Saturday, February 2, 2013
The Second Dog Conundrum
It's a big question and it eventually comes up. Should you or shouldn't you get a second dog? Clearly Jim and I have two dogs....two very sassy and spirited german shorthair pointers. So obviously we grappled with the second dog conundrum ourselves. Our original motivations were we wanted a playmate for Cleo and another hunting dog in the field and for some unexplainable reason it just felt like it was time. That's not to say that the idea didn't scare the living hell out of me. I was comfortable with how life was. We had a routine and I knew each day what to expect in our little family dynamic and we were all happy. Getting a second dog meant things were going to change and I had limited control of all the factors. There where so many what if's.
**** I just reread those last three lines like four times and realized that they made me sound like a legit control freak. Put that in your pipe and smoke it Freud.****
When we made the decision to get Luna we decided to get a puppy. Not to say by any means that that is the only choice. Rescues....especially breed specific rescues do a great job of placing the right dogs in the right home. There is always the option of purchasing a started dog as well. But regardless if you choose to get a puppy, a rescue or a started dog make sure you get breeds that are compatible in energy level. Getting a bassest hound as a playmate for Cleo would have been a disaster....just saying.
One of the things I remember us battling with was whether we should get a male or a female pup. We choose to go with a female after quite a bit of flip flopping. The main reason being Cleo is not fixed which is very common in the hunting / testing / trialing world. We logistically didn't have a way to keep a male separated from her for the duration of two 30 day heat cycles a year. We were also pretty turned off by how much unfixed males mark. So for us the choice ended up being rather easy. As far as choosing a male or female you need to pick what fits your life and family the best. If you have a territorial male you might want to get a female. If you have an older calmer dog you may want to rescue a senior dog as opposed to getting a puppy. Examine your lifestyle and current dog and the answer might be easy.
Getting Luna ended up making our life so much easier...well not at first actually. Cleo went through some phases over about an 8 day span. The first night she was interested and excited about Luna but by morning when she was still in the house she was benevolently wounded. Then she became jealous, then indignant, then slowly she became accepting and then finally on the 8th day Cleo fell in love with her and I stopped binge drinking from all the stress of it. Life has for the most part been happily ever after. That is accept for the 6,000 moles Luna has killed and all my hats and jade plants she has destroyed. Then there was the getting stuck under the deck incident...but I digress.
Some of the benefits of getting a second dog for us has been that they enjoy being with each other and playing with each other. They absolutely occupy each others time. They play tug of war, zoom around the yard after each other, hunt for moles together, dig big holes in the mud, roll each other through bushes and chew on each others faces. There are times when they snuggle up on the couch or cram themselves into their dog cave together and clean each others ears that it just pulls on my heart strings. They for all intensive purposes love each other. Over the holidays we sent Luna to Bob Gelder's house for two weeks to finish getting her forced fetched and Cleo was legitimately depressed. In the field they have become a solid team. Watching them work together and honor each others points has become like poetry in motion. Hunting has never been so much fun.
Although getting a second dog ended up not being anymore work for us than having one keep in mind that it's twice the food bill, twice the vet bill, double the heartworm and flea meds, double the daycare costs and when you go on vacation its double the fee for kenneling. It means more birds or ducks for training and if you pay for help from a pro trainer it can double your training bill. But in my opinion its a small price to pay for the richness they bring our life. We'll never have just one dog again. I will say tho that we were very glad we waited till Cleo was two and half years old before we got Luna as she was fully trained making it extraordinarily easy to train Luna both in and out of the field. I am now not worried about ever adding another pup to our pack and we most likely will in 2014.
So if your considering adding a second pup to your pack its totally normal to be a little nervous or unsure about it. It's a pretty big commitment. Do your research, talk to experienced breeders or people who have had to make this same decision as you and make sure you can handle the extra financial commitment. Once you start doing your research you will most likely know pretty quick if it's the right decision.
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