Sunday, October 25, 2009

Are two better than one?

I am often asked the question, Are two dogs better than one? My response is, "that all depends". There are many things to take into consideration before you add a 2nd dog to you family. First, does your current dog like other dogs? Have they been well socialized with other dogs? We often think that all dogs LOVE other dogs, need a constant playmate, long for 24/7 canine companionship, this is just not true. Some dogs are quite happy being the only dog in your home and find the addition of a puppy or adult dog very stressful. This can lead to fighting and potentially dangerous situations. Secondly, you need to consider the added expense of having a 2nd dog. This includes food, Vet care, equipment, boarding, etc. And lastly, do you have the time to train and exercise a 2nd dog. Too often people get a 2nd dog and think that the older dog somehow trains the new dog, again this is not true. You will need to supervise playtime, exercise and train both dogs and provide a safe environment for the dogs to live in.

Now with that said, don't think I am opposed to multi dog homes, I've had one for years. I enjoy having multiple dogs and can't imagine living any other way. I do however have the time and desire to meet their needs and provide a safe healthy environment for them to live in. There is nothing cuter than seeing the boys cuddeled up together sleeping in their doggie bed. We enjoy watching them run and play together, it's better than TV! They love to ride in the car together, take walks, visit other friends dogs and always welcome new dogs into our home. Leo, who will be 8 in January has welcomed over 10 puppies into our home over the years and is an awesome mentor. Issac will be 2 in January and clearly enjoys having a housemate.

The majority of my dogs have done well in a 'group home' but some did not and I had to make the difficult decision to rehome them. The daily stress of having another dog in their space or wanting to play, just does not sit well with every dog.

If you're thinking of getting a 2nd dog, try having a friends dog spend a weekend with you first. This will give you an idea of your dogs interest in having another family member. You'll know fairly quickly how things are going to go. And of course when it doubt speak to a professional!!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Leo makes a special appearance at Chelsea Hospital

Today Leo and I made a special visit to Chelsea Community Hospital. We have been making visits for over 5 years but earlier this year I had to make the decision to retire Leo due to a chronic health problem. Thankfully Leo has been doing well the past few months so we agreed to cover for an absent Therapy Dog. As always the staff and patients were thrilled to see him and he always enjoys being the center of attention. So many of the patients have dogs of their own and really enjoyed spending time with Leo. After his busy morning, Leo was happy to come home and take his afternoon nap.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Teaching an old dog new tricks!

Yes it can be done, you can teach an old dog new tricks. I've found over the years that even my senior dogs enjoy learning new skills. We tend to think that training is just for puppies, but even older dogs benefit from learning new skills. It keeps them sharp and they can be easier to teach because they are more focused than younger dogs and puppies. Leo my 8 year old Lab loves to learn and has always amazed me at how quickly he can learn new skills/tricks. Today we are going to work on teaching him to pull laundry baskets for me. Having just had my 2nd shoulder surgery in 8 months I could use all the help I can get.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Playtime for the Doggies

Heading out later today to meet some friends to let our dogs have some much needed playtime. I've learned over the years that a happy dog is a tired dog and finding good playmates for my dogs is not always easy. From the day I bring my puppies home I seek out good playmates for them. It helps that I know ALOT of people with dogs :)