Sarah Wilson

Dog Expert

5 Tricks to Raising Two Puppies at Once

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Raising two puppies at onceSounds like so much fun, raising two puppies at once. They keep each other company, entertain each other and halve the work, right?

Not quite.

Raising two puppies to be secure, confident, well-bonded-to-you dogs is much more than twice the work than raising one. Your challenge? When you raise two pups they want to bond to each other more than to any human. And the problem with that is that they can become overly dependent on each other, leading to extreme upset when separated, lack of confidence in one or both and difficulty in training because they just don’t care as much about you as they do about each other.

In the dog biz we call that: One brain, eight legs.

There are ways to avoid these pitfalls that so you end up with two happy, confident and connected companions and this is how you do it:

Solo Time

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:  at least 10 minutes. Ideally, thirty minutes each day would be great, but ten would make a difference.

Solo Crates

Sometimes it is tempting to crate two puppies together and if it helps them sleep through the night quietly that first week, I 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 you happen to have an apparently easy solution. You won’t be doing them, or you, any long-term favors.

Solo Classes

Get to puppy class – one for each pup. 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.

Solo Socialization

Get them out and playing with sensible, well-socialized adults dogs and other pups. Rotate one in the playgroup 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.

Solo Walks

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 (though 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!

Like these blogs? Check out some of my books:
How to Train Your Dog to ComeMy Smart PuppyChildproofing Your Dog

4 Comments

  1. We have 2 10 week old yorkies. Very healthy. We got them about 2 weeks ago. It was a mistake getting 2. can they still be separated successfully? they are crated separately at night. daytime both in same playpen. One male and 1 female from same litter. We are desperate for help. Lost our last yorkie several months ago . Had him 14 years. What a mess. Can you help for a fee?? we want to let the smooth coated female one go.

    • Yes, they can be separated. Not to worry. Many breeders keep pups to 12-weeks or so before placing them so those pups have to adjust, too. It will be fine. And better now than later. {{{ }}} – Sarah

  2. I’m fostering two mutt litter mates, 4months old female&male). I’m Adopting the female, male will hopefully get adopted out to someone else soon, possibly in 3 days! But maybe not that soon. Someone’s coming to meet the male in 3 days. I’ve had them 8days, in same crate, same-together everything, but it’s too crazy and hard. Should I go cold-turkey in separating them until male gets adopted, or do it gradually? Like keep crates next to each other for a week, or….? I don’t want to mess up the male’s head and have him acting differently when the person comes to meet/adopt him, but I’m about to lose it. They’re too much to handle together. Please advise… and thank you!

    • Get the male placed as soon as you can. Both will adapt. Both will be distressed at first but pups are always distressed when they are alone after their litters. They will both recover just fine. All that said, separate crating will make life easier for both of them after they adjust.

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