Two Dogs vs. One Dog

Watching Kiera and Graidy playing with each other this morning, I’m more keenly aware than usual of the benefits of having two dogs.

I’ve just come back from a visit to my mother’s. She has one dog, Zoe; a beautiful, 4 yr old German Shepherd, who’s a ball nut.

zoe1.jpg Because Zoe is a high energy dog, and doesn’t have another dog to help tire her out, she is constantly looking for someone to throw her ball. My mother does her best. Even so, I know I’ll wind up taking Zoe out a bunch more times. With all of that, it hardly puts a dent in her desire for activity; it’s only enough to take the edge off.

My two, on the other hand, spend several hours a day playing with each other. They think up all kinds of fun games. There’s the outside games: the Tag game, the Let’s-Dig-Up-All-The-Moles game, the Chase-The- -Birds-Overhead game, the Leap-Frog game, the Butt-Tucking-Zoomies game, and the Whose-Stick-Is-It-Now game. There’s the inside games: the Hide-And-Seek game (which is too funny for words), the Jump-On-The-Bed-And-Wrestle game, the Jump-On-Mom-And-Wrestle game, the We’re-Tired-Of-Playing-With-Each-Other-Let’s-Go-Get-Finn game. The list goes on and on. Below is the ever popular Ma-He’s-Touching-Me! game.

mahestouchingme1.jpgOn top of this, Andrew will take Kiera for 3-mile runs, plus I’ll take her for walks, and she’ll usually get to go herding once a week (we had a short season this year because of an injury). Graidy doesn’t want to leave the property. Having been lost once in his life and winding up in Rescue (that’s where we got him), he doesn’t ever want to get lost again; he loves it here. Open up the front door, and Graidy shoots back into the kitchen. So Graidy and I do stuff together at home.

But I think you’re getting my point. They’re happy, tired dogs by the end of the day. I can’t imagine what it would be like if they didn’t have each other to help me exercise them. Granted, I have one full herding dog, and one part herding-part bird dog. So they have energy to spare even after the most physically demanding of activities.

Having two dogs to run each other ragged is only one of the many benefits. They keep each other company and shore each other up when I have to go out. They have a lot to say to each other, in fact they sometimes talk a blue streak. It’s hysterical. They’re best buds, as only dogs can be to each other.

Is there a down side to having more than one dog? Andrew would tell you that it’s double the trouble. And it’s double the expense. It’s certainly double the hair and dirt and barking. It’s also double the training, though I didn’t get them at the same time or from the same litter (neither is advisable). It’s not as easy to get that special time with each one alone; I have to plan for that. Plus, you need enough space to accommodate more than one. But, overall, I find it easier to have two. While I know there are some dogs who are happy being the only, and while I’ve had only’s before, I don’t think I could ever go back.

46 thoughts on “Two Dogs vs. One Dog”

  1. Laura Sheppard

    Hi. We have an adorable 11wk old black male lab. We are considering getting a 7 wk old choc female lab. I’ve read all of the advise about crating, feeding, exercising and training them separately and understand that it is an undertaking:) Our black lab loves playing with his cousins a yellow lab and dachshund. We think he will love having a permanent playmate and friend. We are able to spend a lot of time with them and are really excited about having the 2 dogs. We had a 12 yr old black lab who we loved dearly and always intended to add another but never got there before he got sick with cancer:( Any added advise on raising the 2 puppies….I guess the strike they have against them is they are around the same age.

    1. Ahhhh, brings back memories. I’ve done this a couple of times — two puppies close in age. Having been there, I’d have to say that I actually have mixed feelings about getting two young puppies together. On the good side of the equation: house-training and obedience training can be tackled and over with all at once, teething and resulting destruction of possessions will be over with mostly all at once, and they will definitely enjoy having each other’s company and will bond very strongly with each other.
      On the bad side of the equation: they will bond very strongly with each other — so strongly, that you are going to have to work extra hard to insert yourself into the mix to get them to bond with you. If you know that going in and you realize that you need to spend chunks of one-on-one time with each puppy separately to help them bond with you, then you should be fine. As they get old, they get old at the same rate–which means you could be looking at them dying on the heals of each other, and that’s a heavy emotional hit.
      But if you’ve got the time and energy, and are going in with your eyes open–it can be a very good thing.
      Good Luck!

  2. Aww, this makes me wish I could get a second dog but my little Lucy ( would never allow it. She’s never been fond of other dogs (not even the brother from the same litter) and refuses to socialize, even when left in private homes for boarding or when we stay at the homes of friends’ with dogs. She thinks she’s one of the big girls and just wants to hang out with adults.
    Hope your pooches are still having fun together. They’re beautiful.


  3. Hello!
    I’ve been thinking about getting a second dog for my ~3 year old female lab from the shelter. She plays a lot with my sister’s 3 year old female chocolate lab, as well as a friend’s 2 year old male hound mix. However, when we go to the dog park she’s not interested in other dogs AT ALL! She will take an occasional sniff, but is much more interested in attention from me. Characteristic to her breed, she’s pretty dependent on me.

    I recently found an Australian Shepherd/Boxer mix female who is 5 months old. We’re meeting her tomorrow, but I’m having second thoughts if McKenzie even wants to have a second dog! There’s a 3 month old puppy who Kenz interacts with on a regular basis. It’s clear that she doesn’t like all the “puppy behavior” of relentless energy.

    I’m also nervous that I don’t have the extra time and energy for a second pup (who is not house broken either). How do you know if you’ve got it to spare??

    Thank you so much for answering all these questions! I read through the entire “comment” section and found you had answered some of my questions already!

    1. Hi Anna. Adding a second dog is a big step, so good for you that you’re taking your time to think it through.

      It sounds as though your girl is getting a fair amount of playtime with her 2 dog friends. And an Australian Shepherd/Boxer mix is likely going to be a very high energy dog. If you’re used to a mellow dog, you may find the high voltage hard to get used to.

      You also don’t mention how many hours you’re out of the house during the day, or what size yard you have to accommodate a 2nd dog. If the concern is that your girl is spending too much time alone and you want her to have company, you could consider finding an adult dog that seems a better energy level match.

      Most dogs take time to warm up to new dogs. But, occasionally, you can see that 2 dogs hit it off right away. It’s wonderful when that happens, and that’s what you should look for. But if it doesn’t happen right away, that doesn’t mean that it won’t with a little bit of time. At any rate, don’t be afraid to take your time to find the perfect dog for your dog AND for you.

      While it’s wonderful that you care enough about your dog to want her to have an even better life than she already has, you must also consider that whatever dog you bring home should be a dog that you feel a strong positive connection to as well. Because it is going to mean extra work and extra expense. But if you find the right dog for both of you, than it’s worth it.

      And if, upon more reflection, you really like the balance of your life the way it is now, don’t pressure yourself to add another dog. Instead, make more playdates for your girl, or even ask if your sister or friend want to occasionally let their dogs come over for the whole day and vice versa — sort of like a round-robin doggy day care with dogs that all like each other.

  4. I have been reading several articles lately about the advantages and disadvantages to having two dogs. I am looking to bring home a 3 1/2 month old black lab mix, and possibly her sister. The current owners want me to have both. I’ve read that having two is good, and also bad, and I don’t know what to do! Since I work all day, it would be great for them to have each other to exercise and keep each other company, but I’ve heard and read also that it can cause major problems later on. The owners now raise dogs and have two older sisters and they are fine together (although they aren’t from the same litter…just same family). They also live on a farm and I live in the city. Your thoughts? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!!

    1. Melissa, Labs are fairly high energy dogs when young, though they do tend to mellow out as they age. Having two together as puppies in the city would be a handful. I would not recommend you get same sex siblings. Nor would I recommend getting two puppies the same age. They’ll tend to bond more to each other than to you. You don’t say how much time you’d have to spend away from home. If you work an 8 hr day + commute, I would advise against it.

      You may be better off looking at one of the toy breeds, especially the Papillon and King Charles Cavalier Spaniel. Two of these breeds together (hopefully opposite sex and not from same litter) would not present the same energy or exercise needs. You can also toilet train them to go in a doggy litter box.

  5. I came across your blog and you have great advice. I have a question more about the adjustments for the owner when getting a second dog.

    I have a 3 year old English bulldog named Daisy. I have had her since she was a puppy. I recently (in the past week) adopted a 4 year old male bulldog from a rescue and am now having second thoughts :(

    I had put a lot of thought into getting a companion for Daisy, thinking another dog would play with her, keep each other company and make her less dependent on me. Oliver is a GREAT dog, he was a stray and is the sweetest well behaved boy. Daisy is alpha and he is submissive so they actually get along fine. The thing is they ignore each other…they don’t really play with each other, they are now both needy for my attention. I work from home so Daisy and Oliver are not left home alone for long periods of time.

    When I look back, Daisy really doesn’t play with other dogs even though she is socialized. She will play for a few minutes and then goes off and does her thing…she spends more time socializing with humans.

    I am having doubts if getting a second is right for me and Daisy??? It is more challenging and more effort. I have the time and love to give, but just am wondering if Daisy is ok being the only dog. The Rescue says to give it time. Thoughts or advise?


    Rebecca, just like with people, it can take dogs a while to get the hang of each other. Kiera and Graidy didn’t play much at the beginning either. It took a couple of months for them to realize they were family, before they started acting like family. They still don’t play together a ton, but they play a fair amount and really like having the other one around.

    As to whether Daisy would be ok being the only dog, it sounds like she would. As would my Kiera. That said, I know Kiera would miss Graidy if he weren’t around. And she would definitely be more bored. I suspect Daisy is like Kiera in that regard.

    So, I guess the question I have isn’t whether Daisy likes having Oliver (because they sound like they’ll do well together in time), but whether you do? I’ve no doubt that Daisy will have a richer life with Oliver (though not necessarily more wildly playful). But if you’re finding another dog more work than you care for and you, for whatever reason, don’t feel that you’re clicking with Oliver, that’s reason enough to bring him back. Oliver sounds like a dog that would be easy to love, so the rescue people shouldn’t have a hard time placing him.

  6. Hello,
    I have a 10 month old hound mix that was a rescue. He seems to be a easy going dog for the most part was very easy to train. Except he digs in the back yard every time we leave him alone. He loves to play with other dogs, most of our friends have two dogs and we take him over to play. We were thinking of getting him another dog. I found a hound doberman mix female that I like but she is 1 year old and already trained. I am worried about if this will cause him to get jealous. My other concern is that he is around 70-75 lbs and she is 35-40 lbs. I don’t know if she will be too small to be a companion for him. I was also wondering if by having a second dog will this stop the digging? We also do not have kids and are planning on some in the future but are worried about having two dogs with kids. So any advice?

    Hi Megan. You don’t mention if you’ve had your dog meet the new dog you’re interested in. That would tell you a lot as to whether they’d like each other and how they’d play. The weight difference can be a concern if either dog likes to play rough. As for jealously, again, that depends on how well your dog likes the other dog, and how much attention you pay to the new dog. If your dog falls in love with the new dog, if there were to be any jealously, it would most likely be mild. But with each dog you add, there will be more vying for your attention.

    Getting another dog not only won’t stop your dog from digging, but he could teach your new dog to dig.

    As for having two dogs with a baby, that really depends on each dog’s temperament and how much experience you have with dogs. If you’re a confident trainer and you have dogs with easy, even temperaments, it’s certainly doable. But not knowing your dogs, I really can’t comment on how they’d be with a baby. Or, as your baby grows into a toddler, how he or she would be with dogs.

    Your best bet is to find a knowledgeable trainer locally and have her go with you and your dog to meet the new dog you’re interested in on neutral territory. She could give you valuable advise based on actually observing both dogs.

    Good luck!

  7. My little ten pound adoptee, Annie, who is mostly Poodle and maybe Terrier, gave birth to seven adorable puppies seven weeks ago. They all are going to wonderful homes of good friends of ours. I have two questions: first, we’d like to keep one of the puppies, but does it work well for a long term relationship to have a mommy with one of her own? Second, although they are all eating on their own, they still like to nurse. We have only a few days until they will be leaving Annie. Should we prohibit the nursing, or let it be? The nursing seems more social than nutritional – she has dried up substantially. Thanks.

  8. Karen-
    I have loved reading all of your advice and I would love to hear what you think about our story. We have 8 month old cock-a-poo female named Hailee. She is house broken and doing well with training (she still gets really excited and jumps up) When we first got Hailee I was able to bring her to work every day but that has proven to be really stressful for both of us (she is not herself and acts really, really wound up at work) She is now staying home for 8 hours a day (breaks my heart)but I think it is best for us both. We often visit my mother and Hailee has sooooo much fun playing with my mothers dogs. When we go home she seems to miss them and lays around the house looking sad. We have just come upon a dog from the same breeder as Hailee (different parents) and we are considering bring him into our home. He is 16 weeks old and seems like he would be about the same size as Hailee. Altough I would love to have a new little son we would be getting him to stay home with Hailee and give her a friend. What do you think?

    Cameron, I have no doubt Hailee would love a little male companion. I’d ask the breeder to let you introduce them to see how they do together, before you decide. Also, you don’t mention if you have a dog door or not. If you don’t, many people don’t realize that 8 hours is a long time for a dog not to be able to relief itself. I don’t know any humans who could not go for that long. Hopefully, there’s a way you can put one in if you don’t have one. Good luck.

  9. We have a 5 year old intact male black labrador. We have been offered a female golden labrador puppy. Is it realistic to try keeping them apart when in season and breeding in a couple of years time ? Out of season will their behaviours be different if the female were spayed ?

    Hi Dave,

    Hmm….. I’d say that not spaying the puppy would keep you a pretty busy guy. A female dog will usually experience her first heat between 6-12 months old, and last approximately 3 weeks. Then she’ll go back into heat approximately every 6 months. Unless you have a fool-proof way of keeping them apart (not easy to do, and even if you can, you may be dealing with barking and whining from one or both dogs because they want to be together), I’d say that you’re looking at an accident waiting to happen.

    Getting the female spayed would be a good thing for everyone involved. 

  10. Hi Karen,

    Hope you are doing well. I am writing today to get your advice on a new problem I am facing these days.

    My older Lab (now over 7 months of age) has started to not obey the orders. She does but is not as prompt as she was earlier. I talked to trainer and she said that the dog is now in her teenage years and things will get better after this phase.

    Is this true? I hope it is, otherwise I think I will be in lot of troublesome time ahead.


    Hi Mukul,

    Oh no, the dreaded teen-age years… : )  Yes, they can be a test, but this is where you need to offer good leadership and consistent training.  The more consistent you are, the faster you’ll notice improvement. And by consistent, I don’t mean harsh, just consistent. As in, “You want to go outside? Then you need to sit your fanny on the floor first and wait until I say Okay.” “You want to eat? Then you need to give me a nice ‘down’ and wait until I say Okay.”

    What you want to teach your pup is some self-control. And that comes through self-discipline.  So say she doesn’t sit or lay down when you ask her to before you give her her food. Say “Oops, so sorry” and walk away and put the food on the counter. Then in another minute try again. You don’t give her her food until she does what you ask.
    As the saying goes — This, too, shall pass.

  11. Angela, there’s no question in my mind that this would be a good thing for your current dog. But there are a couple of potential issues here I’d be concerned about. It is possible that a new dog could send your cat back into hiding. Much depends on how you introduce them. Please see my post on Introducing a Kitten to Dogs (look under the category archives in ‘Dogs in General’ to find it) for suggestions on how to set up both your cat and puppy for success.

    Other than the initial house training and obedience training, which is obviously work, it really depends on the dog as to whether it will add more to the frenzy quotient or work quotient of your household — so there’s really no way to predict or guarantee that in advance. The benefit obviously to your dog is that he’d have an in-house playmate.

    And, no, your dog hasn’t been alone too long to introduce another dog. But I’d be disinclined to get another dog unless or until you were able to get your husband on board, as well as be willing to accept the possibility that your cat may decide, no matter what you try, that she has no use for a new dog.

    The other option would be to keep your current dog happy with play-dates.

  12. Hi Karen,

    I, too, have a multiple dog question. We have a male Scottish Terrier that is almost 3 years. We have had him a year today. Before we acquired him, he was with a lady that had multiple dogs.

    He seemed lonely at first, but after a year, seems to have adjusted to the idea of being an only dog.

    Our other pet is a 13 year old cat. She has finally (within the past few weeks) decided to somewhat come out and join the family, again. Since the death of our last Scottie, whom the cat tolerated, she had the house to herself for a year. When we brought the current Scottie home, she went into hiding. We have to go into her part of the house to be with her.

    Now, I’ve encountered the chance to get a female Scottie that is almost six months. A puppy, like our current dog, that has been around several dogs and loves to play.

    I really don’t think a second dog will be any more work than one. My husband seems to think so. This has become a HUGE argument. Our other concern is will our cat become a recluse, again? And, has our dog been alone too long to want to take in another dog? (I will mention that he has a good time on doggie play dates with our friend).

    Thanks for any advice you have!

  13. Charity, if Iggy is social and he generally likes female dogs, then it all depends on how Iggy and the collie/sheltie mix get along. If they hit it off, I wouldn’t be worried about the age difference unless there’s a big disparity between their energy levels. And if not, then I’d say bring her on home. :)

  14. Mukul, I’d love to see pics. Please do send them along. And if I’ve been of any help, you’re very welcome. I can tell you love your dogs too.

  15. Hi Karen, Thanks for the helpful tips. Talking to someone who has so much love for dogs has been really helpful. I will send you a few pics of my dogs if you would like to have a look.

    Once again, thanks a lot for your help.



  16. Mukul, I’ve been in the super stupid club before, so far be it from me to point any fingers. :) It sounds like you have it under control.

    As for letting your pups play together — definitely. They’ll help tire each other out so they’ll have less energy to bump into you or your son. It would be a good idea to help teach your son to be more gentle with the dogs though. While they may accept it now, they may not when they get older.

  17. Karen, thanks for the reply. With regards to the training, I have joined a dog club which does the training every Sunday and the training (with the Labrador) will commence from 19th. The club does not allow 2 dogs per handler, so it looks like I will have to train the Golden Retriever either myself or with the help of a trainer as suggested by you. Regarding me being superhuman… I am far from it. Super stupid is probably the right word. Anyway, the deed is now done and I will have to live with it.

    Also, with regards to the temprament, I have heard that both these breeds are good with kids… my Lab has been quite good with my son up until now. My son will sometimes lie down on her, pull her tail and ears, push her and even give her a little smack, but she accepts all of it. By the way, we don’t let our kid alone with the dog. Since the new puppy has come, her behaviour has not changed much, although she tries to play with the pup as dogs normally do. Would this playing teach her and the new pup to be rough? Shall we allow this kind of interaction between the two of them?

    Once again, thanks for helping me out with my current situation. It is very much appreciated.

  18. Mukul, you must be superhuman — 2 puppies, a small child and soon a newborn! Whew! I’m tired just thinking about it. I have one word of advice for you. Training.

    Seriously, enlist the help of a good trainer to help you work with both dogs before your next child comes and your time gets eaten up with that. Also have your trainer work with your son to teach him appropriate behavior in handling the dogs. Both of your dogs will be large, as well as energetic, and it’s important that they have manners so they’re not mouthing or crashing into you or your children while they’re playing.

    Good luck.

  19. Hi Karen,

    Need your advise regarding our new puppy… I already have a female Labrador (~6 months) and have recently acquired a new puppy, male golden retriever (~2 months). I also have son aged 3 years and another child on the way. I have been training my lab. and so far she has been responding quite well. Can you please advise things to keep in mind while training my golden retriever? Also, is there some way to make sure that these two do not gang up on my kid?



  20. Karen,

    Hello. I really enjoyed your above article, and thought I’d ask your advice. I have a neutered male golden retriever mix named Iggy who will be 6 in December of this year. He’s very social, but does appear to get along better with female dogs than other male dogs.

    I have been considering adding a female dog to the family for some time as a friend for him. I’ve been eyeing a large collie/sheltie mix that is on-line at the local shelter and are considering going to meet her. She’s about 2 and 1/2 and is slightly smaller than Iggy.

    Obviously I would need to bring Iggy and introduce them, but can you forsee any obvious problems with this potential match? We have a large fenced yard and plenty of space indoors for two dogs. I stay home and we don’t have children. Iggy is very close to us, and though he is treated as a dog and not a child sometimes I think he’s convinced he’s our human/canine offspring. My parents and other extended family keep telling me they think 6 years is too late to add a second dog, so this is my main concern.

    Thanks for any help you could provide.

    Charity Armstrong

  21. Steve, thanks for adding the point of how older dogs help younger dogs learn the dog rules. Sounds like Gatsby and Daisy have great lives! Lucky dogs. :)

  22. Karen,

    You have a great website and your advice is dead on. I have 19 month old Aussie boy (Gatsby) and we just brought a gorgeous 8 week old aussie girl (Daisy) into the family. Gatsby’s been through puppy kindergarten (twice), basic obedience and is in intermediate agility. My wife and I both work and decided several months ago to introduce a new dog to the family. We plan to have children in a couple of years and felt very comfortable with aussies in general and we adore our gatsby. We contacted Aussie rescue and came close to adopting a male aussie who was within a month of gatsby and appeared to have a similar disposition. We were so pleased with our decision and gleefully told our trainer who, with a horrified look pleaded,

    “absolutely not! You’re going to take a dog that is making tremendous progress and place him with a dog that has not been well trained and will be in a competitive position with Gatsby. That’s gas onto a fire. Wait a few months and get a younger female that will be easier to mix in with the family structure.”

    Well, we trust our trainer and did some additional research and we believe we made the best decision by going the puppy route. It’s only been a week. As we expected, Gatsby paid little attention to the puppy for the first three days. In fact, he would maintain a distance of at least three feet from her and get no closer (following the initial sniff sniff). After a little research, we learned that this behavior is entirely normal. The young puppy scent triggers this reaction in males who instinctively keep a distance from young pups because their mothers will attack first and ask questions later.

    We have now past the one week mark and Gatsby has moved from keeping a distance to taking a leadership role in Daisy’s rearing. He’ll play and wrestle with her, but he plays from the down position and only uses his head to manipulate her, which keeps the playing field as level as it can be (he does outweigh her by 45 pounds). When she becomes nippy, he’ll discipline her by taking her muzzle into his mouth and closing his crip so she can’t bite. She’ll let out a small yelp and he’ll release her. The whole time this is going on, he will look at me to make sure that he has not gone to far or outside my bounds.

    At night when she cries (she’s still only a week removed from her mom and the litter), he leaves our bed to sit beside her crate. Clearly, she has become very attached to him and I believe he is coming to see her as part of the pack.

    Nevertheless, a young pup will bond more closely with her own species than with humans unless we make a concerted effort to work with with the pup separately. Gatsby and I will go out in the mornings for a good round of frisbee while my wife works with daisy on basic sit/stays (mostly sit at this point since it’s almost impossible to teach a 8 week old pup to stay). In the evening, Gatsby will have a play date with our next door neighboy/border collie Pinto and I’ll work with Daisy on her sits and give her quiet play.

    All and all, I can say that it has been a pleasure bringing daisy into our home an I believe she will become a wonderful friend to Gatsby and to my wife and me.

  23. Lori, usually Beagles, as most sporting/hunting dogs do, have low dog/dog aggression tendencies. But not knowing your little guy’s personality or his brother’s, I can’t advise you on whether to get the brother or not.

    Assuming you got your pup from a reputable breeder, I suggest you speak with the breeder and see what he or she has to say. What I can tell you is that most dogs (especially dogs who spend much of the day home alone) are much happier with a dog playmate.

    Good luck!

  24. We just got a little beagle. He’s doing pretty good we are paper training him and using a kennel when we are at work and at night time. He had a little brother at the place were we got him and we were thinking about going back and getting him because everyone is telling us he will be so much happier when we are not there if they have each other. They were staying in the same kennel together where we got him. When I come home after work he is just so glad to see me that he is just beside himself thinking I’m going to leave. We play fast and furious but if I have to leave the room to do something he becomes so anxious thinking I’m leaving for a long time again he gets so upset. He almost doesn’t want to go to sleep afraid that I will leave him. What do you think? Thank you. Lori

  25. Hi Andrea. If Hendrix clearly likes other dogs, then he’d definitely be happier having a dog friend to keep him company for those 8-10 or more hours a day while you’re at work. That’s a long stretch for any social animal to spend alone.

    You don’t say whether your trouble walking Hendrix is because he’s difficult on leash (i.e. pulling, etc.) or because you find it hard to make the time. If it’s leash pulling, then an experienced positive trainer could do a world of good there. If you don’t have the time or desire to walk Hendrix then perhaps you could find a dog walker to help.

    What does seems clear from your description, is that being alone for as long as Hendrix is alone, is starting to wear on him. So would getting Hendrix another dog make him happier? From how you’ve described him, absolutely.

    But here’s what you have to consider: Is it going to push you and your partner over the edge? If it would, then, no matter how much you love Hendrix, getting another dog isn’t a good idea. In that case, I’d look into doggy daycare, or try to find another person who’s also looking for dog company. Place an ad or check with your vet or trainer to help you find someone who’s in the same boat you are, who also just wants to find a playmate/companion for their dog during the day. You might even be able to find someone who’s home most of the day and would be happy to have Hendrix come and keep his or her dog company. Or you might even find someone who doesn’t have a dog, but would love the priviledge of spending a few hours a day with someone else’s sweet dog. There’s a solution, if you’re willing to be creative.

    If you were to consider another dog, I wouldn’t necessarily go with a puppy, but maybe an older dog who’s already house trained. I’d go with a smaller gentle female of a different breed, say a spaniel, or a small poodle–in other words find a breed not known for pulling, or for barking, or for being hard to train. Then you’re just adding another wonderful, quiet dog and not another problem. And, of course, it has to be a dog that Hendrix has met and likes.

    At any rate, you should know that I’m not a breeder or a dog trainer–just someone who’s spent my life with several different breeds of dogs. Please speak with a couple of local trainers and people familiar with the Northern Inuit, and seek their advice as well.

    Wishing you, and Hendrix, good luck.

  26. I have a 4 year old Northern Inuit. My partner and myself have recently moved from a small house with a large grassed garden to a large house with a small back yard. Our dog has not settled in our new house. He has always been a very loving placid dog, but has got even quiter and more reserved since we moved. Due to work commitments we are not at home with Hendrix as often as we would like to be, but have my mum come to check on him 3 times a week to break up his day. He loves other dogs and does not have an aggressive bone in his body.
    We are thinking about getting a puppy to keep hendrix company while we are at work. We both adore dogs but do not particully want another dog as hendrix is hard enough to walk by himself! And plus we are more than happy with our baby boy.
    Do you feel he will be happier with a companion throughout the day when we are at work. Or do you feel this will cause more problems?

    Thank you

  27. I have a Havanese puppy, just 6 months old (and fixed)…and have a chance to get another Havanese puppy (12 weeks old) from the same breeder that I truly trust! Just wondering if I’m crazy getting another puppy now, or is the advice the sooner the better?! I just don’t want to upset our little Chelsea…she’s very calm and smart and I think she’d do well with a friend?! Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!
    Jan :)

  28. Hi Jan. In order to really answer your question, I’d want to ask you a few questions myself. Like: Have you had other Havaneses before your current puppy? Have you had two dogs together before? How much time do you have? Do you want another puppy for you as well as Chelsea. (Read this post for more information on choosing and introducing a new dog to an old dog.)

    I’m going to make some assumptions just to get going. I’m going to assume that you’re very familiar with the Havanese breed and that you have the time to house-train and train another puppy while continuing to train your Chelsea.

    Assuming that you are familiar with the breed, adding another puppy isn’t likely to throw you off with putting unfamiliar behaviors and traits into the mix, as, say, getting a herding dog would. And that’s a good thing. You don’t want to be dealing with a new-breed learning curve on top of handling two puppies.

    Assuming you have the time, having two puppies to raise at the same time is a lot of work. Sort of like having twins–there’s not a ton of time to just enjoy them in the beginning. But the plus-side is that when you’re done with house-training and basic obedience, you’re done. (Of course, supporting training never ends.)

    If that hasn’t scared you off, then you’re probably in a good place to get another puppy. I’d hope that the puppy isn’t from both the same sire and dam as Chelsea is. And I’d recommend getting a male puppy to lessen the chances of same-sex rivalry.

    You say you think Chelsea would like a playmate, but not all dogs need another dog to be happy. Some do just fine being an only. You haven’t described what it is about Chelsea that makes you think she’d be happiest with another dog. Has she been around other dogs where you see a marked enthusiasm for their company? Has Chelsea met this puppy and been happy to play with it?
    And, lastly, there’s no rush. Sooner is not necessarily better. What matters most is that it’s the right time for you. Is this 12 week old pup a dog the breeder contacted you about, or were you the one looking?

    The most important thing is that YOU are wanting and ready for another puppy.

    Hope that helps.

  29. Hi Renee! I completely understand you not wanting her to be dominated; that’s not crazy at all. You have a sweet, happy dog and you want to keep her that way.

    Because this isn’t a short answer, I’m going to do a post on choosing and introducing a new dog for tomorrow. After you read it tomorrow, if you have any other questions feel free to ask away!

  30. I have a mini aussie a little over a year old. I’ve been thinking of getting another dog as a companion for her. I am home most of the time, so I have time for two. I play with Sierra a few times a day throwing frisbee, etc. but she still badgers me to play at times when I’m busy. I thought having another dog may be good for her. My sister visits every once in a while and brings a much smaller dog and Sierra LOVES having the company. Sierra is a very sweet dog who loves all people and all dogs. She is very submissive around bigger dogs. I know this sounds crazy, but I don’t want her to be dominated if we get a new dog; she’s my baby doll! I’m thinking of a small (male?) dog from a shelter or rescue group. Thoughts, advice?

  31. i love labradors

    Thank you sooooo much Karen for your prompt response!!! I feel more comfortable now with my plan :o) My lab is exactly 1 year and 5 months. I would say he is an obedient dog. He loves playing and has a wonderful personality. He likes to love us and contantly wants to stay close to us. He is very attentive and he was quite easy to train. I am glad to hear that there shouldn’t be any problems with keeping one of his female pups from his litter.
    Thanks again for your response and I wish you a wonderful day!!!!!

  32. Debbie, you should do just fine with a female puppy from your Stud. If there are going to be problems with two or more dogs, it’s typically with same-sex dogs, then same-age dogs of similar dominance levels.

    You’re easily avoiding all that by choosing a dog that’s opposite in sex to your current dog, not the same age, and not from the same litter. This will greatly diminish the chances for fighting. Of course, nothing is ever a guarantee whenever you put two animals together, but chances are very good that they would be bestest of friends.

    Your puppy will be attentive and obey if you train her–just like any other dog. You don’t mention how old your current Lab is, and to what extent you’ve trained him. If he’s well-trained, he’ll actually be a help with training the new puppy. Kiera helped show Graidy the ropes so it was a snap to train him. If he’s not well-trained, it can be tough to train two dogs together. Add a lot of puppy energy to that and you’ll really have your hands full.

    You might have read that puppies gotten at the same time bond more to each other than they do to you. I have not found this to be true, but then I spend a lot of time training them and spending time with each of them individually. Both of my dogs love me madly and would prefer to have me all to themselves if they could, but they also really love to play with each other, and when I’m not around they are glad for each other’s company.

  33. Hey Melissa, I had Kiera alone for a couple of years before I got Graidy. Actually, let me back up; I’d had two other dogs with Kiera, so she’s never been alone for long.

    I started with her and her deaf sister, Molly as puppies. I didn’t know then that it wasn’t advisable to get puppies of the same age, same sex, or same litter. Three strikes there. I had to rehome Molly (found her a wonderful home and still am in touch with her). Then Magic, a rescue mix came along about six months later. He and Kiera were true loves. He died from Lyme disease complications 2 1/2 yrs later.

    I waited two years after Magic to get Graidy. Kiera was 4 and Graidy was approx. 1. They do wonderfully together.

    Knowing what I know now, I’d wait at least a year before I’d bring a second dog on. That ensures that you really have time to bond with your dog, train it well, and really get to know its personality. And it’s much safer to go with opposite sexes. Having them be different ages helps too.
    When I found Magic and Graidy, and knew they were the dogs I wanted, I then brought Kiera to meet them on neutral ground, to see how they’d do together. If it hadn’t worked out well there, I wouldn’t have brought them home.

    Knowing what it’s like when dogs don’t get along–and that’s the case more often than you might guess–it really is worth it to take your time and go slow to make sure you have the right match.

    When it’s the right match, it’s glorious!

    Good luck! And let me know how it goes.

  34. Thanks so much for your insight! I am looking to adopt another dog for all of the reasons that you listed. How long had you had one before the other?


  35. Just read your book excerpt… wow! It’s really good… and I thought I was the only one who claimed a spiritual connection to my doggie! Now I can proudly tell my friends that I’m not completely insane.

    Thanks for the nice comments about the dog blog, you have a great blog here too.

  36. Watching dogs play is one of my favorite pastimes. Doing a slow-mo video would be a fantastic way to see what amazing control they actually exhibit.

    Really enjoyed your site. I’ll be back!

  37. Hey thanks for visiting Karen,

    I love watching them play, one of these days I’ll make a movie out of it and slow it down to watch exactly what is going on, I’m just amazed how they don’t hurt each other all the time.

  38. Mosilager, love the pics of your dogs on your blog. Very sweet! Kiera and Graidy are about the same weight, though Graidy looks a lot lighter. And he looks faster when he runs. But Kiera nails him every time–she’s lightening fast!

  39. The games are so funny… our guys do those as well. Although they love wrestling with each other more than anything, inside or outside. One outweighs the other by approximately 20 lbs but the lightweight is the one who always wins!

  40. i love labradors

    I have a really quick question and would like to know if someone could answer it for me. I am looking to place my labrador Stud in a newspaper add to find a mate and am hoping to keep one of the puppies from the litter. I have seen how two male dogs get a bit agressive with one another as they want to show who is the more dominant. So I have decided if i choose to get a pup from his litter that i would get a female and have her spayed right away. What are your thougths on this and will she be attentive to us and obey? How well do two dogs from the opposite sex get along together? I am not getting them for breeding purposes as she will be fixed. I just would like to have another lab and a pup from his litter :o)

    Thanks for your answers.

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