When I hired a dog trainer, he said that 9 out of 10 trainers would discourage anyone from getting two puppies at the same time. However, many breeders/dog agents think it is fine to get two puppies at the same time and be raising two puppies at once. So who is right?
Our Own Tale of Two Puppies
When we got two puppies, I hired a trainer to help me with starting off on the right foot. However, after the end of the session, I was almost in tears. The trainer immediately blamed the breeder for upselling me two dogs.
However, I knew for a fact that, in our situation at least, that was not the case. She had a waiting list a mile long. If I didn’t want two puppies at once, then one would have been immediately snatched up by another family the second I said no. So, that was not the issue. However, he left making me feel like I made a big mistake getting the two puppies. It sounded like the next 10-15 years were going to be complete dog mayhem.
Two Puppies…Two Opinions
Rather than throw in the towel, I consulted another trainer. Initially, I did not tell her about my previous trainer encounter. When she arrived at our house, she was not shocked at our two puppies. It didn’t even phase her. I asked her if she thought having two puppies at the same time was a bad idea. She said no – you train them all at once, you housebreak them all at once and they have a playmate too. “One and done when you have two”, she said.
I asked “Then what is the negativity was around having two puppies at once?” She said the main problem with getting two puppies at the same time, is that you don’t want them to bond with each other. You want them to bond with you. It happens naturally when it is just you and one puppy. With two, they naturally want to bond with each other. However, with the right strategy, and the right dog parent, it is something that can be handled. It is not having two puppies at once that is the real problem. It is the failure of the dog owner not to manage it correctly.
She suggested the following:
1. Crate separately
Don’t crate them together, or have their crates next to each other. When crated, keep them in separate rooms or away from line of sight from each other. They learn to be independent of each other.
2. Switch things up
If your brown puppy slept in the crate in your room last night and the white puppy was crated downstairs, the next night you should switch. Alternatively, have a puppy sleep with one of your children and switch the next night if you want to make sure they have company.
3. Spend time with each alone
Going to pick up your son from school? Bring the brown puppy today and the white puppy tomorrow. Have one child play with the white puppy outside while you play with the brown puppy inside.
4. Minimize play fighting
It is important for puppies to play with other puppies as part of their socialization. They played with their litter mates before they were plucked out and plopped down at your home! So you need to act as the alpha litter mate and play with them too. If they are playing together for too long or too roughly, however, step in and distract them from each other – and focus on you.
Most trainers probably do advise not getting two puppies at the same time because it is a lot of extra work to do the above. However, it is important to know that it IS doable. You are not doomed for having two puppies at the same time. You just need to take charge to make sure you establish the right relationship in your pack during the first year. It will pay off in the long run.