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Leo's Pal
21st February 2008, 03:43 PM
We have a 1.5 year old Cavalier named Leo who is deeply loved and doted over. We have a busy household with three kids and he is only left alone on the occasional night when we all are out for dinner or whatever. He goes to the dog park several times a week. He sleeps in our bed.

Here's my question: Would Leo be happier if we had a second dog? Personally, I like having just the one dog, but I want to do what's best for him.
If we do get a second dog, we would likely rescue so I doubt we would be lucky enough to find another Cavalier.

Thanks for your thoughts!

Cathy T
21st February 2008, 03:48 PM
Here's my advice....don't get a 2nd dog for Leo, get one for yourself. I thought I was getting Jake a buddy but that's not how it ended up. I'm not complaining.....I love having two adoring little companions. I know a lot of people have had a different experience (I get so envious when I see two Cavaliers....or more!!....cuddling up and loving on each other) with two than I have. My two get along great but are much more attached to me than to each other. I like that when I come home I usually find them side by side on the couch or laying on the floor next to each other. They seem to enjoy each other's company when I'm not home and I like that they aren't alone.

If you like just having one dog.....don't feel like you have to get a second one for Leo. The other side to this.....I was so concerned that getting a 2nd would "ruin" Jake's loving personality. How would he feel when we brought another dog into the house. He was fine. We really had very little adjustment time. Shelby fit right in like she'd always been here.

cy1266
21st February 2008, 05:53 PM
We just added a second dog to our household last week, and I had the exact same concerns! Miles is 10 months old, and is such a sweet, loving dog. We wanted to get a second dog because we love the breed so much, and also as a companion to Miles. I was worried that Miles would not pay as much attention to me once we got the puppy, but after the first few days of constantly following the puppy around, he was back to his normal, loving self. He does definitely prefer my company to the puppy's, but when I'm busy or getting ready for work, instead of Miles just laying by himself, he and the puppy will play or they will cuddle up with each other. Once the little one is housebroken, he will have full run of the house like Miles does, and I'm sure they'll have lots of fun playing while my boyfriend and I are at work - we just hope the cats will get used to the craziness of two dogs! :xfngr: They are both boys, and so far everything is working out great - besides the occasional "I want your toy" thing ;)

chloe92us
23rd February 2008, 12:22 PM
It sounds like you spend a lot of time with your singleton now, so I would leave it at that. I would say differently if you left him alone a lot of the time. Trust me, as long as you are around, he couldn't care less if there was another dog in the house. We have 2 Cavs and a mutt. They do love each other, but their main love is the family. Don't feel guilty- it sounds like he has a wonderful life.

Cathryn
23rd February 2008, 01:03 PM
Cavaliers do very well as singletons, but they do even better in pairs!! If you have room for one then you have room for two!! (or 3 or 4 or.......;) )
At the end of the day only you can make the decision, the age gap is nice too. Look forwards to seeing what you decide!! ;)

Karlin
23rd February 2008, 01:32 PM
I interviewed the well known UK dog trainer Jan Fennell (http://www.janfennellthedoglistener.com/about.htm) a couple of years ago. I asked her about this and her opinion is: dogs (and cats) are psychologically a lot happier with a companion, especially dogs that get little other opportunity to interact with other dogs. It allows them to relate to each other as dogs in ways we can never duplicate with them. A dog that is TOO focused on its owner is not a psychologically healthy or confident dog and will be likely to have separation anxiety (often unknowingly encouraged by an owner) and often develops problems dealing with other dogs it meets (too shy or too aggressive or indifferent because it doesn't know how to relate comfortably to its own species).

Speaking as someone with four dogs now, I can also say no dog's focus will lapse from you and go to a companion dog in any but a beneficial way -- I found a companion made it EASIER to leave my dogs alone, easier to have them exercise through play, easier on me to not have my every action the sole focus of their lives. They are all loving to me, but they are not the equivalent of the overly dependent mommy's child (which is perhaps a way of thinking about dog ownership. Your dog should be able to have an independent confident life without relying on your constant presence, approval, and reassurance. A dog that cannot function independently is not a psychologically healthy dog -- it will be flooded with anxiety all day long at any change in the environment and can become destructive out of pure anxiety if you disappear now and then to lead your own normal life socially or at work).

I think it is wise to consider the dog's well-being, if anyone feels they need to be the sole focus of their dog's attention -- this isn't very healthy for the dog. I know most people are not talking about an overly dependent relationship and simply mean they enjoy the loving equal relationship they have with their dog and that is normal -- but I think it is good to keep an eye on our own healthy relationship with our dogs to make sure we are not being too needy with them and thus making them too needy and dependent on us. It is not healthy for us or for them to place the burden of being everything to your dog on your dog to the point where we'd would feel jealous if that attention goes elsewhere sometimes (whether that be to a person or another dog), just as it isn't healthy to expect a person to be that overly focused.

I also think singletons can get along fine but keep in mind that such dogs need time with you and time with other dogs -- often they are left alone all day while people are at work and never interact with other dogs except maybe a brief greeting on a walk which again, is a fairly psychologically bereft life for a dog (this is actually why I think a stay in kennels is actually very beneficial for many dogs who may find that's the only chance they ever get to play with other dogs!). I also think no one should get a dog only for the other dog -- just as no one should have a baby simply to provide a sibling to an existing child! The responsibility extends to the entire human family to make that second (or third or whatever!) dog as much a part of the total family as the first dog. The second dog needs to be wanted in its own right, not be just a dog accessory for another dog.

Also dogs relate in all different types of ways. Some are physically close, others aren't. Some play together, others don't. Just like people, not all dogs need constant close activity with other dogs to enjoy and benefit from companionship. Getting a second dog means not getting one to fulfil the imagined relationship you want your dogs to have together, but to allow them the relationship they choose.

And finally: some dogs will not get along, a risk that can be higher between siblings homed together, and more so, between dogs of the same sex. So for the best results in adding a second dog, don't home two puppies from the same litter together, and get a dog of the opposite sex to the one you have. Cavaliers all tend to get along anyway, but the problems I have seen have almost all been between dogs of the same sex, or two siblings either too closely bonded and poorly trained as a result or that become competitively aggressive as they mature -- so I always recommend adding a different sex for the best chance of success. :)

jcj528
23rd February 2008, 02:09 PM
This is a Corgi story so things might be different for Cavs

But here goes:

When Zack was a little over a year old, he was as destructive as heck! He ripped up anything anywhere near corgi height. I put up with it for a while until he fell and hurt is back trying to pull a book off the Dining Room table. As you can imagine a corgi with a bad back is a corgi in trouble so during his treatment I asked the vet about how to deal with his destructive nature. She asked me a bunch of questions about how long Zack was alone during the day. Then she said, "you need another dog." So I contacted Zack's breeder who was actually thinking of contacting me about a little sister of Zack's that had some problems and was mismarked. Well, Zoey arrived about a month later. And almost instantly Zack became a calmer and more easy to be with doggie. So for me, Zack and Zoey the second dog was a life saver!

Oh, yeah and Zack is now almost 7 years old and currently has his head on my foot! He still sometimes has problems with his back, though. But thankfully its not often.

Here is a fairly recent picture of Zack and his full sister Zoey.

http://i151.photobucket.com/albums/s137/jcj528/DoubleHeadShot6-13-04Smaller.jpg

Zoey on the left and Zack on the right. Cute, huh?

Cathryn
23rd February 2008, 03:14 PM
What a lovely story Julie, and what a pair of crackers Zack and Zoey are!! :luv::luv::luv:

Chelle
23rd February 2008, 03:38 PM
I was happy to read this post, and Karlin's reply - as we're also (probably) going to add a 2nd dog to our family. Bella is almost 2 years old and VERY attached to us, so of course we're concerned about how she'll feel with a pup around.

hmjkelly
26th February 2008, 01:08 PM
Binkie was two at christmas and three weeks ago we got Taz who is three months. The first two days Binkie was very unsure of the little bundle who chased her tail and hung from her ears. Now Binkie is the big sister who looks out for her sibling plays teases and chastises her. We wonder now what we would do without both of them.

HK
owned by Binkie Tri 2yrs old Taz B/T 3 mths old and Tipsy cat 12yrs old