Episode 29 – Should you own more than one dog? Does your dog need a doggy sibling in his life? Well you can own one, two or even ten dogs but as Dom explains in today’s episode, owning more than one dog means you get more love but also more problems. Often the second dog you own will become too attached to the first and he may not even see you as he owner. This is the source of many of the reactivity and control problems that pet dog owners suffer from. If you want to avoid these problems then you need to watch this episode right now!
[1.23] What are the problems with having only one dog [2.00] Dom and Alex’s family tree [4.49] Why are there problems when you have more than one dog [5.30] Do you really need another dog? [7.45] What is socialization? [8.45] Why you have a different relationship with your dogs [9.43] What is the big mistake that dog trainers make [11.14] Why you should own more than one dog – the case for the defence [15.00] How to provide everything your dog needs [16.06] Is Dom the Grinch? [17.31] Why Dom owned two dogs [18.20] Why owning a dog isn’t a Disney movie [21.00] Why you shouldn’t get two dogs from one litter [24.50] How to make YOUR dog the happiest dog alive [23.00] How to get in touch with Dom and ask a question [23.35] Why you need to buy Dom’s book [24.30] Why you need to join the Inner Circle
Mentioned in this episode
Join Dom’s Inner Circle www.mydogssuperhero.com/innercircle/
Buy Dom’s book on Amazon
Dom’s daily dog training emails www.mydogssuperhero.com/free-chapter-and-tips/
Dom’s Youtube Channel https://www.youtube.com/user/PackLeaderUK
Dom Hodgson: Hello my Bonny bairns and welcome to the Superhero Dog Owner Show. My names Dom Hodgson. I’m your host with the most and this is my very good friend, Alex the video guy.
Alex: Hello. With what that rhymes with friend?
Dom Hodgson: Okay, doesn’t matter.
Alex: Just submit your suggestions.
Dom Hodgson: Yeah, just send a postcard to me. We’re here, this is episode 28. Cracking through these.
Alex: We are indeed, yeah.
Dom Hodgson: A lot of great feedback from last week’s awesome interview with Danielle Beck. She was absolutely brilliant. We’re going to have an interview next week as well, but today I thought that me and you would kick back in the van, by the riverside here, and talk about dogs. Specifically, I’m talking about the … This is a bit of a hairy one. Some people won’t like what I’m going to say here.
Dom Hodgson: You know I don’t care, for starters. You’ve got to speak the truth, you know. I’m talking about why … The problems of owning more than one dog. The problems of owning two or more dogs. Common problems that people have and why your dog, really if you have a dog, why he doesn’t and shouldn’t really need any other dogs. Let me ask you first, Alex. You’ve got a sister, am I right?
Alex: Yes, that’s correct.
Dom Hodgson: One sister?
Alex: Yup, just the one.
Dom Hodgson: Just the one. You’re pretty close, I think there’s a bit of an age gap, but you-
Alex: Yeah, yeah, she’s 17, and I’m 25 nearly. You’re at the age where you have to start thinking about it.
Dom Hodgson: God knows what I’ll be thinking about mine for ages then. Have you always been pretty close or what?
Alex: Yeah, I think in general. Like you said there is a [sevenish 00:02:10] year age gap. I think when we were younger there was a time I think when I was just becoming a teenager and she was very young where we didn’t get on that well, but I mean now it’s that kind of age gap has reduced to quite a lot.
Dom Hodgson: Of course, that’s right. Have you ever thought about what it would have been like to have a brother?
Alex: Yes, sometimes.
Dom Hodgson: Have you.
Alex: Sometimes. I think I can remember when I knew I had a sibling on the way but I wasn’t sure if it was going to be a brother or sister. [crosstalk 00:02:45] Obviously the thought crossed my mind. I don’t know … It’s bizarre thinking about it now obviously in hindsight.
Dom Hodgson: There’s nothing you could do about it either way.
Alex: No, obviously I wouldn’t have her any other way or anything like that. It would have been cool I suppose but-
Dom Hodgson: An additional brother … You just have to get on with … So I have a brother and a sister. We’re reasonably close. Same as you I was the oldest, they were quite annoying to me when I was younger. Again we were close enough I suppose. I have two sons. There’s an eight-year gap between my boys as well. It took us eight years to get back on our feet again after we had the first one. We never had a hankering to have a girl. I know some people they’ll keep on trying until they get that one that they want … You’re no better or worse off than somebody who doesn’t have any brothers or sisters. Do you know what I mean? Obviously, there’s lots of people out there who are single children, and they are perfectly happy going about their lives and stuff. You kinda get what you are given don’t you with your family, and you always make the best of it.
With dogs, we get to choose. No one forces a dog upon you and says “You have to look after this dog and then you have to look after this dog as well.” It’s your choice whether you get another dog, or two dogs or three dogs or four dogs or whatever. Obviously, you can happily have two or three dogs as well. Sometimes people can have no problems at all with their dogs, but no often than not in my experience, more problems come about because of the fact that people have more than one dog. It happens for a number of reasons, one of them is that it’s more than twice as hard when you have two dogs. Unless you have a lot of time to spend with the dogs, training them and stuff.
Again, I don’t want to sound like a complete Grinch here because I know people love dogs if you’ve got a dog you might want to have two dogs. If you’ve got ten dogs you’ll love them all, I know that you will, but there are consequences to having more than one dog, and that’s the kind of thing I wanted to talk about today. If there’s anybody out there who is thinking about getting a dog, getting another dog even, then you need to think about one of the reasons why you want to get that dog. If it’s because you want to get another dog because you just love dogs and you have the time to spend training that new dog and making sure that he knows that you’re his best friend rather than the other dog that you’ve got then all well and good. Get as many dogs as you want.
We’re always talking about reactivity aren’t we, how we have dogs who are … Loads of pet dog owners are suffering because their dogs are very reactive and that’s because the dogs have … One of the main reasons is because their dogs have played with other dogs in the park. They’ve learned to enjoy it and then when the owners taking the dog for a walk now, all the dog wants to do is just look for the dogs to play with. This excitement and pulling on the lead and wanting to get to another dog can build up. That can build up into frustration because you can’t get to the dog and it can lead to aggression at times. Certainly, if it doesn’t lead to aggression, it leads to reactivity. This kind of kicking off the dogs, it’s awful. It’s not very nice if you have a reactive dog. I know it isn’t because some of the people in my Inner Circle have suffered with this as well. If you have a dog who every time you take him out, you’re fearful of another dog walking around the corner. It’s not what we got a dog for at the end of the day. We got a dog to enjoy the walking.
If you have a dog that is reactive one of the reasons maybe because he has … It could be a fearful reason as well, but one of the main reasons is because the dog has learned to play with other dogs and he, associate other dogs with fun, and he wants to get to them.
The dog could have learned this early in his life at a puppy class maybe, just through playing with other dogs and again associating seeing other dogs play. We think we’re doing well by taking our dogs to these puppy parties where they can learn to socialise and stuff. It’s not what a dog needs. A dog needs to be as okay with other dogs as he is with lollipop ladies, fire engines and lamp posts and carrier bags that flow past in the street. That’s what you want your dog to be like. In my opinion, if you want an easy life of course … This is the very lazy dog trainers, dog owners perspective that you’re going to get from me. I’m wanting people who are watching this to have an easier less stressful life with their dogs.
So if we take that into consideration and think about if we have a dog and we’ve allowed it to play with other dogs and stuff, then he’s going to become more interested in other dogs and because of that, he is going to be a little bit more difficult for us to control. Well, it stands to reason that if we have more than one dog in the same house, the same thing is going to happen.
Alex: Yeah, for sure.
Dom Hodgson: Yes for sure you can have a case where you have two dogs, and they may play together, they may play together perfectly well. You’ll take them to the park, and they won’t want to run off with any dogs they’ll only want to play with each other, and they’ll only want to be with you, but what’s more likely to happen is that the dogs will … Certainly, the younger dog what will happen … The first dog will normally see you as the best friend, the provider, the owner. Whereas the second dog will often become too attached to the first dog and he’ll see the first dog as the leader or the provider and the best friend. The provider of the fun and that kind of thing. The second dog will look to the first dog, and he’ll follow the first dog around and then what the hell does he need you for at the end of the day.
This is part of the reason what I’m talking about. It’s difficult for a lot of dog owners to get their head around. It’s difficult for a lot of dog trainers to get their head around. Some dog trainers seem to think that you can have the best of all of the worlds. Your dog can be everybody’s friend, and he can be really well trained as well. That’s okay for the dog trainers because they’re dog trainers. They generally spend a lot of time training their dogs. I don’t know who their clients are, but my clients are … I’m not saying that all dog trainers think that way, because we know a lot of awesome ones that we’ve had on the show as well.
My clients tend to be people who are normal people who work. They go to work. Then they take their kids to dancing, then they fly home and do their shopping and make the tea. The dog walks is something they need to fit into their day. They want to take their dog to the park and get him home again. For this type of person they will have the best relationship they can with their dog so they can take him out and wear him out with a tennis ball or play finding games or play some tuggy games or play some scent work games in the park. Then wear the dog out and take him home again and then the dog will sleep until his next walk or his meal or cuddle time on the couch.
Your average pet dog owner hasn’t got a lot of time to train and work on modifying their pets behaviour.
Alex: It takes time. It takes a lot of time.
Dom Hodgson: It takes a lot of time, which the dog trainers have. It can be very irresponsible for some dog trainers to promote dog play to pet dog owners who really would be better off they be the ones providing the play for the dog.
What I did, I found this online Alex. People have wrote: “Reasons why you should own more than one dog?”
Alex: Why you should?
Dom Hodgson: Why you should own more than one dog?” This is what I found. We’re going to cross-examine this now.
“Dogs are sociable creatures and love company.” I can’t deny that dogs are very sociable creatures and they do love company. If you own a dog, you can be sociable with him and provide the company that he needs.
Alex: It makes sense to me.
Dom Hodgson: “Owning two dogs allows them to always have a friend with them.” Well that is nice, it’s a nice sentiment and without a doubt, if you have two dogs then you’ll think they’re the best friends, but the main friend that your dog’s needs remember is you.
Alex: You’re the primary. The best friend.
Dom Hodgson: Dog is man’s best friend and unfortunately for many pet dog owners Dog is dog’s best friend. Man is just a person who takes him to the park and fills their bowl up twice a day. So yeah your dog does need a friend, but without a doubt, you can be all of the friend that your dog needs.
Just a bit of background, dogs have a period in their puppy socialisation where they need to play. They need to learn how hard to bite another dog and how rough to play and all this kind of thing. They learn a lot of social skills from their mother, she teachers them that. She supervises the play, and if it gets a bit rowdy, she’ll give them a little nip and tell them to pack it in and stuff.
Once the dog leaves the litter and he comes to live with you the owner, your job is to bond with that dog and to try and connect with him. You provide him with the needs. Yes, he needs to meet other dogs, but like I said before just in the same way that he needs to know that a fire engine is nothing to be afraid of and fireworks aren’t and stuff like that. They are just things that he sees on his walk. So you need to be the dog’s best friend.
“Two dogs really isn’t much more trouble than one.” Well, that’s-
Alex: I struggle … When we get Otis for the weekend I’m so stressed out. Surely I can’t be alone in thinking that-
Dom Hodgson: You’re the master dog trainer now too with Otis
Dom Hodgson: It’s way harder to train and look after two dogs then it is to train one.
Listen to this one, “Young dogs are full of energy owning two dogs allows them to burn off excess energy quicker by playing and play fighting with each other.”
Alex: Instantly I have a picture in my head of just two dogs going absolutely nuts.
Dom Hodgson: Yeah, which will wear them out without a doubt.
Alex: Exactly it proves the point. No doubt. [crosstalk 00:13:50]
Dom Hodgson: The dogs will learn very quickly to play with each other, and they’ll be much more difficult to control. I was baffled by that one.
Whoever wrote this is on a roll here, “Two dogs is simply more fun than just one. They seem to get more bonkers with every more dog that you have.” Why you would want that in your life, I don’t know. I love my dogs, but I love chilling out as well. I love resting.
Here we go “If you have one dog that is trained already then the training of a second dog is easier, they copy each other actions and learn quicker.” I don’t know.
Alex: Do they?
Dom Hodgson: They may pick up things from the other dog but again, why would you want the. Remember the ideal life you should be looking for to me is that you want to have … Which is what I state in my book, I state that dogs have a certain amount of needs. If you can provide those things for your dog, they will be much easier for you to look after. It needs exercise. It needs a nice warm bed. It needs food, and he needs some challenge and some stimulation in his life. He needs to feel safe. That’s like the basic things a dog needs. Well, you can provide that for your dog quite easily, by playing games. It’s easy. It’s not hard. Go back to some of the podcasts and watch how we do it with the dogs. It’s not difficult.
Once you have another dog, then you want to provide that for the second dog as well. It’s more difficult isn’t it? If the dog’s got the influence of another dog.
“Walking two dogs is more fun, they can run around together and get tired out quicker.”
Alex: It’s the same as the other one isn’t it?
Dom Hodgson: It is, yeah, which is true. [crosstalk 00:15:39] You definitely are going to wear them out but are you going to enjoy taking them out to the park.
Alex: Is that the best way? Best way for them, best way for you probably not.
Dom Hodgson: Now saying all this that I’ve said now and I know I’m coming across incredibly grinchy but-
Alex: I’ll Photoshop a little Grinch face on you or something. No I won’t really.
Dom Hodgson: I know I’m coming across Grinchy, but I just think that there are pet dog owners out there who will be having a dog and life will be wonderful. It will be easy, and they might be thinking to themselves “Ah, he needs a little friend. My dog needs a little friend.” He doesn’t. He just doesn’t. He simply doesn’t. I hope that we’ve kind of disproved some of the myths about that now.
If you want to get another dog, get another dog. Make sure you bond and you connect with that dog first. You spend more time with him then you allow him to spend with the other dog. You take him to the park. Even separately as well. Teach him that he has to stay with you. It takes a bit more effort without a doubt. Then you’ll have two dogs that only want to be with you. Who look to you for the fun and entertainment in their life.
Alex: I think it’s worth mentioning as well for people who have just tuned into this episode that you had two dogs for a long time.
Dom Hodgson: With a doubt.
Alex: This isn’t you saying “I’ve only ever had one dog dah dah dah.” The reason you were happy having two dogs and have had two dogs for a while is because you knew you would have the time to spend on each of them.
Dom Hodgson: Without a doubt. Yeah.
Alex: Responsible thing.
Dom Hodgson: Waiting until that first dog is a little bit older. [Flor 00:17:26] seven when we got Barry who was 18 months at the time. Barry was six when we got [Sydney 00:17:32]. We haven’t got another dog yet because [crosstalk 00:17:38]. I don’t feel I have the time to devote to another dog.
Dom Hodgson: At the moment, but when I do I want to make sure that that dog who comes into our home … Which is even more difficult for us, because we have the dog boarding business and stuff. The dog adventure business-
Alex: Exactly, it a lot of things for you to think about-
Dom Hodgson: I mean when we got [Sydney 00:17:55], and I had the business then … I don’t want this dog to be bonding with all these other dogs and be dogs best friend. It’s not a Disney movie. It’s not Lady and The Tramp. If Lady and the Tramp was real, then when they were sharing that spaghetti, the Lady would have told the Tramp to piss off, and she would have eaten all the spaghetti for herself.
Alex: It’s true. I think it’s like a bit of a harsh truth for some people will kinda be like oh but it’s like let’s be real about it-
Dom Hodgson: Let’s be realistic about it. I’m not saying don’t get two dogs or three or four or even ten dogs. You need to understand the consequences of it really. That’s the main thing of what I’m talking about. A lot of the stuff that we’re dealing with, my dog training clients in the Inner Circle have, a lot of those people have two dogs in there. A lot of my clients have two dogs as well. I’m not saying like going the huff when everybody gets another dog. I know these problems exist and I’m trying to help people to fix them. Part of that comes from teaching them how to bond and connect with each dog individually.
Alex: Here’s an interesting one I’ve just thought of … Have most of your clients, do they already have two dogs when you started with the boarding and stuff? Or have some of them, they’ve had one dog, and you’ve taken them out, and then they’ve got another dog after you?-
Dom Hodgson: Almost all of them have had one dog, and then they’ve got another dog. I must have not done a very good job of getting the message across have I? No.
Alex: Maybe it’s the training that the first dog has had. They’ve been taught because they’ve been around other dogs, other client dogs in this van and stuff. You’ve obviously said to them “If you want to get another dog you’ll have to put some work in?”
Dom Hodgson: Absolutely.
Alex: But for the most part this dog isn’t going to kick off-
Dom Hodgson: They join the adventures and stuff. Generally, with all of the dogs that we’ve had the clients that we’ve had, who have got another dog, we’ve spent a lot of time with that dog individually. The second dog first for anything up to six months. Teaching that dog because we want to bond with that dog, the same way that we want the owners to bond with that dog. We’re like the second family kind of thing, and we help out to look after the dog when they go on holiday and things like that. Again it makes it easier. It makes it almost seamless then the dogs join the adventures, but they’re not joining the adventures wanting to play with all the other dogs that we take out. They join the adventures because they’re enjoying playing the games with us, the humans who are leading the fun and stuff. It’s not easy all the time, but for the most part, it’s a lot more controlled then say it was when I first started the business.
I have a client who had two dogs from the same litter before they started as well, which is something I would never recommend that anybody does. If there’s any breeders out there, who want you to take two dogs from the same litter they’re pretty irresponsible breeders in my opinion because it is way harder, especially with puppies.
Talking about the gap that I left between my dogs and even getting different breeds and stuff is what I did. I’d probably go a completely different breed again next time. But that’s just me. I like to mix things up a bit as we talked about on many other podcasts.
Let’s sum it up, Alex.
Alex: Having more than one dog is fine. We’re not saying don’t, but it needs a long hard think about. It’s important for people to think about both dogs perspective in the whole thing as well. That’s more important than the owners.
Dom Hodgson: Very good point.
Alex: “I’ve always wanted two dogs.” Yeah, well your dog that you’ve got right now might not want another dog at all.
Dom Hodgson: He probably perfectly happy that’s the honest to god truth is that most people who have one dog, your dog will be the happiest dog in the world. You can provide everything that that dog needs. If you give him a couple of walks with a bit of entertainment and excitement and challenge every day, he’ll be the happiest dog alive. He won’t need another dog in his life.
Alex: I think that is an important thing to think of it like, for people who maybe thinking I want to get another dog because I feel like my dog could do with another one. It’s probably not going to be the case most of the time, is it?
Dom Hodgson: Definitely not, it is counter intuitive. It is not what you would think because we do tend to think about Disney movies and all dogs living happily together. I felt like that in the past as well, you know but I’ve seen it from the other side now. It really is much more difficult. So I think that wraps that one up nicely.
Alex: Good job. A bit of controversial-
Dom Hodgson: If you have any questions or comments, just keep them to yourself, because I’m not bothered.
No seriously if you have any questions, comments please hit them up in the Facebook group or comment them under the blog where the podcast is hosted.
Alex: They can email you as well?
Dom Hodgson: You can email me. I might not reply but-
Alex: It will be interesting to see what people think of this, and then we can have a chat about it again if someone’s got a really good question or a comment then we’ll feature it in the podcast.
Dom Hodgson: We’re happy to prove anybody wrong who disagrees with us, anytime.
You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m going to give another plug because it did really well last week Alex on Amazon, you might have noticed, it was back at the number one spot because of our little Kindle promotion that we ran.
If you want to get a copy if you want to learn how to be your dog’s superhero, so that you can avoid a lot of the problems that we’ve been discussing in this episode than the great place to start would be for you to get this book. This is my best selling book. It has over 80 positive reviews on Amazon. It’s got dog trainer recommendations in the front from world renowned dog trainers. I’m really proud of it. It’s helping people all of the time. You can get the book on Amazon, the Kindle version or you can go to www.mydogssuperhero.com, and you can get a copy there. You can get the audio book from Audible and listen to me reading it to you. Have me coming in your ears before you go to bed.
If you like that, then you should definitely think about joining the Inner Circle because the book will tell you how to have a better relationship with your dog. In the Inner Circle, I will hold your hand and help you and actually show you how to have a better relationship with your dog.
It is really working, and some of the results that we’ve had in there lately have been unbelievable. People with radio reactive dogs, I’ve had canine coaching calls with when they first joined the group. They were stressed out and feeling at their wit’s end and stuff. They’ve worked hard. They’ve avoided the park. They’ve played with the dogs, and they’ve seen some truly stellar results. I’m really proud of everybody inside my Inner Circle. Props to you guys.
That’s it for from us today, next week we’re going to be doing another interview. I think the interview next week is with the wonderful [Mary Owens 00:25:17]. We’re going Stateside again. We’ll be going indoors for that. That’s it from me today. Thank you, Alex, the video guy.
Alex: Thank you Dom.
Dom Hodgson: If, we don’t see you through the week will see you through the window.