When you make that big decision to bring home a puppy, you may be tempted to bring home a sibling. The thought that your puppy would have another canine friend to play with when you cannot give him the attention he craves and a brother or sister to grow old with can be very appealing to many. It is not only pet lovers new to dog ownership that may consider two pups, but seasoned and professional dog trainers often times do the same. Myths and debate abound on the topic of raising two siblings form the same litter within a home. Can it be done? Yes. Is it easy? No!
The most popular myth that comes along with the topic of raising two sibling puppies is that they will not bond with their family. The belief states that the puppies will bond only with each other, will not train, socialize, or play with their human family as much as a single puppy. While two puppies will spend a lot of their time playing together, they will still seek human attention and guidance as comes with the instincts of a domesticated pet dog.
Dogs are incredibly social, especially with humans and other dogs. Other dogs speak their language and can appropriately respond to the subtle cues that we humans miss in doggy body language. Along with the fact that dogs are able to rough house, chase, and bound together unlike they can with a human this combination makes it obviously clear that dogs naturally love other dogs. While dogs can, and do, bond together this canine bond does not replace the one they have with their human companions.
The truth is, raising two puppies is literally double the work, training, socialization and play. It also means two crates, two play pens or gated areas to contain the puppies and at least one larger area so that they can play safely together while supervised. One who thought that two may not be much different than one may be wondering why all the trouble for just one more. The fact lies in that both puppies need the same treatment as if they were the only puppy!
To raise two puppies successfully together you must give them separate training times, separate socialization experiences, and separate exercising times. The exercising can be cut in half so that half the time they are playing together. The other half, though should be quality play time with you, either learning how to play ball or some other super fun, non-training game. If your puppies are given socialization experiences together, chances are one will mimic the other whether it is a good or not so good reaction to the scary object or person you are socializing them with. For example, if you introduce an open umbrella to them, it may seem like a scary item. One puppy may become completely terrified of it, as may happen if you push them too far too fast in their socialization. The other puppy will read the fear on their sibling and do the same thing. This could create a problem where, if they were socialized individually, there would not have been one as you could have helped ease one puppy through their fear. Not to forget you will have to potty train them separately too!
Probably the biggest issue with raising two puppies at once is that it does take a lot more work and time. While the work and time may be no big deal to some, to the vast majority of average pet owners it is too much to handle in today’s modern society. One puppy alone is an immense amount of work, double that and add on the rest of your life; family, relationships, work, school, your own social life. Can you really handle double of what a single puppy can throw at you?
Ask any dedicated dog owner how much they enjoy having a multiple dog household. Many who have two or more dogs cannot imagine life with only one! Nearly all of these pet owners, though, obtained their dogs at different points in their lives when they were ready to handle the single challenge. This allowed their new family member all the time they needed to adjust and bond with the humans and other dogs. For an individual or family that is not capable of providing everything two puppies require, they can miss out on and abundant amount of the magic that happens in dog ownership.