Dog owners will tell you that owning a dog, is the best thing in the world. The feeling that you get when your pet looks at you with their big beautiful eyes. When they stare at you, it’s like they can see right into your soul.
When my Finn stares at me, I swear he knows what I am thinking. He has human eyes.
My partner and I got our dog BOO in 2004. He was just an 8-week-old puppy, full of love. He was a very good dog, but to be honest, we carried him around quite a bit and was more like a baby. We raised him for 5 years as the only dog in the house. When he was 5 we decided to get our 2nd dog FINN.
The first day we brought FINN home, I think Boo had no idea what was happening. They sniffed each other out and right away were pretty much the best of friends.
There are many benefits of owning 2 dogs, for us the biggest surprise of all, was the change in our dog BOO.
You always hear people say if you have 1 dog, 2 is not any harder. Let’s be honest, nobody actually believes that, I don’t think anyway. The truth really depends on the dogs personalities and how well-behaved they are. If they are bad dogs, then the bad is 2x as bad. But if they are good, it really is LOVE x2.
At first, we didn’t really have any expectations as to what it would be like to have 2 dogs. I think we just figured, we would manage 2 dogs, just as it comes. We all know what it is like to have a puppy around, it is a lot of work. Once they get a bit older, then the work does taper off.
Like I said BOO was a very good dog, so it’s not like he instantly became better behaved or worse behaved.
BOO was so used to following us everywhere and needing constant attention as the only dog. He was just being what we wanted him to be, I don’t even think he knew how to be a dog before FINN. Sadly we didn’t notice that TIL we got a 2nd dog. We thought he was a normal small dog and that small dogs were just like that.
Over time the change became dramatic. No longer did BOO need us constantly to entertain him, go outside when he needed to go or be his everything. He walked different, ate differently and even started to lift his leg to pee like his big brother. We realized, that he finally knew what it meant to be a dog.
Getting the second dog offers many bonuses for the family. After a bit of time passes and everybody settles in, which can take a while. HAHA Luckily for us this was a quick transition. They hit if off right away, so we had no issues.
BOO was always in his kennel when we would leave the house. Obviously with a puppy, FINN was also being kennelled. Just putting the kennels side by side, provided a huge change in how BOO was by the time we got home.
Typically, he has always been a dog with separation anxiety and would get a bit frantic when you would leave him. Once FINN was in his own kennel right beside him, he was like a different dog. Proof that dogs that are alone, really just want a companion to spend the day together while we all go to work every day.
The bottom line was as long as FINN was fine with being alone, BOO was fine. His lack of stress and more calm demeanor came from FINN’s behaviour. He really started mimicking his brother’s moves in every way. His confidence, playfulness and sense of adventure just because he saw FINN doing it. Dog’s pack type mentality really does exist.
With just having one little dog, getting out for dog park time or long walks, just didn’t really happen. BOO was more the dog standing next to us at the dog park instead of running and playing with the other dogs. We would go all the way to the dog park and he wouldn’t leave our side. Not quite the typical dog park experience you hope for.
There was no playing fetch, running or just playing with another dog at all for that matter.
FINN changed all that for BOO. Big dogs, as we know, generally love playing ball, Frisbee and even just a trip to the dog park. FINN is no different, he loves all of those fun things. The first time to the dog park with a 6 mos baby FINN and it was like a light switch went on in BOO. He follows everything FINN does, run, grab the ball, play with other dogs, a total transformation.
Just seeing him change like that and really learn how to be a dog and play like a dog was amazing. We really never realized how much he hadn’t been behaving like a regular dog. It’s funny watching 2 little dogs’s play, but FINN the bigger he got just adapted to his growing size and would lay down on his back if necessary just to play evenly.
Generally when we have a sibling, the older sibling is the one that leads the example for the pack. In the dog world for us, BOO the older one really follows FINN’s whose is the younger one, lead. Together they are the sweetest brothers.
As they got older, we stopped putting them in their kennels when we would leave the house. The two of them have the house to themselves. They are both completely trustworthy in the house alone and to this day have never wrecked or destroyed anything. A misplaced toy may somehow throughout the day end up on the bed, hmm wonder how that happens. But we never came home to a mess.
Now if you sneak up on them, you can seem them both cuddling on the chair or love seat together like 2 peas in a pod.
Finally, a dog free vacation for Mom.
We all know as dog owners, that no matter how much we love our dogs, sometimes it’s just nice to get a break and take a dog free vacation. Reset and reboot, I call it.
When you have 1 dog big or small, you always feel that sense of guilt when you start thinking of taking a dog free vacation. Before we had FINN we didn’t go anywhere that we couldn’t take BOO with us. The thought of leaving our little 10lb Bubba in some cage alone for days, just never felt like something we could do. So, we just didn’t do it.
Maybe part of it was worrying about his separation anxiety or just that you are never sure what happens to your pet once you drop him at a kennel and drive away. Somehow, once we had 2 dogs, we didn’t find it as hard to leave them. No matter what they at least had each other. Yes of course the mom guilt is still there, but it does alleviate a bit of it.
The other option we started doing instead of dropping them at a dog kennel, was to have a dog sitter actually come to our house and stay with the dogs, while we were gone.
I personally really like this option, as the dogs stay in their own home and are way more comfortable while you are away. Even though someone else is staying at the house, and it may take a bit to get comfortable, they still have each other no matter what.
Is 2 dogs really better than 1?
I have lived 5 years with 1 dog and now hitting more than 10 years with 2 dogs. In my personal experience the benefits of having 2 dogs far out way just having 1.
Yes I’ve described how much BOO changed after getting a sibling. But even for me, I love the feeling that 2 dogs give you. Each one in their own way give me and my family all the unconditional love that you can’t just get from having 1 dog.
I am not going to lie of course there is some extra work having 2 dogs. How can there not be. The fact that it does cost more for vets, grooming and food of course comes into play.
But you really do get more out of 2 dogs that no amount of saved money can give you. So yes you may have less money in the bank and have to load 2 dogs into the car when you want to go somewhere, but it really is worth it.
The benefits of owning 2 dogs is bottom line all about the love that having 2 dogs can give to you. I can’t imagine my life without FINN or BOO and honestly I don’t believe that BOO at almost 16 years of age would still be here today. The constant get up and go that FINN has really does keep BOO moving. He never wants to be left behind, so I believe it plays a key into how long a dog lives.
To this day, our dogs’s have never been apart from each other for any length of time. Yes we groom them separately, but the dog not getting groomed stays home with one of us, so that they aren’t home alone.
Sadly as both our dogs get closer to the end of their life, the realization that one will go before the other, is hard to imagine. I don’t even know how the one left behind will deal with the loss of their brother, but I guess we will all cross that bridge when we get there.