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My BC/mix Lyka turned out to not be a very good agility dog, although she is a FANTASTIC pet and companion. She just doesn't enjoy agility and is unable to stay focused without wandering away mid course. I would love to have another dog to run agility with and if nothing else another companion would be nice too. I'm not worried about the cost in adding another dog, but I am concerned about whether or not adding another dog would negatively affect the dynamic of my other two dogs. Does anyone have experience adding a third dog to two that are already really close? Would I have better luck adding a male since I already have 2 females or is it all luck of the draw? Is there something else that I need to think about when adding a third dog?

 

I have been in contact with Pat Shannahan at Red Top Kennel about possibly getting a puppy in the spring or summer. So I have plenty of time to decide before I need to give a final answer.

 

Any other thoughts or ideas are welcome.

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I am going to advise that three dogs can be fine - I mean, I have five - and I definitely understand the desire to have more than one dog to do agility with.


But, and this is the voice of my personal experience, GET YOUR CURRENT DOG OUT OF NOVICE before you start training a new puppy. You guys *just* started competing. This is really, really early in the game. You're going to be competing with her for probably another 7 or 8 years, maybe another decade or more. Get her established and get yourself better established - both she and the next dog will benefit, AND you won't end up in a situation where both dogs are retiring around the same time.

 

Just like house manners, the new dog's going to suck up a lot of your time and and need tons of training so you want your already competing dog at a level where the requirements and intensity of training is less. But you also really would be better off not running two novice dogs at similar height classes in the same trials. It just slows them both down and makes things difficult.

 

While I was doing both Molly and Kylie at the same time (training, not competing - Molly still isn't competing) I was doing agility 5 days a week during parts of the year, because while Kylie was competing she was NOT done training - not even close. She never really will be, but she's a heck of a lot closer now than she was when Molly was also just starting to train. As she's moving up into open in some classes, getting close to elite in others, her 'training' is a weekly or biweekly practice, lots of time off and general conditioning. Not 'how to' levels of intensity and that frees me up to work with Molly more. (It also frees up some money).

 

All of that said, it's also hindsight is 20/20 and not what I ended up doing, exactly, and may never do because that new puppy I got? May or may not ever be able to do agility. That's also a consideration but neither here nor there.

 

Right now I figure, though, Kylie will be entirely out of novice and probably out of open before I start competing with Molly and they're radically different heights (Kylie jumps 8. Molly will jump 20) which will give me plenty of time to get one dog their reward and love and cooled down, then pull out the other to walk around, have their pee, get connected and run.


(Also again: Advice. I don't think the world will end or it will be horrible if you do this. Just. Not optimal, and honestly not much about anything pet/dog related works out absolutely perfectly, anyway)

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I prefer to have three dogs at a time. I think it's easier on the dogs when I take one and leave two home, or in the unfortunate event of one dying, I think it's easier on the remaining one when they already have each other. That being said, it does take a lot more time. So just be sure you have the time. And I would get a male.

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I like having three dogs for the reasons Gideon's Girl mentions, though hopefully when I'm back to 3 dogs (looking for another now) I'll have 2 to do therapy work with so will still sometimes be leaving only one at home.

 

And once the initial adjustment and basic training's done, I don't really think three dogs is much more work than two. The exception of course would be if you're going to be doing continuous training for whatever activity you want to do, but that's kinda why you want another dog anyway, right? ;)

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I agree with all 3 of the previous posts. ^^^

 

The main issue I find with 3 dogs vs. 2 dogs is the transportation. Since I transport my dogs in crates, I would need a larger car if I were to take all 3 at one time. Since one is just past 19 years old, she doesn't go for many rides - preferring to sleep at home. Once she goes and I get another dog, I will have to face the 'transport 3 dogs at one time' issue.

 

Also, walking 3 dogs is probably harder than just 2 depending on how well they are trained and where you walk them. I have the luxury of living in the boonies and am able to walk my dogs without a leash. They free range while on a walk through the fields or woods (and have great recalls). Not sure if I would want to walk 3 on a leash (again, depending on training) in suburbia or similar.

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I had 2 dogs that were very close. in fact the only time I've ever seen dog 2 play, was with dog 1. she is just a bit socially awkward. when I added dog 3, yes, the dynamics changed. the 2 first dogs rarely, if ever, cavort anymore. I do miss it. I love having the 3rd dog, even tho he also is not the agility star I had hoped for (he stresses at trials, and like the o.p's dog, wanders sometimes during a run) the dogs worked it out and it is a peaceable kingdom but it is not the same as 2 dogs.

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I agree with "rufftie", I have 9 BC's and one GSD. They are outside most of all day and there are pecking orders with each sex. We have 7 females and 3 males. The biggest challenge is the males but you can have issues with the females. It is manageable to have a third but it will change the the pack. I would strongly suggest a male. Once house breaking, your problems should be a minimal because a different sex is not a threat. I had an old farmer once tell me "A female dog loves you, a mail dog is in love with you" and it's true... Remember, two dogs depend on each other, with 3, someone will be a third wheel. Male dog will work best...

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Talking to my DH if we wait one more year and get the house we're planning first on we could get two more dogs, so everyone has someone to play with. He really wants a Belgian Sheepdog, does anyone know how well they play with breed snob border collies? (Lily is a total breed snob)

 

My trainer has one, but he is a little spooky and not really into playing with other dogs.

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One thing to keep in mind is since your two are really young you'll likely end up with three seniors at the same time.

 

I like having three dogs but I always try to put 4ish years or more between dogs. Right now I have two older dogs (probably soon to be three- looks like I'll be taking on one of my childhood elderly dogs- it's a long story and something very frustrating to me) and it's a bummer in a lot of ways. I find myself itching for a dog to play with Hank and take classes with. But realistically I have to wait till at least one of my current dogs pass away.

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I have three. The dynamic definitely changed when #3 came along. Tex was happy to have a young dog in the house to play with again. Georgia likes Faith pretty well. If Georgia didnt like her, she wouldnt have stayed. Faith doesn't push her buttons too often. Walking them all together is...annoying. Faith likes to walk near Tex (reactive), but I'd rather she walked near Georgia (not reactive), but Georgia doesn't want anyone near her. So we usually run in the yard. And travelling...yes, I needed a larger vehicle for when I have all three at a trial. And all their stuff.

 

I have BC friends with Belgians and vice versa. They all seem to get on well in the same home.

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My experience, and many have had the same, is that going from 2 to 3 is going from a pair to a pack. The dynamics do change, including how they interact with one another and with outsider dogs. Just be prepared for a bit more management. Once you get beyond 3, there isn't much difference except dealing with each individual dogs personality.

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In spite of the fact that they existed within a group of 5 and then 4, Tessa and Dean have always been particularly close. I always called them "the puppies" in contrast to the older 3 and then older 2.

 

When we lost Sammie and Speedy and just had Dean and Tessa, I really wasn't sure how the two of them were going to accept a new puppy, especially since we had just lost the old boys, and the two of them were no longer anywhere near being "puppies".

 

I would still say that Dean and Tessa are still closer to each other than either is to Bandit. Sometimes I feel like they "blackball" him a bit, but Bandit is a persistent little guy. He really tries to get "in with" both Dean and Tessa. I would say he and Dean do have a relationship. Bandit and Tessa not so much, but they get along just fine.

 

Sometimes I wish I could get a youngster just to be a friend for him, but I only have enough time for the three that I have right now.

 

And Bandit is not unhappy. In fact, he seems to enjoy his place as the youngest and center of attention in our home. From his perspective, he clearly considers himself a vital part of the group. And I think, in some ways, that Bandit is closer with Ben and I because he doesn't have a "dog best friend".

 

The funny thing is that when we are out and about, away from home, Dean and Tessa do accept him fully and they really do become a pack. When we are at the beach, or somewhere else, they very obviously have a close dynamic between themselves as a group.

 

I would not say that Bandit has negatively impacted our household dynamic. He has changed it, but in most ways for the better.

 

I like having three dogs, and I really do prefer it over having two.

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Oh, and with Sammie, Speedy, and Maddie I had the opposite experience. Sammie and Speedy were never obviously close, although they always got along. When we got Maddie, she and Speedy became very good friends.

 

In that case, it worked out well because Sammie was something of a loner.

 

They were a nice group of three. Dean Dog, Tessa, and Bandit are a nice group of three, too. I have been twice blessed with my trios.

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the first time I went from 2 to 3 it wasn't really a thing because they were not close at all, they barley tolerated each other, adding the 3rd honestly pretty much changed nothing.

 

of my dogs that are close though?

 

well currently I have:

Happy, Gem, Gypsy, Paisley and Sola - in that order of arrival. but Gem, Gyp and Paisley are the 3 amigo's...kinda lol, they come off as being 3 best friends, all 3 being super close. Gem and Gyp were inseparable and then I added Paisley later. in reality all 3 are not super close, there are 2 pairs... Gem just happens to be in both pairs lol. so Gem and Gypsy are still super close... and Gem and Paisley are also super close. but Paisley and Gypsy do not interact at all without Gem in the middle. Gypsy actually does not voluntarily interact with ANY of my dogs aside of Gem lol.

 

as other said-age matters, Gem, Gyp and Pais are all the same age..it was not on purpose, they are all rescues adopted in 2011 / 2012 / 2013 respectively, i was fully aware that Gem and Gyp were the same age when I added Gyp, but Paisley, I didn't know, because I am friends with the head of the rescue she came from, her adoption was very informal, basically I said "I'm interested" and she said "great, I will hold her for you", I had her for almost 2 months before I signed the adoption papers and got all her info which included her birth date. she is less then 6 months younger then Gem and Gyp. as great as the 3 are together now? they are 4, and that means I am going to end up with 3 retired senior dogs at the same time. I don't find the training to be a big deal, but because I got them at different times they are not all at the same level. Gem is in Excellent/Versatility level Rally, Paisley is Advanced. Gypsy doesn't do Rally at all, she does Odor detection, a sport in which she is a rock star lol. Sola is just entering Novice Rally. if they were all the same level/sports I would definitely have issues, practices and trials get complicated then.

 

Gender- eh, unless you know your dog has issues with same gender, I don't think it matters that much. all 5 of mine are girls, and not a one of them is a submissive "just roll with it" type, all 5 are "alpha" types so to speak. but they all get along just fine,

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I also prefer three for the same reasons mentioned before. They don't seem to get so attached to one another. It's the same with my horses. I like three. Of course with my dogs I've doubled that and then some with seven! But having taken care of up to 100 dogs at a time, seven is really nothing to me. Ditto on the pain of traveling though. I have 2 border collies, 2 working labs, and three rescues. I only have one male. My females do get along, but I stop anything that resembles a grumble.

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I find people often overestimate how much dogs need each other.

 

Numbers aren't what is important, getting the right mix for you and the other dogs is.

 

I got three dogs in fairly quick succession - an independent dog, a clingy dog and an independent bitch. The first two played together when the first one felt like it and all three played together though the bitch tended towards bossiness with the second. When the first died prematurely the second hardly seemed to notice although he had seemed close to him.

 

My first dog was never going to be an agility star or even barely competent so I got the next two - and subsequent dogs. Whether it's manageable depends on how much time and energy you have. You could end up spreading yourself too thinly and regretting that you didn't get the best out of any.

 

With the benefit of experience and from a sport pov my ideal would be a new dog every five years, that way you have a new dog to train, one trained and in its prime and one looking at retirement. Too late for me to follow my own advice but if I had my time over .......

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Talking to my DH if we wait one more year and get the house we're planning first on we could get two more dogs, so everyone has someone to play with. He really wants a Belgian Sheepdog, does anyone know how well they play with breed snob border collies? (Lily is a total breed snob)

 

My trainer has one, but he is a little spooky and not really into playing with other dogs.

If your husband wants a Belgian Shepherd you should be prepared for it to be very different from a BC. We've had several in the family and they were nothing like.

 

I do find both Groenendaels and Tervs likely to be quite spooky, as you say your trainer's is. Never seen a Laekenois and Malinois are a completely different matter altogether. Not for the faint hearted. Depend which type he prefers.

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The Belgians I know are a bit sensitive, in a different way than Border Collies. I've noticed that some of them almost can't be corrected in training. Not coming down hard on a dog, just an "oops, that's not it". Some of them just fall to pieces. Three Tervs I know quite well are very spooky with strangers. The males seem a little more even. And on another note, they seem to need quite a bit of grooming/brushing/detangling.

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Not sure about males being more even in temperament. Have met some rather dog aggressive ones.

 

But yes, they do seem to be sensitive to correction.

 

I find that "normal" BCs on the whole can be sensitive in the same way when they don't understand what is being asked of them but once the work ethic kicks in they are much more resilient to correction. Not so BSDs ime but most aren't bred for any type of work nowadays (Malinois excepted).

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We both know about the Belgians being spooky in general and not bread for work. It would not be a performance dog, so it wouldn't have huge expectations as far as being able to be around other dogs or strange people would be limited. I have talked to my trainer and she warned me about the issues caused by what she calls unstable lines.

 

I appreciate all the advice you guys have given me a lot to think about.

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