 months and almost 6 months. They are nowhere near close to being seniors, and won't be for quite a while. This is an age range that works for us now and will work for us until the end. I don't believe in messing with something that works for 90% of their lives just because I'm scared of how it'll affect the last 10%.
Yes, I know that seniors can be costly. I'm saving now, while they're young, so that I will have a large bit of money put away for when the time comes.
Yes, I know loosing dogs close together is heartbreaking and will take a toll on me. However, there's a risk of loosing dogs at the same time or close together if you have more than one, at anytime, regardless of their age. Also, they've already given me such an amazing love and bond, that it's worth the pain. My dogs will eventually be seniors no matter if I have one or five.
They won't get along!
Don't make me laugh! These dogs are the very best of friends. I've been very, very careful in selecting temperaments so everyone meshes well. Nola's the boss, and everyone follows her. They play together, sleep together, are fine eating together, ect. In fact, this is how they are as I write this:
|This is after nearly 2 hours of hard play and training outside.|
Where do you have the space for them?
*snort* Have you seen the size of my dogs? Everyone is under 15lbs. I have a large yard and a fair sized house. There's more than enough space. All three of their crates take up the same amount of space as a lab sized one.
What do you think of littermates?
I kind of touched on this in the second section, but I wouldn't personally keep litter mates for reasons listed above. I don't have a problem with other people doing it, as long as they've throughly researched it beforehand.
What's next? Our 2015 plans will be announced next week, so you'll have to come back to see!
So, what do you think and where do you stand?