How many is too many?
Over the past few days,  I've seen a lot of discussion on several boards, blogs and social networking sites about people having or adding multiple dogs to their homes.  We have a rule.  No more animals than hands. (LOL!) I was asked if having 3 dogs is more work than 2. I thought about it for a minute and as much as I hate to admit it, for me, I think 2 is substantially easier.  But maybe my perspective is skewed.  My dogs are HUGE by most standards and do take up a lot of space.  Targ, who we lost in September was the biggest..  175lbs of beastie who usually chose to plow over things than move around them.   You know, things like people and furniture?  Yeah. So I asked Shel what she thought and her impression was that sure it's easier but not substantially so. I suppose you have to look at the way we have "chores" split up. She primarily does:
  • Feedings (which is no easy feat.  We feed raw and she does most of the prep. work)
  • Vet runs since her schedule is more flexible than mine.
  • Afternoon Walks
I primarily do:
  • Medications (I have a knack)
  • Toenails (same kinda knack)
  • Ear cleanings (ditto above)
  • Morning Walks
Of course, there are more things.. but these are the biggest ones that I can think of. Now, consider Targ.. the big guy.. the big guy with bigger toenails and more medications and was a BIG slug on our walks. My morning used to go something like this:
  • Wipe Targs face
  • Dispense two different kinds of eyedrops in Targ's eyes
  • Check his ears for goo
  • Walkies.  Sometimes I could go two rounds..  Qor and Targ liked to go together and then I'd walk Qay.  Sometimes I did three walks.  Targ was very.. um.. casual about his.. one would say we went on a "saunter" except for the last leg where he would RUN to the house so he could have breakfast.
Afternoon walks were easier because, well lots of times Targ didn't want to go.  So he'd enjoy a few moments of peace without the girls harranging him. Targ had some MAJOR toenails.. they were as thick as my pinky, but he was a GOOD boy about the dremel.  Mostly. Targ would sometimes wake up shaking his head if his allergies were bad and I'd sit up with him, rubbing his ears.. forgoing my own sleep until the benedryl took effect and he could settle in again. Targ was the KING of Drool..  and puddles.. whenever he would take a drink, he'd leave a trail three feet long of water and drool on the floor. Targ hated having his ears cleaned.. he would cry and cower and hide.. and then freak out after they were done..  a good 20 minutes of full on panic.  (yes, we had the vet check and make sure there was nothing wrong with his ear canal) Targ was a lot of work.. I did it all willingly and with love.   But to be brutally honest, I don't miss the extra work.  I miss the Big Guy like you wouldn't believe and I'd gladly do it all again every day for the rest of my life if that was what was required.. but.. The girls are easy (and portable).  Qor has some occassional skin issues and right now they both need nails done.. but for some reason, doing two sets of nails seems easier than three. We never planned on having three dogs.  The Universe  jumped in there and said "HEY! have one more!" You all don't know the story of how we ended up with two puppies at once.. and I don't think I ever blogged about how difficult it was at the time because I was trying to get people to trust me...  you know that whole business building thing. Do YOU think more than two dogs is a lot more work?  (Hint: there is a poll in the sidebar) I'd love to hear your thinking on this, so I can share it with the person who asked me what I thought.  Like I sai, my perception might be skewed!

17 thoughts on “How many is too many?

  1. I’ve got 4 now with more planned, so I might not be the best judge. (And three are bigger than yours LOL)

    I think going from 2 to 3 seems like there’s more work. I think because the 3rd seems like the odd one out. I didn’t really see a difference when our fourth joined. You already had to make two trips to get the food bowls. (2 on the first trip, 2 on the second). We do medications with vitamins at set times of the day. Everybody gets their pills wrapped in cheese, and everybody gets cheese even if there are no meds. It has made giving pills super easy (as long as pills are given in the morning, before bed or 7:30 – the designated “cheese times”).

    Now, when we have puppies and we’ll keep at least one, I’ll let you know if going for four to more is more work. 😉

  2. It was exponentially harder when I added #3. #4 was no big deal… #5&6 together was a big jump too… I can manange 6 well… but 7 is too many. 6 is my ABSOLUTE limit. Next time around I will go with just 2.

    Saint Lovers last blog post..For Rose

  3. I have four under 60 pounds, that’s the combined weight, one more than the city…er…suggests. For me having four is almost easier than having one. They entertain each other, they are never bored, if I don’t get around to walking them, they exercise each other by playing chase and pooping in the backyard. Misty the alpha Poodle rules them if I’m not around so behavior problems are at a minimum. (Except for some continuing bird carnage problems which I have just resigned myself to ignoring.)

    jans last blog post..Pit Bull saves family from intruder

  4. I have 3 dogs. The two boys weigh close to 150 pounds each, and then Lucy weighs about 50. I got the boys at the same time (they’re brothers), so for me it was a jump from 1 (2 year old) dog to 3 dogs (2 of which were puppies). I think how much work it feels like might depend on the ages and the needs of the pack involved. My group of three is perfect (not that I’m biased or anything).

    Sues last blog post..I’m Glad It’s Friday

  5. LOL I could say excatly the same as St Lover! Going from 2 to 3 was a huge jump. But from 3 to 4 wasn’t a problem at all. then 5 and 6 got added within a few months of each other, and they slid into the pack seamlessly.

    But six is our limit, too. And two of them don’t get any work, as they don’t do dog sports. Three of them get major work, and one doesn’t get as much as he should. But assuming Muffit had three homes before us for no good reason (the boy is an amazing boy, even though he does get frantic) we couldn’t let him go to yet another home that may or may not work out.

    So yes we have six, but the four most recent were rescues and if they were not here, they’d either be in a shelter or euthanized… or else other dogs would be in their place. So at least they are alive and happy and well fed and get walks in the park. So no, I don’t think six dogs is too many IF you can handle it and I think we can.

    After I retire, I do plan on getting a well bred puppy to do a lot of competition with, and then we might be at 7, but we should have 5 acres by then and I should have no job, so I hope to have time for them all then!

    Cynthias last blog post..Does a Foster Dog Affect an Agility Dog?

  6. For me 2 to 3 was hard, but now with #4 on the way it doesn’t seem like much more work. We have our routine down just add another bowl 🙂 NOW my dogs are pretty easy for the most part and are good teachers.
    $ will tighen the sports budget as far as classes go but as for competeing the oldest will be retiring for the most part when the baby is ready to come out.
    But 4 is my limit unless the universe has other plans

  7. I have 4 now & I think 4 is my limit. Having 4 isn’t any more trouble than having 3. Of course only one of those 4 is a big guy at about 80 pounds. The other 3 are medium sided dogs. If I had big ones like yours, I probably would feel differently.

  8. Wow, who knew there were all these crazy people with all these dogs 🙂

    I’ve had as many as 4 dogs at one time. I would generally agree with most everyone here, going from 1 to 2 is no big deal, no real change in work. Going to 3 was definitely and exponential increase in workload. I’m not sure why but it was. Getting the fourth was no big deal even though it was a puppy and all the others were adults. Right now I have two who have some serious health problems so it’s kind of like having 4 again.

    I have decided that unless we have a large piece of land, 2 is the absolute limit. Of course I also have 7 birds but that’s another story 🙂

    Flos last blog post..Cesar Milan

  9. Multiple pets are good for both the animals and the people. I like the idea of “no more pets than hands” – that’s a neat concept, but for those who can have more pets than hands, I am sure it will be overlooked. We are limited by a rental agreement – perhaps that is a blessing in disguise!

    Fishers last blog post..Pedigree or Mutt-i-gree?

  10. I had 2, dropped down to 1 last summer, will be going back up to 2 in a few months (fingers crossed). I looked at getting a 3rd a few years back but didn’t stumble across a dog that felt right for the 3 of us. Certainly I think it was easier to only have the 2 older dogs when the one was going through her cancer stuff. My guys run in the 40-50 lb range and are active herding breeds, so can be a lot of dog for their weight. I don’t know if I’ll ever get up to 3. The one I’m getting in a few months will probably spend a few years as an only dog after my current dog passes. Then I’ll look at increasing to 2 again. After that, who knows? I may be too old to think I can deal with 3.

    On the legal side, I live in town and am limited to 3 without a kennel license.

  11. I’z got 6 sisters and 1 brudder, Mommy and Daddy say there’s not all that much more work, cept when there’s a new litter. Of course we’re Chihuahuas so there’s not much to us, but we canz take over the bed if Daddy and Mommy would let us. We each has our ownz bedroom, some of us share and some don’t like to share. We all eat together so there’s no extra work with that.

    Peanuts last blog post..Hello World, My Name Is Peanut

  12. I think a number of factors come into play, including available space, number of people to help out, amount of spare time, size of dogs, energy level of the dogs and pack dynamics. Three well-trained dogs who hate to play in the mud is a lot different from three out-of-control dogs who roll in mud every chance they get. My dog, not the most well-trained dog, hates mud, which is great. My boyfriend’s dog, much more well-trained, but she’ll roll in mud or worms or the creek every chance she has. These two get along great though and are wonderful playmates. I do, however, volunteer at the local SPCA and admit that it is very hard to not think about bringing another dog home with me at times. However, the thought of ruining what is a perfect dynamic we have at the moment is the only thing that keeps me from bringing another dog home. (Of course I say that now. LOL Two months from now I may have three dogs, but for now we’re good with two!)

  13. Great topic! I had fun reading the responses 🙂

    Right now we have 4, which is our current limit, but mainly because our daughter is 4 so on her own is quite the handful. It basically ends up Hubby and I have a pair each, but I’m the main caretaker of the pets, since he’s generally gone 12 hours a day (sometimes more)

    The only real complaint I have on my big number 4, is that it can be a challenge to walk, and hike with 4 dogs, and a small child alone, esp when kidlet needs picked up and carried. The dogs are all well-behaved, and don’t pull, but most days I take multiple walks, taking a pair each (depending on weather, and time, if weather is nice, or I’m short on time, I’ll bring all 4, but most days weather is rainy, so I just take 2 dogs each walk, and an extra walk) I live in western Oregon, so it’s often rainy.

    We also have a nice, rather secluded fenced property, with 2 play yards. Makes exercise MUCH easier, as we have a sawdust and strawed yard for general dog romping, and pottying, then the always grassy yard for dogs, and kid to play in. The grass yard is where the play equipment is.

    We had jealousy problems with the boys (first two), and adding the third solved those issues. Adding the 4th was nothing, it’s like she’s been here forever (we adopted her almost a year ago) so all our additions, but the 2nd one have been smooth, and for the betterment of the family. We’ve had a few fosters over the years, and all fit in smooth as fosters do in a strange family.

    Emily~ DreamEyces last blog post..There’s still time! HVRR Raffle

  14. Nice post! Curious to see the results of the survey. I think we are still considering getting a third but are waiting for the third to find us. I just feel there are so many pups that need a home right now and so many more getting dropped off that if we can help just one more than we should. I just don’t want to sacrifice the care I give my two now.

    Hope God has a plan for us and our dogs. 🙂

    Thanks for the post!

    Natalies last blog post..Fair fun, a cast on, cute clean pups, and a new episode!

  15. Hmm…no more animals than hands. That is a good rule. In my house we have 4 cats, 2 dogs and a rabbit. Which would put us at 7 animals to 8 hands. But, do the hands count if two of them come from a 2 year old and another 2 come from an infant? I mean 3 years ago we were at 7 animals to 4 hands. I don’t know if having kids was the best way to make the ratio work. In a few years when our oldest can start helping out, it will be easier.

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