Monday, December 29, 2014

Dachshund Nola Debates: Multiple Puppies/Dogs Close in Age

Hey, guys! I hope you all had a very Merry and fun Christmas weekend! We sure did!

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 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, 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?

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? 

Dachshund Mommy


  1. Well....a quick answer! We have 10 in our pack. In almost all age groups there were always 2 puppies raised together. In fact, thinking back, in all the years and years of having dogs in our lives, there have always been two puppies at a time, many times being siblings. Max and Amber are littermates, as were many before them. Raising two at a time is no harder than raising one. In fact I believe it's easier to raise two because they kind of teach each other and have each other to wear themselves out (instead of me always wearing myself out). So's always 2 puppies at a time at my house.

  2. I don't think age matters much. Lily, the queen of the castle taught Benny a few things and now she is teaching Edward. Not saying they are good things but she helps out teaching. Cost!! I must have pet insurance if I choose to have Frenchies. all in all, if you have patience to work hard and do all of the above concerns you mentioned there should not be any significant issues. We agree with your thoughts
    Lily & Edward

  3. I think whatever Being close in age seems better to me really. There is 6 years between Roxy and Torrey and Roxy rarely wants to play with Torrey, which she would love to do. And now Roxy is a senior dog with a bad back, so I have to be careful that Torrey doesn't run here over sometimes.

  4. Not specific on the topic of puppies, but our rescue was very pleased that Katy was going into a house with another dog. They didn't want her to be alone and were suprised Bailey had done so well for so long alone. If at all possible financially I would never keep a lone Sheltie again. Seeing these two together makes me realize they do seem to do well together.

    As for the akward questions, I've learned most are from lack of knowlege and bad social skills rather than any attempt at being mean. I find most who ask these questions seem to marvel at the basic financial planning and home orginizational skills required for one dog, let alone multiple animals. For the curious but clueless I tend to ignore the comments. For those who are interested in learning, but lack basic social skills to ask their questions appropriately, I will make an effort when I have the time to try and explain how to prepare for the process.

    Having taken Bailey through the puppy years, I don't have a burning desire to do the puppy stage again. It was a wonderful experience and I wouldn't trade it for the world. However, we are at a different place in our lives and it would have to be just the right situation to want to go down that road again. Taking Katy in as an adult was a wonderful experience and I suspect knowing DH's preferences we will likely go down that road again.

    Oddly enough I know plenty of people with and without children who face the same awkward type questions from virtual strangers who seem to have no filters. While you only seem to get the questions online, I've seen them all too often in person and it amazes me how badly we have lost any sense of manners and bounderies in conversations with what are mostly strangers we meet. I've gotten pretty good at ignoring questions that I think show no regard for bounderies, but it still amazes me that people ask them and honestly expect an answer be it about dogs or people.

  5. Some people are just nosy. We live in an area where we have mostly backyard, resident dogs. They don't get much attention. Mine are considered spoiled because they get long walks, live inside on furniture and go on adventures. You are so right about each dog having different needs.

  6. I wouldn't do littermates either, but I wouldn't be opposed to having two close in age, a 6 months apart or a year apart or so. My family dogs were 6 months apart, although they didn't live together full time until they were around 4 years old. They saw each other and played daily, though. (We moved in with Vince and his family when my dog was 4). We never had a problem. They did die close together, though. Lulu passed away first and Moe lived year longer after that. It was hard and it sucked but what can you do?

    Anyways, the girls could possibly be littermates or related in some other way and we got Phoenix a year after Zoe. We've never had a fight or any other major issues with them. Zoe has some minor resource guarding issues but Phoenix is really good at listening to her.. kind of like what you were saying about Nola. Zoe is the boss! :D

  7. I agree, it is a personal decision. For logistical reasons, we have two dogs - it suits our life the best. We had three for a few years when we adopted a senior whose family gave him up. We felt wonderful about helping him but three is, in our lifestyle, a huge step up from two. Our dogs' age difference is just happenstance (about 4 years) - but I like it because we have some remote chance of not losing them both too close together. But, the best laid plans can fall apart, as we learned when K died at age 8 and a previous dog died at age 2. So, I don't think that spacing them out can ever be planned perfectly because you never know what will happen.

    I love having two because they are such good friends. I suspect that Shyla would have had separation anxiety issues if it weren't for R being with her when we go out. When R is with her, she just snoozes through my arrivals home - no big deal.

    My dogs aren't perfect - neither is - but they fit our life superbly. It sounds like you love your trio!

  8. This is a great post! I have 4 dogs, all born in 2010 between February and November. Blossom and Sawyer are litter mates; I never regretted having two babies at once! Yes, I also work to pay for their necessities, but they are my companions and deserve the best of everything. With careful introductions they have all become good friends and even have little scuffles now and then, but with no major problems. And, we will all grow old together LOL! Of course, when the time comes we will again introduce a new young member to our pack. Thank you for all the work you put into writing this!

  9. Long before me, Lady had a dobie and then a golden retriever puppy almost a year later. That worked out very well for her. I am an only furchild and will most likely be because I am 13 1/2, spoiled, and Lady travels so much. But, if God sends her another furchild like He sent me, she will welcome that one as well, with open arms! He knows best. As to nosy people. We live in Asia. They always ask questions like that, especially in China, but also in India: How much money do you make? How much did you pay for that? How much did your dog cost? How old are you? How much did it cost to go to America? How much did that dog sweater cost? How much is your rent? So, welcome to our world! Here, it is not considered impolite.

  10. What a great post! I have two doxies ages 5 and 6. They are my 4th & 5th Dachshunds. I just love the breed. My husband passed away 11 years ago so I HAVE to work full time. I feel so guilty leaving them for 9 hours everyday. I was sitting at the beauty shop the other day and overheard two people talking about people that have pets should not work full time. They said they are selfish people! I just felt sooo bad! My dogs are not crated, but I do have a dog door into a fenced yard. I think they sleep most of the day when I am gone. They do get my undivided attention & love when I am home. How many pets you have is a personal choice. One is good for some and 4 or 5 for some! When I retire I would like to Foster. Do you ever feel guilty when you go to work?

  11. My dogs are 3, 4, and 5. I love that their energy levels are similar.

    I have thought about the fact that I will have three senior dogs at the same time. While it can make me sad if I dwell on it, I wouldn't trade my experience for the world.


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