Part 1 - When should you get a 2nd dog?
This post is part 1 of a 2 part series. I want to talk about a question I get quite a bit which is "When should I get a 2nd German Shorthaired Pointer? How are you supposed to know when it is the right time to get another dog?"
In Part 1 of the series I will be focusing on the challenges of owning more than one dog. I am starting with the challenges instead of the positives because I do not want to sugarcoat or romance the idea of owning multiple dogs.
Two dogs is hard. It is different. It is difficult. I am someone that did not grow up with dogs so my perspective may be different than yours if you grew up with dogs your whole life. But I did not get a dog until 7 years ago when Bentley came into our life. He was my very first dog. I started with a German Shorthaired Pointer. I don't know if that is good or bad but it is all that I know. So I have had to figure out along the way how to cohabitate and live with these crazy fun lovable creatures but I wanted to share all of my knowledge with you who may be in the same position I was trying to navigate if 2 is better than 1.
Obviously if you have followed me long, you know that I have 2 GSPs, Bentley (7) and Berkley (4). I might be biased, but they are cute! If you have ever seen shorthair puppies, they are so adorable with squishy little bellies and soft years. You fall in love instantly. I'd own a dozen if I didn't know better! BUT... there are challenges.
2 is NOT easier than 1.
2 is not better than 1.
2 is DIFFERENT than 1.
#1 - EVERYTHING IS DOUBLED :: When it comes to planning monetarily, you have to buy twice as much food, twice as many vet visits, twice as many kennel costs. The costs can become overwhelming so you want to make sure there is room in your budget to accommodate the additional dog. You don't want it to slip your mind that you obviously have to pay for both of them.
Aside from money, there is twice as much dog hair to clean up, twice the muddy paw prints, and twice as much crazy activity in the house! If you have ever seen my instagram stories, you know that mine love to run circles around the dining room table. So now I have TWO that run circles around the dining room table! It's just important to remember, that it is twice the noise, twice the crazy, twice everything because you now have 2. GSPs are a little bit nuts, and now you have 2 of them that are a little bit nuts.
#2 - SLEEPING IN YOUR BED :: If you are anything like us, your dog sleeps in bed with you! It is fine when there is 1, but when there is 2 it takes up a little bit more space. My GSPs love to cuddle and sleep on top of the covers, which means I am always having to pull covers and find my sliver of space without falling off the bed. So if this is your lifestyle just keep in mind that there will now be 2 dogs in bed.
#3 - PERSONALITIES :: Dogs have quite the personalities, which is something I didn't realize since I had never grown up with one. And they are different from one another, just like children! My first dog is neurotic, high energy, never stops moving and hardly sheds at all. So when I got a 2nd dog, I made the mistake of assuming they would be similar in personality, especially since they came from the same blood line (Bentley is Berkley's uncle). But that is not true! Our 2nd dog, Berkley, requires alot of physical touch and attention. He must be near us, touching us, loving on us, and we have to reciprocate the attention to him as well. Berkley also sheds ALOT. With my 1st, I hardly ever had to vacuum or wash floors. I naively thought shorthairs didn't shed. And then I got my 2nd one and realized that is a lie! So just know that your 2nd one will not be exactly like your first one.
#4 - HIKING :: As most of you know, I like to hike with my dogs. Most of the hiking I do is in the winter when we typically have places to ourselves because the world is indoors. This allows my dogs to run off leash, which we all prefer. But, with 2 dogs, it is harder to keep track of them at the same time when off leash. One is very easy to keep track of and keep your eye on, but when there is 2, they often go different directions making it challenging in how I keep track of them. So just know you have to pay very close attention when there are 2 of them and you are hiking off leash so that you know where they are at all times.
#5 - VEHICLE SIZE :: This was a challenge I didn't think about right away. Having 2 dogs means I had to fit 2 kennels into the back of my vehicle instead of one. I believe that dogs should travel in a kennel at all times for their safety. So I ended up upgrading to a Chevy Traverse, from my Jeep Cherokee, which fits 2 intermediate size Ruff Land Kennels in the back. Upgrading your vehicle will be a cost you want to consider, should you decide to get a 2nd dog.
#6 - TRAVEL :: The last point I want to make is the one that probably impacted us the most and that has to do with travel. When we only had Bentley, he would come with us everywhere. He would stay in hotels with us. He would get to go for boat rides. But since having 2 those things are more challenging. 2 dogs in small confined spaces like hotel rooms or boats is crazy so we've opted often not to take them with us on many of the travels that Bentley used to come with us on. So if you are a family that travels often, what will you be doing with the 2 dogs when you are gone? Do you have someone that can care for them? Do you have a place you can take them? Will they come with you and what are the realities of them coming with you? Because it does pose a challenge with 2. One dog is definitely easier to travel with.
Hopefully these tips have helped you navigate whether or not getting a 2nd dog is right for you, your family and your circumstances.
If you want to see this blog post in video format, you can head to my YouTube channel by clicking here or on the image below!