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Adding another dog: Space and other factors

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I'm not planning on adding another dog for a long time, most likely not until Tuesday begins to grows out of her puppy stage, but I have noticed that many people have several dogs. I've often thought that some day I'd like to have a small pack (when I have the time and money... might not be until I'm retired!) but, I've also wondered what considerations go into this. It's nothing technical, I'm just wondering about personal considerations.

 


  1.  
  2. How much space would you deem physically necessary for each dog?
  3. How do you determine if you have enough time for another dog?
  4. When you have 4 or 5 dogs what causes you to consider getting another one?
  5. If you have more than 3+ dogs what are typical responses from people who find out about your pack?
  6. Any other things you consider when taking on another pet?
     

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[*]How much space would you deem physically necessary for each dog?

 

I've never really thought about this, actually. We live in a small house, but have a large, fenced yard. We used to live in a huge house with a tiny yard. The small house and big yard work better for us. I've had as many as 5 dogs and there has always been plenty of room, even though the house isn't really very big.

 

[*]How do you determine if you have enough time for another dog?

 

I've never really thought about this, either. I make time. Sometimes I don't do that as well as I'd like, but I do go out of my way to make sure I have time for the dogs on a regular basis.

 

[*]When you have 4 or 5 dogs what causes you to consider getting another one?

 

When my dogs are getting older and I feel it is time to start preparing a young dog to become my future training partner, we get a new dog.

 

Granted, with my last addition (Dog #5 at that time), we didn't plan it at all, but part of my motivation for adopting her was that I knew I was ready to start training a young dog.

 

The timing was perfect, too. She was ready right when I needed her to be.

 

[*]If you have more than 3+ dogs what are typical responses from people who find out about your pack?

 

"That's a lot of dogs."

"Are they all yours?"

"Are they all related?"

"You must be busy."

 

[*]Any other things you consider when taking on another pet?

 

Do I have the money? This is important. It was a stretch when we had 5, but I took it into consideration, and made a few adjustments, when we decided to adopt our newest girl.

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I have 6 dogs. We share a two room cabin style house that is less than 1000 square feet. The first thing people always say to me - even people who would NEVER let their dogs live outside - is "you must have a big property for all those dogs." I do have 10 acres, but they don't live outside, they live in my house. I have had almost as many dogs in a 500 square foot bachelor apartment. The dogs don't seem to care how big the house is.

 

I have 6 dogs because I'm insane. There's no other explanation really. Most people would agree.

 

I think the biggest issue is that you take the time to train one before the next one comes along. Otherwise you just have a big pack of unruly beasts. I try to space my acquisitions so that I have the time to put some manners on the one before it. But life changes on you, and I am now gone 11 hours a day 5 days a week; I have a very long commute and I find it challenging to give each of my dogs attention enough every day, especially in the dark/cold/rainy winter time when we seem to never go outside in the daylight at all.

 

The other thing to consider is that the more dogs you have, the more it limits your lifestyle. It's more expensive to go on vacation because it costs more to board more dogs. Taking "the dog" for a walk becomes an exercise in complicated leashwork and every outing requires more planning and thought. I can't drive a small vehicle. And the more dogs you have, the more likely it is that something will go horribly wrong, so they cost more money. Even though my dogs are healthy and I look after them very well, it seems like someone is always in need of some kind of surgery, emergency surgery or care, or bloodwork or x-rays. It's pricey. Imagine if you had 4 dogs and each one of them needed something expensive and it all happened at once.

 

I am fortunate that my dogs mostly get along well and I have just two that are not excellent with one another; even so, they are not very very problematic, especially compared to some horror stories I have heard. But the more dogs you have, the greater the odds that some will be antagonistic with one another. And if you have one dog with a behavioural issue that is difficult to manage, it's magnified by the fact that you have multiple other dogs to pay attention to at the same time you're trying to deal with TWooie - I mean, the problem dog.

 

RDM

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How much space would you deem physically necessary for each dog?

 

I have a very large fenced in yard. I could probably have 20 dogs running around playing back there without a problem. My house isn't very big, but big enough. I have a sectional couch, so plenty of room for the dogs. :D I would say my personal limit would be, "When you can't fit any more dogs on the couch or bed." lol I bought a King sized bed several years ago so the dogs would have more room...

 

How do you determine if you have enough time for another dog?

 

That would depend on your goals. My goals are all sport/performance related and that training does take time. I work each dog individually and there are only so many hours in a day (especially when I work two jobs to pay for all of this). I do feel that when I bring home a puppy (or foster a puppy) the other dogs can get slighted for a while. I start to feel very stretched with four dogs in training. Three is comfortable for me -- I'd be bored with only two!

 

When you have 4 or 5 dogs what causes you to consider getting another one?

 

Agility is harder on the aging dogs. I look to add another when I feel the older dogs are starting to cut back. That way when the new dog is ready to start competing, the older dog is ready to drop down their class load a bit. Example being: Secret is 2 1/2 years old and starting to hit her stride -- Luke is 8 and I'm starting to limit his runs at trials. When Luke is unable to trial anymore, I'll look into starting the next one. If I had my way I'd be adding another dog to my pack right now because training-wise, the timing is right. Unfortunately I'm broke --- so instead I'm training my parent's dog and I foster puppies.

 

If you have more than 3+ dogs what are typical responses from people who find out about your pack?

 

hahahaha It never fails --- "You've got your hands full there!" "Are they all yours?"

 

Any other things you consider when taking on another pet?

 

Well, I ignore local limit laws... ;) Each additional dog adds another expense. I am always astounded by how quickly I go through bags of food when I have a foster in the house. More vet bills, more routine costs (heartworm preventative, flea/tick stuff, etc.), more cleaning (if you care about that stuff), etc. The biggest thing for me, though, is more entry fees. If I can't afford to trial another dog, there really is no point in me getting one.

 

Oh, vehicle space is another consideration. When I got my first dog I drove a sedan. Second dog came and I upgraded to a mini SUV. Now that I routinely have 4-5 dogs in my house, I am looking towards a mini van as my next vehicle. Ten years ago I would have been horrified at that thought, but now I look enviously at all of my friends who are mothers and drive mini vans. :lol: lol

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Dear Doggers,

 

Your life partner will have dog care at least some of the time and his/her life will change - as will yours - with every new dog in your pack. Probably you will find it difficult to be away from home together unless you can bring all the dogs. Your non-doggy friends/family will see less of you.

 

Dogs are expensive. Next to meds/docs/insurance, our five are the biggest item in our budget.

 

On the other hand you will be healthier - all those dog walks, every day, in every sort of weather.

 

 

Donald McCaig

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We only have one, but I'm continually lobbying for two. The main sticking point comes down to:

Expense. That's the limitation most considered in our house. If you feel comfortable making some health decisions and administering a lot of the vacs and worm treatments, your vet bill should be manageable. If you have friends or neighbors that can watch your pack, vacations and business trips will be OK, but having 2+ dogs can get expensive otherwise. Also, it's easier to get one dog into a hotel roon than 2+. How big is your car?

Another thing to consider is serial comunicable health problems. Seeka came down with horrible diarrhea a couple of days after she came to us. Just as she was getting over it, Cerb got the trots. That's about a solid week and a half of getting up every hour or so to let a dog out. Day and night. During my Christmas vacation. I did nothing but stay home and play nurse. Don't get me started with how Seeka was such a prolific artist...with her tail...and her "paint".

Would I do it again? With all my heart. When you meet the dog that will make the bother and expense all worth while, you will know it.

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I think there are really only two limiting factors - time and money (barring a partner or family situation that imposes limits). We used to live in an 8' x 37' trailer with two dogs (a Redbone Coonhound and an Airedale Terrier) and a cat, and our yard was fenced, though small. But lots of exercise and training (the dogs went with us to university each day, with us either walking or biking, so they were very well-trained for a life in a developed area) made it easy for us all to cohabit - and they were the best-trained dogs we have ever had in terms of companion animals.

 

There are many times I'd love to have a yard, and could put the dogs outside to do whatever dogs would do on their own - but the reality is that they wouldn't do constructive things without supervision and motivation (they'd probably do some barking, some digging, some repetitive behaviors, and sleep a lot) and I need to get myself out and going to exercise, walk, train, and interact with them.

 

And, as pointed out, you can't forget the expense of caring for dogs - and two will almost always cost twice as much as one.

 

One last thought is, are you ready for a second one? Is your dog ready for another to share your time and efforts? Will a second dog enrich the first dog's life (I think this is often the case, if the two dogs are compatible)?

 

Best wishes!

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Wow, car space was definitely never something I really considered, vacationing either, although we tend to camp when we vacation, which is fine for one or two dogs, but when I start thinking about more than two there's no way with the current family/ vehicle situation, someone would need to be babysat. (Glad I only have the two currently.)

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We only have one, but I'm continually lobbying for two.

 

I have never had more than three in the house at one time (although I once had a kennel and had dogs that were rotated between house and kennel....still no more than 3 living in the house full-time.)

 

I have always maintained that TWO dogs are really no more hassle than one dog. Eventually when they become playmates, it actually makes your life easier. I never found two to be that much more expensive than one, and also didn't find much difference in lifestyle changes.

 

HOWEVER, I have also found that THREE dogs is way more noticeable than two dogs and seems way more expensive. Maybe after three, you are back to not noticing a change from three-to-four or four-to-five....I don't know. But three dogs in the house and I notice bumping into dogs more often. They seem to be everywhere! :lol:

 

But, seriously, I would never be afraid of adding a second dog. It's the third dog that would make me think.

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I'm not planning on adding another dog for a long time, most likely not until Tuesday begins to grows out of her puppy stage, but I have noticed that many people have several dogs. I've often thought that some day I'd like to have a small pack (when I have the time and money... might not be until I'm retired!) but, I've also wondered what considerations go into this. It's nothing technical, I'm just wondering about personal considerations.

 


  1.  
  2. How much space would you deem physically necessary for each dog?
  3. How do you determine if you have enough time for another dog?
  4. When you have 4 or 5 dogs what causes you to consider getting another one?
  5. If you have more than 3+ dogs what are typical responses from people who find out about your pack?
  6. Any other things you consider when taking on another pet?
     

 

This goes under "other things" I suppose...

 

I've been calculating receipts and discovered to my surprise that in 2011 it cost as much to keep 3 dogs as it does to keep 6 sheep. The two columns were within $100 of each other. Both groups of animals were healthy -- vet bills amounted to less than $200 for each of them. Food cost was about equal for each group...I get my hay pretty cheap and feed Diamond Naturals to the dogs.

 

Liz

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I have 6 dogs..but there are 8 in my house.

 

1.How much space would you deem physically necessary for each dog?

 

the question has never crossed my mind lol, my house is 1200sq feet..its just a little squishy sometimes, but nothing horrable.

 

2.How do you determine if you have enough time for another dog?

 

my entire day is spent with my dogs, my job included, so its not really an issue for me.

 

3.When you have 4 or 5 dogs what causes you to consider getting another one?

 

I had 4 and I was good, but then Ladybuig came into my life, I got so used to 5 that when she passed away I was lost with only 4..I ended up adopting Gem, but wanted no more then 5. I got 6 only because Gems sister turned up at the shelter and depsite being a puppy, just sat there for 2 months with no interest in her, knowing what gem was like, I was getting very worried for her, and I was spreading the word of her around to everyone I could think of, but nobody cared, so when i got a raise at work, I finally just went and adopted her myself, the 6th dog was an exeption for her and her alone

 

4.If you have more than 3+ dogs what are typical responses from people who find out about your pack?

 

I get asked if they are all mine, if I am a dog sitter, or a dog walker, stars of disabelief, people demanding to know if its legal for me to have so many..some people try to tell me they are going to report me for being in exess of the limit(there is no limit), and some people asking me WHY I would want so many.

 

5.Any other things you consider when taking on another pet?

 

my biggest thing is "can I afford it?" since time is not a huge issue for me lol

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Two is all I can handle ( one senior, one pup). I have a good sized house but a dinky yard. My two concerns were time and money. I'm lucky my dad has been able to babysit during the day so they're not alone while I work long hours. The older dog is pretty low maintenance but raising the pup is almost a full tune job. I don't think I could afford any more.

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We currently have 7, we have had more. Our maximum number is set based upon our van since all our dogs travel with us.

Mark

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I think the biggest issue is that you take the time to train one before the next one comes along. Otherwise you just have a big pack of unruly beasts.

 

This.

 

My ideal would be a new dog every 4-5 years so I had a dog in its prime, a new one to bring on and one retired.

 

What do I actually have? 5 - aged 6 8 9 11 and 13, and I feel so guilty that I can't give them all the individual attention I would like.

 

I need another dog to continue in agility (the 6 year old is my daughter's, as is the 11 year old who may retire after this year) but I can't have one -

 

It wouldn't be fair on the older ones as I want them to enjoy their last years with attention from me.

I can't fit any more in my car and don't want to change it.

My husband doesn't like dogs.

 

My daughter would like another too but she's at uni and can't consider it untril she is settled in a new home and job.

 

I can see an agility black hole looming for both of us but reality has to take precedence. I think I'd have to be down to no more than 3 before I could consider another now.

 

Potential expense is more of a factor now my husband and I are semi retired, but so far all our dogs have been quite cheap to keep.

 

Size of house and garden is not a major consideration.

 

I take our dogs out 2 and 3 at a time for various reasons to places where multiple dogs aren't unusual so I don't get the comments I used to get when I had them all together.

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Dear Doggers,

 

One advantage the dog pack owner has: he/she can leave any boring party early.

 

Donald McCaig

 

A fine excuse used on multiple occasions.

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I have 4 working on a Th. I've had more but I don't really think of numbers as much as do I need or want another dog and can we handle the addition.

 

I hate traveling so that's not really an issue. I do travel with work but have a wonderful DS who will keep the farm going if I'm away. DH will also do what needs to be done but I find my son was easier to train to do it my way. With having sheep and other animals you have more to worry about than just what to do with the dogs.

 

I'm sure we could manage a short vaca but I really hate traveling (probably all the work travel plus the fact I won't board my dogs and I just miss them when I'm gone) my DH suffers a bit as he'd like a vacation or 2 but he makes do cause he agreed to our choices.

 

I live in about a 1000 sq. ft house that isn't laid out the best. Size doesn't' bother me except I'd love a huge bathroom so we could all do our morning dance without bumping into the tub or each other but dream on.

At night with no lights on we shuffle our feet so no one gets stepped on.

 

I have a huge yard, it's unfenced. I can leave Dew or Mick out When I'm home (unless the kids down the street are out playing b-ball) and all they do is lay around on the deck begging me to come out to do something(work sheep of course). I don't let the seniors wander around as I worry they can't hear if I call or that they might wander out into the road on accident following their noses. So I watch them closer when they are out. I'm using electric fence for the sheep at the moment. Before the dogs understood the fencing Jazz wandered under the fence without getting hit. But she couldn't get back out. It was horrible. She hit the fence fell back, screamed, got up hit it again and just laid there and cried. She hasn't done it again but that is another reason I watch the seniors closely. I think she's old enough the she'd probably do it again. She has doggy Alzheimer's. But the electric will being going soon.

 

People are always asking me how I tell them apart! Stupidest question I could ever think of. But that's the main one I get asked. The other question I get the most is, Am I a breeder or do I breed my dogs? People look amazed when I say that I don't have a dog worthy of breeding! Then I have a whole nother conversation explaining why I don't breed and that of course I love all my dogs but that isn't a reason to breed.

 

I don't take all my dogs in the car at one time. The old girls would rather stay home and the young ones can fit. One more will easily fit in my tiny car. I don't get to use crates in the car. In my dreams I'd like a dog van that I would be able to fit enough crates to use them but with gas as it is, I'll stick with my little car.

 

When I moved from CO to here I had 3 vehicles coming so we split the dogs between the cars. Worst part of the drive was having one huge LGD who was not used to traveling so within the first hour she had pooped and puked all over the back seat. I had horse blankets covering the seats but of course she was kind enough to miss all the covers. There's a slight stain on my backseat. Every time my grandson (he's 5) gets in the car he giggles, points out the stain and says that's Lily poop!

 

I manage most maintenance vetting on my own, if one has to go to the vet and we're broke at the moment I have a special charge card that I save for doggy emergencies.

 

Once you're over 2 it doesn't seem to matter except for food and possible vet bills. I feed TTOW, I tried to cheapen our choice but the oldsters didn't do well so back to the expensive stuff, but since we don't eat out much, I'm not a clothes shopper and really except farm related items I just not into shopping at all, I figure the cost is my entertainment budget. If I had to, I guess I could find cheaper food but when you can see such a difference in the dogs by what you feed, I will make the sacrifice and spend the big bucks on food!

 

Not sure I could manage 10 but that would be because I work allot and have to much extended family that takes way to much time. I wouldn't mind having 10, but not sure DH would or could handle it and I'm sure it's not easy seeing to all the attention of each one. Although seniors don't count as much as they take less walking time, and are just easier on the management except for health issues.

 

Funny, as time wears on, my extended family has gotten more and more dogs. I think it's that they've seen how I manage mine and the love that they all give out! Mom has 3, favorite niece has 3, sister has 2.

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I have 5 dogs because I work them on sheep. My preference is to have about 3 years of age between them so that I always have a young dog or 2 in training and 2 trained dogs (in case 1 is injured). In theory it works, but real life doesn't always happen that way.

 

For me, the biggest limiting factors are time (to train the new dog) and money. I work full time, so getting a young dog started eats up a lot of hours of daylight. That needs to be balanced with polishing the other dogs as well as managing the rest of my life. As far as the money goes, I will not sacrifice good nutrition or basic care so that I can own more of them. I also need to know I can financially handle an emergency.

 

For the average American, I think the biggest factors are money, the ability to train and manage extra dogs and whether or not they are allowed to own more than 1 or 2. Owning dogs can get expensive really fast, and a lot people don't budget for those emergencies. Most people don't have the skills to handle more than a few dogs well enough to avoid chaos. Their dogs are not trained to a high level so require more hands on management, and people only have 2 hands. Many people have a dog limit that is imposed by their landlord, local government or another family member.

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Dear Doggers,

 

One advantage the dog pack owner has: he/she can leave any boring party early.

 

Donald McCaig

 

For DH and myself, this is a MAIN advantage, and we make use of it shamelessly. Some of our friends must think that our beast is very high maintenance, but DH and I are both introverts, and we like to duck out of social stuff early. We love our friends, and value our relationships with them, but oooooh, being in a room by oneself is so soothing.

 

Ruth and Gibbs, the Perfect Excuse

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I have 5 (really 4.5) dogs and thinking of adding a 6th. Ok so one is a toy poodle so I think he only counts as half a dog. Anyways, we had an ACD, BC mix and toy poodle in a townhouse. It was fine as all dogs had a good recall so we could trust them offleash in the open areas with other neighbor dogs.

 

I now have 2 ACDs, toy poodle, BC and Borderjack in a single family home on an acre (good portion fenced). Ages, 13.5, 10.5, 7, 6 and 3.

 

I agree with others that money and time need to be thought about. The 5th dog was a rescue who was only supposed to be a foster dog but my husband fell in love with so now my vehicle does not work out well. I bought a 2010 Equinox (had a minivan) and was like well I can use seatbelt harnesses and everything else in the back and rarely do I have more than 2 dogs with me. Well #5 needed to be in a crate which took away room from the inside and the Equinox does not work well for crating 2 dogs (one that needs a med-large crate). I spent way too much on something called a little cargo trailer that I manage by myself for traveling. I love it but could have gotten something bigger for less but I didn't need bigger and I needed something I can manuever easily.

 

Now the eldest ACD is not going to be around much longer so even if I do get #6, we will probably be back to 5 within months. I have been holding off on a puppy because of the eldest but she is hanging in there for the most part.

 

I just spent close to $1500 at the vets last week for 2 checkups (bloodwork, titers, heartworm stuff) and for one check of a mass. If you have multiple dogs and they are starting to age the cost may increase drastically.

 

I do work not quite full time and have time in the evenings for training as I don't have much I do outside of work and the dogs. Main problem is I spend about 3 hrs a day in the car commuting. I pay for a dogwalker.

 

If I decide to get #6 I will most likely have to cutback on some things to be able to afford the puppy and the initial costs.

 

So bascially figure out how much time you have available, vehicle info, money, can you other dog(s) handle it, spouse, etc...

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Dear Doggers,

Liz P writes, in part: "Most people don't have the skills to handle more than a few dogs well enough to avoid chaos."

 

This is an important point. Usually, when traveling I take at least the younger-more vigorous dogs with me. If I can't, by the third day I'm getting phone calls about troubles at home. The pack leader is gone, their routine is completely different and the dogs are trying out new schemes. It even effects our three (outdoor) guard dogs who start visiting the neighbors, get in fights, etc.

 

Donald McCaig

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I would have to agree with Liz P and Donald...

 

The REAL test is taking them off your property...

 

We take our multiple dogs off leash to parks, kids sporting events, pet stores, long walks....really puts your training and managing abilities to the test to manage your "pack" outside the comforts of ones home and fenced in backyards ;)

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Two would be just perfect, actually look forward to when I go some place on my own with only two, it's like a vacation.

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Dear Doggers,

 

Having mentioned some of the negatives, here's a plus: the mannerly pack with a consistent dog-savvy leader will develop its own culture and rules. This will be very helpful when, for instance, you want all the dogs to go out and empty one last time before you go to bed, a new dog or puppy enters the pack and is promptly told to toe the line.

 

Yes, it works well in familiar surroundings but also works while traveling. I've traveled thousands of miles with four dogs staying in motels. They don't bark when someone comes down the hall or when I go to dinner, don't approach welcoming strangers, and understand that they must do their business at 5, before I go out to dinner at 8, before I go to bed, and at 5 in the morning by flashlight before we roll Accidents do happen if a dog gets a stomach upset or is new with the pack but accidents are very rare. I usually walk them off lead, two at a time through motel parking lots to the grass. Watching four off lead dogs with cars zooming in and out is doable but unpleasant. It also helps if the desk clerk thinks you only have 2 dogs and no, they can't tell them apart.

 

Donald McCaig

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I'm not planning on adding another dog for a long time, most likely not until Tuesday begins to grows out of her puppy stage, but I have noticed that many people have several dogs. I've often thought that some day I'd like to have a small pack (when I have the time and money... might not be until I'm retired!) but, I've also wondered what considerations go into this. It's nothing technical, I'm just wondering about personal considerations.

 

 

 

Hubby and I kind of fell into a pack situation by accident. Or something. :lol: For years, we only had one or two dogs, while we worked on ranches or for pack outfits. (Guide/outfitter services in the Sierras.)

 

We were at 3 dogs, two Aussie/BC mix sisters who were our cow dogs and one rescued spaniel/BC house dog, when I got a chance to get a purebred border collie. This was from a friend whose dogs I knew and admired as good working dogs. A couple years later, we rescued a corgi mix, because a neighbor had pretty much kicked him out on the street and we couldn't bear to just turn him in to the pound. And that put us at 5 dogs.

 

A year and a half or so later, we rescued another border collie, Jesse, because his owner had him tied to a tree all day. We figured we'd find him an agility or flyball home with someone else. But I made the mistake of testing him on sheep. Jesse wasn't going anywhere. And now we had 6 dogs.

 

(Are you guys noticing a pattern, here?) :P

 

But my first BC ended up with hip dysplasia, retired by age 6, so I was lucky that Jesse-the-rescue turned out to be a pretty nice working dog. During that time, our original two, the Aussie/BC sisters, got old and also retired. The spaniel cross got ancient and died. So then we were back to 5 dogs, only one of which still worked. (The corgi-mix was just hubby's pal.)

 

However, as Jesse got older, I got a pup so I'd have a young dog coming up, and now we had 6 again. But the pup was killed in an accident at 18 months, leaving us at 5 dogs. Fortunately, fate soon directed me to the pup that would become my current main dog, Nick, and we were back at 6.

 

Subsequently, my girl with dysplasia passed away, followed not long after by the BC/Aussie sisters, who died within months of each other. Yet as luck had it, during that time I had the chance to get Nick a sister, my wee Gael, so now I'd have two young dogs coming up. And thus we still had 4 dogs.

 

Then I got an Aussie pup, because it came from a line of good working dogs bred by a friend of mine, and she only produces a litter about once every 5 years or so. Which put us back at 5 dogs. But now the corgi mix has died, so we're down to 4.

 

Whew. I don't think we want to do the 6 dogs thing, again.

 

Though I can imagine one day we'll be back to 4. When the current young dogs get a bit longer in the tooth. Age-staggering dogs would have worked pretty well, now ... but the Aussie was an opportunity and I don't know if the breeder will even repeat this mating, since she only breeds if and when she wants a new pup.

 

It's possible that I need professional help. B)

 

To answer your questions ....

 

[*]How much space would you deem physically necessary for each dog?

 

I've never thought of that. I guess we've been lucky to live where we always had a good fenced yard and lots of nearby acreage to take them out on. We're rural, so space has yet to be a deciding factor. So long as the dogs have room outside, they are content to snuggle anywhere when they come in at night.

 

[*]How do you determine if you have enough time for another dog?

 

Again, that's never been a factor. We just make time. But we've been fortunate that for years, we worked on ranches so time with dogs was part of the job. Since then, hubby and I only briefly worked separate full-time jobs that kept us away from home for 8+ hours a day. Now he's self employed and works out of the house, and I work part time and do odd jobs, under the table.

 

But if someone has a full-time job and other obligations, it would definitely be a consideration for getting another dog. Two dogs keep each other company, but they also can egg each other into bad behaviors.

 

[*]When you have 4 or 5 dogs what causes you to consider getting another one?

 

In my case, it was a case of having older, retired dogs and a dog who would become old in 2 or 3 years, so I wanted to be sure I had a pup coming along while the older dog was still going strong.

 

[*]If you have more than 3+ dogs what are typical responses from people who find out about your pack?

 

Hm, I think I get asked if I breed them, that seems to be the main one.

 

[*]Any other things you consider when taking on another pet?

 

With me, it's just my hubby and myself, and his life is as wrapped around our dogs as mine is. But I'd recommend being sure that anyone else in a prospective dog owner's household, whether spouse, sibling, roommate or whatever, is on board with the whole plan and, most importantly, willing to take up the slack when caring for the dogs. When I'm out of town trialing, or otherwise not home for a night or more, my hubby has to take care of the dogs who are at home.

 

Whether it's monitoring doggie personality conflicts, special feeding for one who's sick, or medications or supplements for a dog that's ill or has special dietary needs, it's vital that the person you live with is not only willing but able to take care of everything in your absence. Good intentions don't mean diddly, if the person forgets to give an epileptic dog its meds or antibiotics to a dog with a bladder infection. And heaven help us, if the poop in the yard doesn't get picked up for 4 or 5 days!

 

The same goes for training: bringing a second (or third or whatever) dog into the home means double the effort, double the distraction, double the chance for something to go awry. Thus, EVERYone in the home must be on the same page in matters of training - no begging in the kitchen, no bolting out open doors, etc - and in matters of managing dog-to-dog behaviors. Bringing a pup home may mean watching that the pup doesn't get in trouble with the resident older dog, so everybody in the house needs to be watchful.

 

It does NOT work, if the dog's owner is diligent and careful in shaping their pup's behaviors and training, while someone else in the house is lax and negligent and can't be bothered to follow the same program. Bringing more dogs into the family will only compound the problem.

 

Money of course is a concern, but I think, for us, once we got to 3 dogs, it stopped mattering so much. We were just going to be spending money, however it went. :P

 

Some day when my old Jesse goes, (he's 13) and we're back to only 3 dogs, I'll be curious to see if we notice a big change in expenses. It's been so many years since we've had so few! ;)

 

~ Gloria

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