One dog or two?


Honored Member
Just wondered what the dog lovers on this website think--One dog or two?

I've never had two dogs before
--i had some 'fur-less' kids back then..:msngiggle: I've been thinking of rescuing one more---at some point in the future --after our new dog Buddy is all totally secure here and all.

I have a 2-3? year old neutered male BC, and daydream sometimes of getting a lil female BC, too. Buddy seems SOOooo interested in even dogs going by out the window, he seems almost lonesome for another dog to play with, when he does get a chance to play with another dog, he is in nirvana.:doglaugh:
Of course we'd hafta be sure they get along and all that, and do the introductions in neutral setting, etc etc, to see how they'd click and all. But i'm picturing how much fun that'd be, two lil dogs all playing and having fun with each other...

WHAT'S IT LIKE? Is it twice as much work, or do they bounce off each other somewhat, so it's half as less work?
Anyone out there ever regret getting a second dog, like, there was troubles, or what? Is it too much to have two border collies? Wouldn't they kinda need to run and play together, to burn off some of their energy?:dogbiggrin:
Do two dogs who live together play together on their own, or do you hafta get it all started up for them? What is it like?

All thoughts/replies appreciated!!! I admire the community here, and everyone's 2cents is welcome!!

Jean Cote

Staff member
LOL. There is good & bad with having two dogs.

The good:

Both dogs can play together in the backyard. It's great for exercise when they run after each other.

It challenges you as a trainer, since all dogs are different in their own way, so you have to adapt your training skills to the individual dog.

You can get different breeds for different purposes. I have a B.C. to play fetch with, a Siberian Husky to pull me on skis. :)

Having two dogs tend to make them give a little more during sessions, maybe because they value time with you more, i don't know. :)

The not so good:

Twice as much food must be bought, Twice as much crap to pick up, Twice as many baths, More grooming, etc.... :)

The bed can get a little crowded with 2 adults and 2 dogs in it. :)

LOL. I'll write more as I think about it!


Experienced Member
As long as your current dog gets along with other dogs I say go for it!!! I don't think 2 dogs are twice as much work as one, however I think 3 dogs is way more then x2 as much work (they know they outnumber the adults!). But you should make sure that you are getting the 2nd dog for you, and not for your other dog as you are the one who will have to do all the work!

They likely will play together and become great friends. To answer your question, yes they do initiate play on their own, I've never had to get my dogs started. To me, the main benefit is just having another personality in the house, another being to love and train- I love training my dogs and seeing how each one thinks differently.

- If your first dog isn't really trained, you now have 2 untrained dogs in the house who will learn bad habits from each other.
- Also, it can be difficult trying to do training sessions with 2 dogs. I've trained the non-working dog to "place" (lie down on bed) while I'm training the other one, but it can still be hard.
- They may not get along. Or maybe they do get along, but you still have to manage certain things like resource guarding toys/bones/food dishes.
- Time. You have to walk, play with, and mentally stimulate 2 dogs instead of just one. Yes they will play alot with each other (hopefully), but they still need additional exercise and ALONE time with you.
- money. vet bills, feeding bills, boarding costs etc.

Overall I love having more then one dog. I plan to add in a third, but not for awhile. I never recommend adding an additional dog though until your first dog is well trained with at least the foundational behaviors and you have the time to devote to training the new dog!


Honored Member
Staff member
As for simply breeds, I can definitely say my BC/ACD mix has 15 times as much energy and physical/mental needs as my BC. Simply a difference in dogs...but nonetheless, I keep up with my four dogs fairly easily. Two BCs are not necessarily hard I would say--you just double up your time. Two rescue BCs I would say can be difficult. You've seen yourself what you've experienced with a BC with an unknown history. Let's say you got another rescue with another unknown history, but this time maybe she had a history of abuse or severe storm anxiety, or who knows what. Buddy's just getting adjusted to being part of a family, and if you brought one in who had a lot of training/socialization needs, he's likely to be cast aside(unintentionally). However, we did have a member here not that long ago who had 11 rescued BCs. (Pretty sure it was 11, may have been more.)

I think it takes a lot more work to trust two dogs on off-leash walks. Mine are all off-leash trained but it's taken sooooooooo much work to have them not only have wonderful recall, but have wonderful recall with distractions, with their buddies. I still wouldn't trust Zeke to not dash after a sheep if he saw one on a walk, with or without his buddies.(Which wouldn't happen, but still, lol.)

Many dogs really crave canine companions. Zeke would love to be my only boy, but gosh he loves Mudflap. He's extremely reliant on Mud and Rusty--he's leery of another dog until one of them initiates play, he likes people but isn't an outgoing social butterfly until the butterfly herself(Mud) greets the person with a crazy wagging tail. Tennis balls didn't even mildly interest him until he saw Mud having so much fun with them. So in his case, I really think he needs canine companionship. He's a very timid dog and is always more open-minded and confident to new situations with a buddy.
If you have the time and desire to devote to both dogs, then go for it! Just keep Buddy's needs and personality in mind when you do look for another dog. If you go for a rescue, although it's nice to take in and work with the behavior problems, it can really disrupt your other dog's stability. For Buddy's sake, it might be best to find a rescue with a known history, something that will help you know what you're getting into. Makes it easier on you too. :)


New Member
Pip's life changed so much after I decided to get Bodi. To begin with I was very afraid of bringing a puppy in to my dog-aggressive-dog and before I made the final decision I started really hunting for things that I could do to lessen the possibility that there would be problems between the dogs. So, I started reading and learning and it was the first time that I found clicker/positive training. Pip's life became immediately better. We started desensitizing and counter conditioning about 2 months before Bodi came home. Now Pip can go places, and be around other dogs -- he's even enrolled in an introduction to Rally class where he is turning out to be the star student :)

My two run and play and romp and tease each other a lot. A LOT. No one needs to get them started; as a matter of fact, sometimes it's really hard to get them stopped. They just romp. Pip does this thing where if Bodi has something that he wants (a rawhide, or a favorite spot next to the couch) he will find a squeaky toy and start playing with it as if it's the most fun thing in the world. Soon Bodi can't stand it and has to join in the game, leaving whatever Pip had wanted to begin with. It takes about 2 seconds for Pip to drop the toy and go get his spot back, leaving Bodi standing with a toy but no playmate. Silly puppy just can't resist the game.

Pip is doing things he would never have done because Bodi is there, and Bodi gets confidence from Pip to try new things -- he won't jump into the truck unless Pip is already in, even though he's plenty big enough. Bodi is afraid of going into new places like the doggie school and PetSmart (I'm not sure if it's the door itself that scares him or the new experience) but if Pip goes through the door first Bodi will go in after him, whining the whole time and doing a two-steps forward, one-step back thing, but he'll go. I think they're great for each other.

The worst thing is trying to arrange separate training sessions. If Pip isn't around the puppy is hunting for him and that becomes its own distraction. Pip hates the sound of the clicker when it isn't clicking for him and tries to horn in on everything. Freeshaping is really hard when there are two dogs in the living room.

The second worst thing is the feeding. The puppy isn't gaining nearly as much weight as I would like and Pip is heavier than he has ever been. He actually has a little paunch. If I try to fix up puppy food for the pup they switch bowls and Pip eats it, and when I try to feed them seperately the puppy is so worried about where Pip is that it's hard to get him interested in the food. I've gone back to hand feeding the puppy like I did the first couple of weeks that I had him.

I've read that having two dogs of about the same age and of the same gender can cause problems, but I don't really know about that. Pip is 10 years old and the puppy is 7 months so there is no question about who is the boss and there is no power struggle. It might be something to keep in mind if you decide to get another one. I'd also very much recommend Patricia McConnell's book "Feeling Outnumbered" I learned a lot about teaching them to wait their turns and handle their frustration.

In reading back over this it kinda sounds like Bodi is more attached to Pip than he is to me, which is really not the case. But, he is attached to Pip too, and being with the older dog is very important to him.

Hope some of this helps :) It's a big decision and not one you want to jump into without some real thought and consideration.


Honored Member
Wow, THANK you all SO much for these stories, i REEALLY appreciate the insights!! I enjoyed each word, and think i will force myself to wait a while more and give King Buddy some more "only" time. I really haven't had Buddy very long, but he sure seems lonesome for another dog, and i'd love to get another too.
The advice above REALLY helped me learn and realize more what it'd be like to have more than one dog. I appreciate this info more than i can say.
When the time comes, I do think i will go through a rescue, the kind where fosters are living with the dog and would be able to tell me about the dog, that'd help. Certainly, even a dog that something is known about~in another home, with another dog~ may be different than what the fosters experienced...but overall, a mellow dog is probably gonna be mostly mellow, a hyper dog would likely still have hyperness to burn off, etc.

Buddy was a dog-pound dog, with zero known background or characteristics, a complete mystery to us. We studied up as much as we could about bringing home a new dog, too, to help us make less mistakes. But we sorta figured IF we DID get a dog with issues, we might be as good of a chance a traumatized dog might find, i know that sounds conceited, but we figured we were good home, not that we are experts, but we really knew we were totally committed/devoted to put in the effort, to help out whatever kind of dog our lil fella turned out to be. Bringing home a total mystery dog= It's only a fine line between love and stupid!!:msngiggle: We couldn't/wouldn't bring home a total mystery dog for a 2nd dog, though.

We were braced and ready to take the time to help out whatever his problems were. So he was a gangsta. :dogcool: An 'unsure-what-humans-are-for' gangsta. I do think Buddy had been hit by someone at some point, cuz he ducks if he sees me with a flashlight, or any stick shaped object....

Buddy sure did have some issues, and dispite my best intentions, through ignorance, i did make a mistake or two in dealing with his issues, but it is all working out beautifully now. It's amazing how fast he is becoming secure, not really a 'gangsta' anymore, quit biting people and other dogs, now Buddy LOVES other dogs now, is a real lil gentleman now (mostly).:msngiggle: !

I sure enjoyed the stories, sure did! I LEARNED A LOT. Lot to think about!!

Can't wait til Buddy is more rooted here, he does have some more things to learn, so do we:msngiggle: BUT I WILL GET ANOTHER, further on down the road!! THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH!!


Experienced Member
I've always had 2 or 3 dogs. I think it's a lot more work for two dogs as compared tio one dog. Three compared to 2 didn't seem that much different though. Take your time and get Buddy all setttled in and happy and confident. I think dogs do very much enjoy the company of other dogs and it is greatly rewarding for them.

Just be ready to do the extra wod and training. Seeing my dogs interact with one another is almost as wonderful ans interactin with them myself. Good for you for resucing also. We'll be looking forward to pictures. :dogbiggrin:


New Member
Just my 2 cents... I don't think I could have 2 dogs at once... BUT I grew up as an only child so I think my personal background has a lot to do with it. Feebs n I have a very close one-on-one kind of relationship and I don't thin I could be fair to 2 dogs to have the same quality bond...Although... the idea HAS crossed my mind... but then if it didn't work out I'd feel SOOOO bad.


Experienced Member
I would always have two dogs but saying having 2 I wouldnt have them around the same age. I did have 4 dogs on the go and that was hard work but now I am down to three. Saying that I have 2 dogs living with me and the other dog is living with my mum but I am always over there and I compete with all three dogs so I find its not that hard. As long as everyone gets along its great. Its only if you have one that is more dominant that wants to fight. ( I have a friend that has to keep two of her dogs seperate at all times or they will fight to kill so she has been to the vets with dogs to get stitched up as they sort of forgotten who was in. she has 4 dogs)
At the moment I have a 10 year old fully trained in both obedience and agility and she is still competing strong. I have a 7 year old fully trained in both obedience and agility as well. I dont need to do that much training with them only practice my weak stuff LOL. and my 19 month old and I am focussing on her in getting her titles. All three of them are fine and they all get lots of attention from me.

Feeding 3 dogs dont cost me much as I do win lots of dog food but like Jean said more crap to pick up more vet costs but the companionship overrides it all. LOL

I wouldn't ever get 2 dogs near the same age as I dont want to train 2 inexperienced dogs at the same time I'm usually ready for a new dog when my girl is fully trained normally around the 6 year age gap
Danni and the girls