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Hi there,

A month ago I adopted the cutest blue heeler mix. We're not sure what he's mixed with, but the vet things possibly some kind of terrier. He's about 3 months old now, and is ridiculously smart, and loves to please my wife and I.

We've been thinking about also adopting a boxer from the local boxer rescue. We're thinking about finding one that's 1 or 2 years old, instead of a younger puppy.

How is it owning multiple dogs? Other than the obvious of cleaning up more poop, buying more food, etc, what can one expect? What about crating two dogs during the day until they can be trusted to have run of the house?

What are your thoughts/opinions?
 

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How is it? It seems perfectly natural and wonderful to me. I wouldn't know how to act with just one dog. :)

It's important that they get along, so if you can, take your puppy to meet the boxer a few times and observe their interactions. And also take the puppy with you when you bring the boxer home. When you get home, before going in, take them for a walk together. Dogs bond by walking together. Then you can bring the new dog into the home of the resident dog. Keep them leashed just so you can interfere if there are any problems, but with a 3 month old pup, you shouldn't have any problems. Keep the attitude that everything is going to go smoothly. And if it doesn't, sometimes it can take a few weeks to adjust.

It's important to protect both of the dogs from the other, should the boxer be annoyed by your puppy's excited energy or the puppy scared by the boxer. This may not happen at all, they may get along like best friends from the start, which would be great. But, spend quality time with each dog individually until your pup gets a little older and more on the same wavelength as the adult dog.

And yes, it's absolutely fine to crate them both while you're gone, as long as they each have their own crate.

Good luck on your decision.

Edited to add: I got 2 puppies, raised them until they were about 5, got another puppy, waited 7 months, then got my last puppy. But I don't work outside the home and had all the time in the world to devote to them.
 

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I love having more than one, provided they get along, it's great. I've found that with another dog they are somewhat less demanding and burn alot of energy playing with eachother. One thing I had some difficulty getting used to was walking more than one at the same time, and if there is alot of rough housing, your house may take a harder hit. When mine were crated, I crated them side by side in two crates, no troubles.
 

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FIC gave great advice. I also wanted to add that it's important to keep spending quality time with your individual dogs. Train separately. Cuddle them separately. Take them on separate outings now and then. I'm not saying they shouldn't get to spend any time together... they should certainly be allowed to play together and enjoy some group training sessions together. But it's important that they remain independent of each other, and also important that the bond between you and your individual dogs remains stronger than the bond between your dogs.

Owning multiple dogs is expensive... think twice the vet bills, twice the food bills (may be more depending on the size of your dogs), twice the grooming bills, etc. It's fine to crate both dogs till they can be trusted in the house; it's even fine to crate just one dog if only one of them can be trusted. Learn about dog-dog relationships, how to introduce dogs, how to break up a fight, how to prevent fights.

I do think that you should wait a little before adopting a second dog... a 3 month puppy is a lot of work -- he thinks you're the center of the world right now, but just give it half a year or so and you'll be in for a bit of a shock -- and a 1 year old Boxer is very high-energy. It will be a bit of a stretch for you guys. I would either wait until your puppy is older or look to adopt a second dog that is closer to 2 years old. As for two puppies simultaneously, that is not something I would even consider putting myself through.
 

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I have always had 2-3 dogs in the house. BUT, I wait until the youngest one is at least one year old (usually 18 months) before bringing another dog into the house. Puppies need so much training and attention that I've found it nearly impossible to have more than one well behaved dog, let alone 2-3, if they are all brought home at the same time.

You've only had the heeler for one month. Believe me, you haven't seen all of his "act" yet. There will be things that annoy and perplex you in the next year or so. Give it time.
Spend some time with your heeler doing puppy obedience classes, let him go through adolescence with all of your attention when he backslides, enjoy the puppy days.

Owning more than one is a handful. Just when you think you get them trained to wait when the door opens, one bolts out and the other one is on the chase. They will compete for your attention, negative or positive, they don't care which. Walking two dogs can be challenging, even if both individually have been angels on leashes in obedience class. They may or may not like each other. My two papillons are littermates (obtained 8 years apart) and they don't really have much to do with the pom. They can all eat side by side, but they don't care to play the same games. The papillons were show dogs and are perfect ladies on a leash, when they are walked alone. But put them together and you could use them for sled dogs! Generally they live together peacefully. But put out 4 chewies and each one MUST HAVE the one that someone else has! Then we start the growling and circling until a human steps in. Yes, that was four chewies for three dogs. You'd think they could work it out, but no... They can be the best of friends or end up having nothing to do with each other. They can play together or get into trouble together.

We crate our dogs during the day when we are gone, at night, and any time they are in a moving vehicle. I don't trust that if they found a piece of bully stick behind the sofa that their wouldn't be a war with just blood and guts when we got home. Also, if anyone gets sick from either end the mess is contained to the crate and not spread all over the house. You've already worked out that there is more food and poop, but there is also more messes in the house as well as vet bills.

I could be happy with just one dog and really get more in depth with agility or obedience with that dog. With multiple dogs we tend to rotate with them through classes and no one really gets great at any one thing. But I can't imagine my life without any of them. Each one came to us for a reason. The first papillon came because she failed to thrive and the breeder didn't have the time with traveling to shows and such to deal with sorting out her problems. And it took us 5 years to figure out her issues. At that time she was the only dog in the house as she required a lot of attention. Then when she was about 5 years old we acquired the pom as she was on a PTS list because she bit the officer who picked her up as a tray at the shelter where we volunteer. My daughter just couldn't stand the thought of a great dog being put down (she had been with the dog during intake at the shelter) just because she showed fear. The second papillon (only other littermate to the first) finished her show career, whelped a few litters for the breeder, and needed a retirement home. We had watched her in the shows over the years and loved her as much as the first papillon. So we took her at 8 years old to give her a forever home.

So each of our dogs came as individuals when the time was right. We've had one dog in the house and even before the papillon came we had just lost two dogs to old age over a period of two years.
 

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I had Belle for about 1 yr then got Penny (4months now). Next time, I am getting two puppies at the same time. The physical work, IMO is much better than the emotional work with Belle.
 

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Well, I can say for sure I love it a lot more than just owning one. I have always had 2+ dogs until moving out and then I just took my girl. It was a real adjustment for us both. I'm already looking to add a friend for her, we're both much better in a multi-dog household!
 

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I have to agree w/ briteday - wait it out a bit. Having two dogs is great and there are many advantages & disadvantages as mentioned, but I wouldn't recommend anyone add a second dog this quickly after acquiring their first. Just my two cents.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks everyone for the advice!

If I do add a second dog, it will be a 1 or 2 year old, rather than another puppy.
 

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I got Brutus about 2-3 weeks after getting Zero. They're my family. Zero is the well-behaved, popular child whom everyone loves. Brutus is the kid who wears leather, listens to metal, drives a motorcycle, hangs out with the wrong crowd and keeps you up all night worrying about him until he drags his butt home at 3 am drunk out of his mind and passes out on the lawn. Love 'em both, but I sometimes wonder if I'd have been better off with just one of them. I know Brutus has more days behind him than he has in front of him and I don't know if I'd add a second dog when he passes.
 

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I find having two dogs a lot less "work" than having just the one. They still need love, play, care, and attention of course, but can provide some of that for each other rather than having to rely completely on you 100% of the time.
 

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I will never be able to stand having just one dog ever again. I never realized how empty my house was with only one. Now I have three and I'm pushing for AT LEAST one more.

I got the easy part, though. All of mine (save for Smalls) are older rescues and we did not have to go through the puppy stuff, and training is different (and to me, easier). I raised Smalls from a pup and didn't get Jack until she was 2.
 

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I find having two dogs a lot less "work" than having just the one. They still need love, play, care, and attention of course, but can provide some of that for each other rather than having to rely completely on you 100% of the time.
I think so too. I went from a house of 6 dogs, to a house with one. The workload really went up when I became her only source of entertainment!
 

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I think so too. I went from a house of 6 dogs, to a house with one. The workload really went up when I became her only source of entertainment!
I have had a dog of some sort for all of my life, but only ever the one at once. It was only in January this year that we got Billy (our second dog in the house) - and I still can't beleive the difference that it makes as far as workload goes.
 

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I agree with the posters who suggested you wait a bit. It can be pretty stressful to try and get aquainted with two new dogs while trying to get them used to eachother at the same time.
 

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It is great. Oh yes I crate/separate them when I can't supervise. Sometimes problems can arise but that goes without saying. I think an older dog might be good in your situation.
 

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I currently have four dogs and in about 3 months there will be a fifth. the food bill is astronomical, not to mention the time factor. also you have to be a really strong minded person to own multiple dogs, to keep being the head of the pack, also obedience and socialisation is a must
 

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Well, multiple dogs can be challenging, as well as fun. A lot will depend on the individual dogs as well. One thing to bring out, as your heeler mix matures, he may become the dominant dog, as heelers tend to prefer single dog homes. But Betty did well with Nell and Chloe. But she was the dominant girl and taught the other 2 well.

Overall, having multiple dogs is a lot of fun, as well as a lot of work. Once you get everyone on the same page, it does become easier as well. I couldn't see myself with only one dog, now that I've had multiples, lol.
 

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Thanks everyone for the advice!

If I do add a second dog, it will be a 1 or 2 year old, rather than another puppy.

Even so, they'll both be new to you and each other, and, you'll have to devote training and bonding time with each dog. You won't know what the real temperament of the adult dog is until that dog has spent a few months with you. That honeymoon period when you first bring him/her home is wonderful, but, you could end up very surprised! lol

Maddy was 16 months old before I brought home Beau, a 16-mo. old unaltered rescue, who had serious behaviorial issues (including dog-to-dog aggression), and GI problems, necessitating hand feeding 6-7 x/day for months. I had to crate and rotate them for safety for some time. Fortunately, Maddy was already very well trained. Even so, some of Beau's bad behaviors were "contagious," and she, who never barked at anyone who walked by the windows or other dogs, became a "window terrorist," too (she was, after all, still an adolescent at 16 months). A LOT of work was required to desensitize and counter-condition Beau to bring him where he is today - a lovely gentleman I can take just about anywhere.

I couldn't have done it without Maddy's help. We have a very deep bond (she literally went everywhere with me her first 6 months, from the age of 9 wks old), otherwise, it would have been a nightmare. As it was, it was a LOT of work, requiring my total committment to being persistent, consistent, and patient, spending a great deal of time with them both. Luc (Shih Tzu) was a temporary foster, whose owner couldn't take him back, so he ended up with me (after Beau's rehab)..

When I brought home my new puppy, Lucia, Maddy and Beau were 7 yrs. old, and Luc 5 yrs. old. She's also a Standard Poodle - very smart, so training is easy. However, it does demand a lot of my time, and, with two or more dogs, it's important to give each dog one-on-one time, to keep the bond with you stronger than with the other dog(s), and from getting too dependent on each other. That ain't easy! And I got lucky - ALL of my 4 dogs like each other and get along well, even chewing prized bones laying next to each other.

Good luck, whatever you decide to do!
 
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