Ask the Trainer | Are two puppies better than one? |

Ask the Trainer | Are two puppies better than one?

Thinkstockphotos.comTwo puppies are a lot to handle and may bond to each other rather than you.
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Dear Carla,

We lost our 13-year-old dog last year and after a long mourning period feel like itand#8217;s time to adopt a puppy. My husband thinks we should get two puppies so they will have company when we are at work. I strongly disagree with him and think two puppies will be way too much work. Any advice?

and#8212; Prospective Puppy Parents

Dear Puppy Parents,

Thank you for taking the time to make a careful, well-thought out decision before adopting! Bringing a puppy into your home will be lots of fun but very exhausting. It is easy to forget how much work raising a well socialized and well trained puppy can be.

As a rule, most training professionals recommend against adopting two puppies at one time. Puppies raised together tend to bond very strongly to each other at the expense of the dog-human relationship. This strong bond can also lead to extreme stress when they inevitably have to be separated due to medical problems or when one dies before the other. Another major concern is that owners tend to underestimate the amount of time is takes to properly socialize and train a puppy. Even raising one puppy can seem overwhelming at times. Two puppies raised together are often under socialized and inadequately trained.

You mentioned that your husband wants them to have each other when you are at work all day. Puppies should never be left alone for more than a few hours. Leaving puppies in a pen will encourage them to relieve themselves on the floor and will make potty training much harder. If you leave them in a crate, they certainly canand#8217;t be left all day. Some general guidelines for crating are:

and#8226; 8-10 weeks old, up to 1 hour

and#8226; 11-12 weeks old, up to 2 hours

and#8226; 13-16 weeks old, up to 3 hours

and#8226; More than 4 months old, up to 4 hours

If you both work all day, you will need to have a neighbor or petsitter come over to walk and play with them. When they get a little older, doggie daycare is a good alternative, but will be double the cost if you get two puppies! I also encourage you to do some homework about the various costs, including adoption fees, spay/neuter fees, training class fees, boarding or petsitting and supplies. It can add up fast.

Despite all this, if you decide to get two puppies, here are some recommendations:

and#8226; Crate them separately at night so they can learn to be alone.

and#8226; Train them separately. This will help each pup develop a bond with you and will allow each pup to focus on learning without the distraction of the other one. It will also teach one to be alone while the other is being trained.

and#8226; Play with them separately. Each pup needs to develop his/her own personality and build confidence. One of the pups will likely be more assertive and may control the play when they are together.

and#8212; Carla Brown, CPDT is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer and owner of The Savvy Dog Training and Education Center in Truckee. If you have a pet topic/issue you would like to see covered in the Ask the Trainer column, please email her at

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