I love animals. I mean absolutely love them. I am guessing since you are reading this you do too. It’s been a rare occasion that my family hasn’t owned animals and we have had many different types and breeds. They have all been special and will always be loved, but I absolutely adore my girls. They are two 9 month old German Shepherd mixes and for as little training as I have actually thought they needed (or that I have gotten around to…Shhh J) they are extremely well behaved.
When Lexi and Lacey came into my family, I immediately hit the books (yea, some 19 year olds read) and the internet to find out how to handle two and if this would cause any problems. I was immediately very discouraged by what I read. Most magazines, books, online articles, and forums said that I should immediately separate them or get rid of one all together. Obviously I didn’t get rid of one. I couldn’t separate the two. So I proceeded to only read the articles that talked about how to go about raising them together without them becoming heathens.
I am here to say VERY LOUDLY it was a waste of my time. I learned very quickly that the articles didn’t apply to my two dogs at all, if they apply to any. They are two very different girls and where as they had to be treated and taught differently, if you did something for one you had to do it times two. BUT even though they double everything, the positives to me greatly outweigh the negatives.
The only negative that I will say I read that is true is that they become a ‘pack’. This is referring to the fact that dogs, like their ancestors form packs with an alpha who is the leader and a beta who is second in charge and then others who follow. With them being together all day, they have really become more dependent on each other. Lexi started out as my shy little girl and Lacey was more assertive but it seems they have switched. I really have to be firm in commands with ‘Lex’ because she thinks she runs things. What adds to this is that Lacey follows her in her actions. This is something I have had to really work on with them so BIG PIECE OF ADVICE:: Establish that you are the “alpha of the pack” early. Make it very clear that you are in charge and since one dog will be ‘over’ the other more than likely; be extra clear with that one.
NOW TO THE POSITIVES… They are extremely well behaved, especially for how young they still are. I owe this completely to the fact that they have a play mate. Most dogs who are alone all day get bored. They then find things to do which is usually something they will get in trouble for or they sit around all day bored and then when you come home they are hyper and you get overwhelmed and annoyed. Lacey and ‘Lex’ are still happy and playful when I come home from work but they aren’t jumping all over the place. I think it’s also a plus because when they aren’t too jumpy and hyper, they are easier to teach. Their attention is more on you than the butterfly across the yard. I also think they are happier and healthier. They have a friend all day to play with instead of sitting around alone. They are motivated to play all day and get plenty of exercise!
I love my girls and whereas they sometimes bring life to the phrase “double the trouble” I love them and believe whole heartedly that two is better than one!