How many of you have gone to court with your family about getting or not getting a second dog? Ok, maybe you haven’t REALLY sought legal action against your significant other/family member/best friend/children, but I’ll bet your argument was almost as dramatic as an episode of Judge Judy. This blog is going to be broken into two parts so get out your legal pads and gavels, and let the fun begin.
Part 1 is going to lay out the case of why you should not get a second dog. In part 2, I will make the argument for getting a second dog. In the end I will let you be the judge. When court is in session around the family table, here are your ready-made talking points (yes, I will be using emotion as an argument). Sidebar: Most of you know that I own two dogs, but trust me, this will not affect my case against this lifestyle, especially since they were both little monsters this morning.
1.) Cost– Dogs are expensive. Two dogs are like adding a car payment your monthly budget. It’s guaranteed that one of the two will have some unexpected medical bills that cost a small fortune. Double beds, food, crates, training (duh), leashes, collars, toys- etc. Twice the grooming, and daycare, and boarding costs. Did I mention twice the poop to scoop and hair to sweep? Most of us treat our dogs like children and they wind up costing about the same. Even if you can squeeze a second slobber mouth into your budget, why not just spoil your first one and use the extra money on a cool vacation?
2.) Time– Let’s be honest. The newest season of Orange is the New Black is about to hit your Netflix queue. Wouldn’t you rather binge watch it than have to potty train a new puppy? To say our lives are busy has become cliche, so I just ask you to look at your inbox, or your calendar, and figure out where you can double the amount of dog time. I know I sure can’t. The addition of a second dog that you don’t have time for is an added stress in your life and a disservice to the dog.
3.) The Littermate Conundrum– Raise your hand if you set out to buy a dog and ended up with two from the same litter. You saw those little balls of joy and couldn’t stand the thought of just taking one. Plus the breeder was probably telling you it will need a friend. Reality check: they are trying to sell puppies! Then those little balls of fuzz turn into huge shedding machines and begin to redecorate your house into the chewed on look. Littermates that are raised together from birth and never apart from a sibling are some of the worst dogs I’ve seen. They become dependent on each other and they look to each other for answers instead of you. Dogs must be trained to be independent. So if you don’t have the time to raise two separate puppies, steer clear of the doubles.
4.) Thinking your next dog will be just like the last one– a lot of folks have had an amazing dog. Great temperament, easy-going personality, intelligent, and well-behaved. Then you fall into the trap of thinking a second dog of the same breed you will get the same dog-w.r.o.n.g. Every dog is different, even if you get it from the same parents. Nature and early life experiences shape the dogs personality and tendencies. And odds are if you got an amazing first dog–you’ll get the hard headed, selective hearing, shoe chewing, ankle biter next.
5.) Our current dog is lonely and needs a friend!– Are you sure about that? Did he tell you he was lonely? If so, you’d better call The Tonight Show because you’re going to be famous. A lot of families fall into this trap. You are at work all day and the kids are in school and you don’t want them to be home alone. Your best bet is to bring them to our Country Club Daycation program. I do not advise getting a 2nd dog to cure this perceived loneliness. Remember- it’s your guilt driving the isolation issues, the dog could care less. They most likely sleep and gaze out the window while you’re gone. If you had another dog, it would do the exact same thing. And, if your dog does have some separation anxiety, another dog will not cure them (but patience and a qualified trainer might). Thinking that your child is old enough to take care of his or her own dog is one of the big reason shelters are so full. Taking care of living animal is a big responsibility and one that tweens and teens are not ready for.
These arguments should absolutely win your case for not getting a second family dog. The only thing that might beat these arguments are the ones I’m going to lay out in part 2…stay tuned.