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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!