The lovefest between me and the hounds continues unabated and has left me thinking about the puppies quite a bit. Mr. CC and I had just moved in together and were contemplating getting a puppy. I always knew I wanted more than one dog, I just wasn’t sure if I wanted to get them at the same time or stagger them – that is, get one, let him/her grow up and then get another. So, I did what I usually do whenever I am caught in a dilemna – go into research mode. I talked/emailed dog trainers, consulted the interwebs, and talked to people with dogs.

What I found was that dog trainers hate the idea of getting two dogs at the same time. The interwebs? At the time, it thought it was the worst possible thing to do, but now I see more positive articles. All the people I know who have two dogs of different ages? Love it, think it’s the best thing they ever did for their dogs – if they had to do it over again they would get them as puppies. I have to admit that I was biased – my parents had adopted two puppies at the same time and swore by it. For Mr.CC this was an easy decision – ‘Who cares about the experts and the internet, lets go by what people we know have told us’. We did go ahead and adopt littermates, but it was difficult for me to ignore the overwhelming number of articles telling me this was a terrible idea and I wanted to let people know what our experience was.

So, what’s my verdict after owning them for about 10 months and seeing them cross the 1 year mark – best decision I ever made. Yes, it is twice the expense – double the food bill, double the vet bill, double the toys, double the time required to train (actually triple, but I’ll come back to that) etc etc. But if you can handle the logistics and expenses, then it is half the aggravation. They are not lonely and have a companion that has similar levels of energy. When you get a puppy with an older dog, the puppy wants to play and the older dog usually just wants to leave. Because they have someone to play with, and can release some of that puppy energy, damages to ourselves and our belongings have been minimal. In the 10 months I have owned them my losses due to chewing have been – one windows XP CD, scrunchies (TheGirl loves these, would get them out of my hair if she could). One rug. And that’s it. That incessant nipping that puppies do – they do it to each other and leave us alone. Training was easy, it just required more time. You have to work with each dog separately and then together. I simplified my life by simplifying my needs of them – they sit, stay, leave it, come, don’t jump on people, and get off the couch when I tell them to. I don’t really need them to do much more.

One of the big concerns I read was that they would form their own pack and would never be part of ours – umm, here’s my thought on that – until they grow opposable thumbs and can pour their own food, we’re part of their pack. The other concern is that they will grow to hate each other and will fight when older. Could happen I suppose, hasn’t happened yet – I just don’t think that dogs have the capacity for sibling rivalry, but I could be wrong. They do have a tendency to try and nip each other when one is being petted, but we are very careful about stopping that.

Do I think this will work for everyone? Obviously not. Why do I think it worked for us? Aside from the fact that we were extremely lucky to get such wonderful dogs there are some things that helped our cause – First, these are mutts, not high-strung purebreds. Second, TheGirl is definitely not as dominant as TheBoy and so we don’t seem to have the typical dominance issues that can plague multiple dog households. Third, we have both owned dogs before and have no trouble getting into alpha dog mode when necessary. Fourth, our dogs get a lot of exercise – huge yard + two puppies running for at least 3 hours a day = tired puppies with no wish to cause trouble. Fifth, I have a flexible schedule and could spend a lot of time socializing and training them during the first 3-4 months. So, I guess I’m saying that if you have never owned dogs before, think that you should never discipline them, and plan to get the two biggest, smartest, friskiest puppies in the litter (do you know how many people I know use these criteria for choosing puppies and they say later ‘I have no idea why he won’t listen to me’) and keep them in a tiny apartment while you are gone 8 hours a day, what I have to say may not apply to you. But, if you can plan for it and have the resources (money, time, space) to deal with two puppies, it can work out very well.