Find out more about adopting two dogs at the same time
Dr Platzhund answers a question from a reader who wants to know about adopting two dogs at the same time
Q: My wife and I want to adopt two puppies at the same time, so they can grow up together. A breeder of Miniature Schnauzers in my area is keen to let me adopt. What do I need to know beforehand?
A: The general consensus when adopting puppies is that you never get two at the same time, never two from the same litter and never pups of the same sex. Many people do this unknowingly, which creates long-term management problems. Miniature Schnauzers are classified as terriers and are more tempered than most dogs. Raising litter-mates simultaneously is complicated because the pups are born into a hierarchy at birth that starts with teat selection on the mother. As they get older they develop a strong bond, which sometimes remains inseparable when bought. Usually the one pup is full of character and dominant, while the other remains submissive. Also, if two pups are purchased together it becomes more difficult for them to learn their names. They’ll have to attend puppy socialisation and training with two separate owners. The pups then have to be separated for 8-10 hours a day so that they can develop some form of independence and security. They would have to take walks separately from time to time. The ideal scenario is to invest in one puppy which you socialise, exercise, train, bond with and express affection towards as positive rewards. Once this relationship is sound and established, which may take 6-18 months, only then do you introduce a second puppy. Opposite sex selection is mostly to prevent fighting in adulthood in most breeds. The established older pup acts as a mentor up to a certain level. The same basic training applies and then this arrangement usually creates harmony in the hierarchy. A dog trainer, animal behaviourist or veterinarian could indicate when the time is right.