Truth? Two puppies are much more than twice the work of one. Your challenge? When you raise two pups at once they want to bond to each other more than to any human.The problem with that is that they can become overly dependent on each other, leading to extreme upset when separated. In the dog biz we call that: One brain, eight legs. There are ways to avoid that so you end up with the happy companions you dreamt of when you brought them home. And this is how you do it:
Every day, each pup gets solo time with you. In a perfect world, this would include a few minutes of puppy kindergarten games followed by some play, followed by some handling and cuddle time. Total time spent: 10 minutes. Ideally, thirty minutes each daily would be great, but ten would make a difference.
Sometimes it is tempting to crate two puppies together and, if it helps them sleep through the night quietly that first week, we understand, but after that, get them in separate crates, ideally in separate rooms. Why? You ask. They are so happy together. Exactly. And that is the problem. Get them used to being on their own now, or you can raise two completely co-dependent dogs who fall apart when out of sight of each other – howling, barking, digging at the door, hyperventilating and more. Not any fun for either. Yes, you’ll have to go through the yipping adjustment period – everyone does – don’t skip it just because it is easy to avoid. You won’t be doing them, or you, any long-term favors.
Get to puppy class, twice a week. That’s a wonderful chance to get solo time with one while practicing solo crate time with the other. Trying to have both in the same class defeats the purpose and will make it more of a challenge for you. Take this one-on-one time now, it’ll build your bond and pay dividends for years to come.
Get them out and playing with sensible, well-socialized adults dogs and other pups. Rotate one in the play group then the other; after some solo time, if you want them both to play – fine. But make sure they both get a chance to learn the ropes on their own and develop their own individual personalities.
As above, this will allow you to bond to each individually (and vice versa) and allow you to see the strengths and weaknesses in each personality. After a solo stroll around the block if you want to try a dual walk, go for it. It’s likely to be complicated but you’ll get to see why one-on-one is good for all concerned.
Doing these simple (but admittedly time consuming) steps for the first seven months can get you what you dream of having, two fabulous dogs who will be your attached, stable companions for a decade or more. Now that’s well worth the investment!
by Sarah Wilson
Author of MySmartPuppy.com handbooks: My Smart Puppy (book with DVD) and Childproofing Your Dog