Are two puppies better than one?

Posted by | June 27, 2009 | Puppy Prep, Puppy Problems | 15 Comments

Getting two pups at the same time is generally a bad idea, especially from the same litter.  They will already have a strong bond towards each other and you will have to work hard to find yourself a place in their ‘mini pack’.  Also they will have heightened confidence from each other and be far more likely to ignore you, especially when it comes to recall.

Multi-dog Households

Now I am not saying that multi dog households can’t be fantastic and yes it is great for a dog to have a companion.  The way to go is to acquire one puppy see picking the perfect puppy train it up to a level you are happy with then get another.  If you do have to get two puppies at once leave at least a few weeks and get puppies from different litters.

Male/ female combination:  This is probably the best option if you have decided to get two young dogs, it will minimise fighting but you must get them castrated/ spayed quickly.

Female / female or Male / male

This is generally a bad idea.  They will be hitting puberty and the same time and taking their moods out on each other. 
With hormones raging in fighting and jealousy is likely.  Here you need to get one of the pup’s castrated or spayed but it is often better to leave the other one entire so you can have a clear hierarchy within the puppies.  You need to be aware who is ‘top dog’ between them and castrate/ spay the lower ranked dog.

TOP TIP If you get a puppy and train it as it grows then obtain a second the sex of dog generally doesn’t matter as the existing dog will generally be more secure about its position and hormones will have subsided.

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  • Lindsay says:

    My husband already wants us to get another puppy after only two weeks with our new pup. He thinks she is lonely while we are at work. I agree somewhat, but only that she is lonely, not that she needs a companion this soon. Thanks for the advice!

  • Louise says:

    Sometimes its a good idea to dog share, so if you know a friend with a dog you can drop them off there on your way to work and vice versa then they have a companion in the day but you don’t have the responsibility of two. :)

  • K9Yorkies says:

    Two Yorkie bitches from same litter – oh what a nightmare! I wish I had had access to your sound advice before hand.
    I can verify that all you have said about the disadvantages/problems of having same sex, same litter puppies is absolutely TRUE.
    The character of each dog is the only saving grace in this case as one is naturally more ‘calm and collected’ than the other, and she it turns out is the top dog – based on the feedng first criteria. The other one has really big issues – incredibly insecure, nervous of noise and of people/dogs generally … it may be that she was the runt of a littler of nine pups.
    I am working very very hard to socialise her, but 18 months down the line and she is still not doing very well.
    My message is simply don’t have pups from same litter, it is incredibly hard work to secure a bond with each individual dog that is stronger than the one they have with their sibling. Unless you are able to work on this every day for large periods of the day – I work from home, so I could do this – then don’t even think about getting two from the same litter.
    I am interested in getting some professional training for myself in order to take my puppies training further, can you suggest somewhere in South Wales that offers tuition in professional dog training classes? Regards,

    • Louise says:

      Thanks for your comment. Its funny as I got started in the exact same way. When I was a teenager my parents got two yorkie bitches and the problems you have described where pretty similar. I am not sure if you are after dog training classes for them or for you as an individual. I am thinking its for you so i would recommend taking a look at these courses and find something that fits you. It is a very good association. Also if you find a local dog training class near to you that has members accredited then you can usually start by helping out and learning from them. Is this what you were looking for?
      Thanks again for your comment and I hope other people read your advice and think carefully. :)

  • tamara says:

    I just recently got two puppies that are from two different litters and breeds however they are both bitches is there any advice you can give me about training them ??

    • Louise says:

      Hi, nice to hear from you Tamara. I would make sure that each puppy receives at least 30 minutes per day individual play/training time. Also make sure that you walk them both independently in order to allow them to grow in confidence on their own. Make sure you get at least one of them spayed early on before the hormones kick in as you don’t want them in season at the same time or this will cause problems.

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  • ainad says:

    hello.i got two puppies a week ago a female pit n a male lab.they play alot n spend alot of time together.they r both spayed.wat exactly should i do so they will listen to me?and be good dogs.r they agood mix to have together?

  • Dale says:

    Hi everyone! I enjoyed reading the above comments and decided to share mine as well. I have 2 English Setters (sisters), and both fixed. I have had them from the age of 9 weeks and although the first 2 months were ‘interesting to say the least’ it has been well worth it!!! They are more than wonderful together, yes, they have bonded, BUT they need me and respond accordingly, sometimes with a bit of authority!! BUT…… is the next part, and I am sure I will get some interesting responses! I AM GETTING TWO MORE ENGLISH SETTERS (8 weeks). Ok, so I am crazy, but what intrigues me is they will have the SAME PARENTS.. So i really know what ‘kind’ of temperment etc I am getting…….Ok….I love English Setters..they are unbelieveable animals, and are a real joy in my life…..MY DILEMMA is this……do I get a male/female mix (2 females now) or stick with two more females….or two males….not sure! Any suggestions gratefully received!!!! Dale

  • Shelley says:

    Hi Louise. I just found your site. I am one of those “dumb” dog owners that got two litermates (boy and girl) thinking that it would be good that they keep each other company while we are at work and away. Yes, they ignore you and yes they have their own bond. Very difficult to housetrain and everything else. The big thing now is barking, they bark when they play, one barks for no reason and then the other thinks they have to. My boy in particular has decided that he just likes to hear himself bark. What is the appropriate way to stop a dog from barking. I have tried many things but so far no luck. HELP.

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  • Wendy Hodge says:

    Does anyone have any information on Irish Jack Russell pups. We were thinking of getting two and after reading about littermates staying together I am reluctant. Any advice and experience with this breed would be helpful Thanks!

  • Shelly says:

    We are currently looking at a puppy addition to our household. We went to a highly recommended breeder today. She breeds Teddy Bear (shihtzu/bishon mix), yorkies, puggles & yorkiepoos. We went to look at 3 male Teddy Bear pups. We fell in love with one BUT she also had a shihtzu litter (only males) & fell in live with the runt of that litter. We left a deposit for the Teddy Bear but now are thinking of getting both…they are a week or two apart, different breeds & of course different litters. We figure companionship & crate training the only way we know would be easier to do all at once. Advice?

  • Paula says:

    Hi I have got a five and a half months king charlies. I would really like to get him a friend. Do you think this is a good idea? Male or bitch? He is very good a well trained already and ive just had his manhood done. Thanks

  • Amy says:

    Hello im thinking about getting 2 jack Russell bitches from the same litter together. My partner if a farmer and i ride and we were planing on taking them sepperatly to work each day and just having them together in the evening. In your opinion would this possible work out ok? Many Thanks

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