It's tempting to get two puppies at the same time. It'll be twice as much fun, there will be less competition for playing with the new family member, the young dogs will have companionship when nobody's home and similar thoughts make it appealing. Most experts and breeders strongly recommend against a double adoption, though, because it has some disadvantages; many reputable breeders even refuse to sell two puppies to the same home.
Disadvantages of Getting Two Puppies at Once
It's a Lot of Work
Raising one puppy properly requires a lot of time and effort every day -- more than you realize if you've never done it before. Raising two puppies takes more than twice as much time and effort, though. Almost everything must be done separately, including training, playing and other interacting, taking them out of the house and other aspects of daily care. It's difficult to overemphasize how much work it is when you get two puppies together.
Getting two puppies at the same time interferes with their ability to bond with humans. Two dogs develop a deep bond between each other, often to the exclusion of any meaningful bond with people. One-on-one time between a puppy and a person is necessary every day for bonding, so everyone in the house must find daily time for each of the two puppies individually. That's a lot to cram in. Also, the bond between the two puppies easily leads to problems, such as their not fully developing individual personalities, not becoming properly socialized, not building up a good stress tolerance, not learning that it's safe to be alone and becoming excessively stressed when they're apart.
Bonds Break Down
Just because your two puppies bond deeply in their youth, it's no guarantee they'll get along once they're mature. Two dogs of the same age -- and especially if they're the same sex -- often don't coexist peacefully. In the wild, when the social order isn't well established, one dog goes off to find a new pack. This isn't possible in your home, obviously, and fighting can result. In extreme cases, such fighting can lead to serious injury and death.
Training Is Hard
Puppies must be trained individually. Crate training, housebreaking, teaching basic commands and other aspects of teaching your puppy to live in your home has to be done every day one-on-one. So it takes a lot of time every day -- not mention a lot of patience -- to train two puppies. Plus, they can interfere with each other's training; for example, if one has an accident in the house during housebreaking, the other will be drawn to the scent and may use that area for a bathroom, too. These sorts of things confuse your puppies when they're trying their best to learn the ropes. Additionally, two puppies encourage mischief in each other, especially when they're alone. The extra messes and apparent disobedience tax even the most patient trainers.
End of Life Considerations
It's understandable that you wouldn't think about something morbid like the end of your puppy's life, but it's something to consider if you want two puppies. Caring for a senior dog comes with many difficulties and expenses. In old age, arthritis, cognitive dysfunction, liver or kidney problems and numerous other conditions can cause pain and suffering and require lots of special care, veterinary appointments and medications. It's heartbreaking to watch your dog suffer, and then you must cope with the eventual loss. If you acquire two puppies together, you'll likely have to deal with two declining pets at the same time and you're likely to lose them fairly close to each other.
By Jon Mohrman
About the Author
Jon Mohrman has been a writer and editor for more than seven years. He specializes in food, travel and health topics. He attended the University of Pittsburgh for English literature and San Francisco State University for creative writing.