View Full Version : Should I get a second cavalier?

25th June 2011, 04:37 PM
I would love to hear people's opinions and experiences with this, as I keep getting puppy fever but rationalizing it away. My first Cavalier is Sammy. He's almost 5 years old, very sweet and LOVES people. He's quite sickly unfortunately, with SM, spondolysis, anal gland problems, and now an unexplained case of anemia. He likes to greet other dogs but then gets a bit grumpy when interacting with them. His tale goes between his legs, which seems to invite other dogs to pick on him, and then he tells them off and runs away. He gets especially stressed over his food and treats and will get very upset if another animal is around while he's being fed. He does have a best friend Laphund however whom he met as a little puppy and whom he ADORES. But she's amazingly gentle with him and spends all her time licking his head.

I do feel that Sammy is a bit bored and depressed sometimes. I live alone, so when I'm at work, he spends 8hr per day alone (4 days a week), which I feel very guilty about. Though he gets at least a 30min walk every day, he's not a big walker and will actually dig his heels into the ground after two minutes if he doesn't like the weather. I thought maybe a new friend might give him some enthusiasm again for something other than food and being cuddled.

Finally, I do travel a few weeks out of every year and finding someone to take care of Sammy can be difficult. I know I'd be complicating things even further by adding another one.

BUT I have puppy fever!!! And I feel like Sammy has been a lone wolf too long...

26th June 2011, 05:52 AM
I don't know that Sammy would like a friend. Puppies can be rambunctious and jump on older dogs, which Sammy would probably find distressing and painful.

I added a second dog earlier this year. I had planned to baby gate rooms so that my older dog would have relief from the puppy if he found her overwhelming. 12 week old puppies can climb baby gates. My puppy wanted so badly to be with another dog (after leaving her litter) that she would do anything to be near Guinness. He eventually got over his initial dislike of having to share his house, and now they are great friends. But he is healthy, I wouldn't put a dog with health problems through that.

Have you considered getting an adult cavalier, rather than a puppy.

26th June 2011, 07:39 AM
About a year ago now we added a second addition to our family, an 8 week old puppy to our then 10 year old cavalier and it was such a difficult decision to make. Jasper our now 11 year old has MVD but medication controls his problems very well at the moment, in fact getting our younger cavalier has brought a spark back into his life as he did sleep a lot and they now get on very well and both rely on each other in certain ways, they probably still do get on better outside in the garden, but sometimes they can be found lying in the same chair together, they do have different personalities, the younger one loves everything and everybody, while my older one now is more timid with people and does seem to prefer to be with smaller dogs.

I am not in the same position as you work wise as I only work part time, and did actually have extra time at home with the puppy last year as I work within a school so had school holidays off and was able to supervise them both and my youngest one has been crate trained and is still happy to use it now - we never used a crate on our older dog, we got a baby gate so we could seperate for feeding times, which I still use now and life for our oldest did`nt really change too much other than having this puppy swinging around him, but I supervised this very closely, Jasper still sleeps in our room at night and in all life has worked out very well with two dogs.

26th June 2011, 08:48 AM
From the sound of all Sammy's problems, I feel that a puppy would be far too much for him to cope with. And if you are at work for so many hours of the day, what will happen to the puppy? It's almost impossible to give a puppy all the care and training it needs if you are just not there most of the time.

Could you consider getting someone to come in and break up Sammy's day instead? You would probably find that he really benefits from having a little extra attention.

Please think carefully, and read all Karlin's threads about buying puppies and what they need.

26th June 2011, 09:21 AM
I certainly agree that it would be a nightmare trying to train a puppy when you are out for 8 hours - it would not be fair to the pup or to you - and TBH, responsible breeders do not sell puppies to people who are out that long :(

I appreciative you feel the need for Sammy to have a companion, but with his health issues and obviously not a great fondness for other dogs anyway, I think it might make his life harder.

Like Marie-Anne, I think that it would be much better to have someone come in to Sammy, human company would be preferable for him - not necessarily to walk him, just to sit with him and to let him out - 8 hours is an awfully long time to go without a toilet break.

Your vets can often recommend someone - or there may be someone near you, perhaps an older person who cannot manage a dog on their own but would love the company. They could also keep an eye on him a bit with regards to his health issues.

There are those toys now that you play with the dog, that can add an extra bit of stimulation - the Nina Ottosson toys. Also I strongly recommend the Brain Games book for more ideas.


Tania's Molly features in the book :biggrin:

I do hope you can come up with a solution - I know we all get broody for a puppy from time to time.

26th June 2011, 01:15 PM

26th June 2011, 03:58 PM
Wow, ok. I did forget to mention that I'm starting a 6 week holiday (+ 3 weeks on shorter, flexible hours). I'm a teacher. I do know people who have raised puppies while working (with the help of petsitters), but I wouldn't want to be one of them.

I have nothing against getting an older dog rather than a puppy, but it's very rare to find an adult cavalier that needs a home here. I'd consider another breed though.

I've been trying to find someone to spend time with Sammy during the day - I have had someone off and on (she often has to go to work too). An elderly person would be ideal, but I don't know where to get one. I have to say though that when I am home, it's his routine to sleep during the day anyway and I've never noticed that he would have a problem with waiting to pee any more than at night (I also sleep 8 hours). Please don't jump on me for saying that. I love Sammy to bits and would never see him suffer. He's the centre of my world in the evenings and weekends, pathetically perhaps. I just wanted to find out if people thought a second dog would make him happier or stress him out.

Anyway, "no" is the verdict.

26th June 2011, 04:47 PM
Everyone's experience is different, but after nearly 8 weeks our baby Oliver and 7 1/2 year old Clancy are really getting on well. Even when it comes to physical play. Clancy is in mostly good health, but does have epilepsy and arthritis. I feel like the puppy has given the old man a new 'leash' on life. ;)

I don't work outside the home, but I have routinely left for 3-4 hours at a time. I pen the baby when I go out to give Clancy some respite and to protect our belongings from a teething puppy. :yikes

26th June 2011, 05:19 PM
Should you get a second cavalier? Yes, absolutely. Every owner should have at least two.

Jasper and Holly
26th June 2011, 10:24 PM
Should you get a second cavalier? Yes, absolutely. Every owner should have at least two. I also love having two but that's me. It's really your choice.

27th June 2011, 01:41 AM
I think Rod's answer will surprise many.....I would love another, but we have an aging non Cav who has cancer, diabetes and glaucoma, and it was enough to get Claire (it was before the cancer dx).I think if you could find a dog walker, or someone who could assist with the dogs, you might consider it. I am able to keep my senior and Claire apart when we are gone, which is better for my senior. I'm not sure hubby will be ready for another once my senior is gone, as he's been a tremendous amount of work with quite a schedule these days. But I would love to get a companion for Claire. The cat thinks he is one, but it's not the same, lol!

27th June 2011, 04:58 PM
On balance, I would say that now would not be the best time to get a second cavalier, particularly a puppy. Given your work situation and the long hours away, your current dogs health problems & disposition towards other dogs it would probably be unfair on the puppy and Sammy to introduce a new dog at this time. It is probably not the aswer you want to hear, but getting another dog on the basis of 'puppy fever' is shaky ground to start with. I speak from experience on this. About 15 years ago, we had one cavalier, and when he was two we introduced a second puppy. Like you, we worked long hours, and thought a companion would help -I should point out our first dog was healthy, so we didnt have that complication.

Introducing a second dog can be hard work -it can see behavioural issues manifest themselves in the first dog where none previously existed -it certainly did in our case. Of course they are adorable together, but it is a much bigger commitment -unless you can dedicate the time towards training them, everything from walking the dogs to feeding them can present new challenges. We have a very well behaved, beautiful cavalier now, and though I am tempted to get a second every time I see some of the puppy pictures on this forum (!) and would not be leaving them for long hours now, I just remember the issues when we had two and realise how lucky we are with our current cavalier.

I am sure there are lots of people on this forum that have multiple cavaliers and will have nothing but positive things to say, but it is not all plain sailing and CAN be difficult. If you were there with them for most of the day, I would say it would be possible, as you would have the time and energy to dedicate towards training them. And if you travel a lot -getting someone to mind one dog can be hard -getting someone to mind two can be really, really difficult, without resorting to the kennels option. I suppose you really have to think about it from Sammys perspective -given that he is sickly, an energetic, lively puppy may not be the best thing for him or it could have a positive effect -you should know best from his interractions with other dogs.

If you do decide to get a puppy, please take the advice offered on this forum and make sure you get one from a reputable breeder who can produce the necessary proof that screening for all the common cavalier issues has taken place - the difficulties of raising two dogs will multiply if you get another cavalier with major health issues. I wish you the best of luck with Sammy regardless.

27th June 2011, 06:13 PM
I guess this is an answer in two parts: most pertains to a situation if Sammy had no problems at all.

The caveat is Sammy's problems. It sounds like he perhaps does not find other dogs very pleasant additions and a puppy would nag him CONSTANTLY to play, steal his toys and food, etc. If you cannot be there to manage that activity, he could seriously harm or even kill a puppy. Overall, sounds to me like he would be distressed by a puppy, maybe even most other dogs -- *maybe* an older quieter adult would suit better that didn;t want to play. So in relation to what is said below -- it really relates more to the general situation. How has he been around puppies? Does he show any pleasure at all in other dogs' company? Could you (as would really need to be the case) keep them separate from each other but together in the same area (eg keep the puppy walled off behind a playpen...).

If all else were equal -- I would say this for anyone considering whether it is possible to add a puppy to a work situation...I think if you have 6 weeks to dedicate to starting on housetraining, that might get you started but really for many reasons you'd do better with an older puppy. You could just reconcile yourself to working with either a litter box (in which case opt for a female) or pee pads. Housetraining will perhaps be a permanent issue if you can only get your puppy (barely) started with 6 weeks training. Of course you will have weekends then too. But a young dog cannot hold itself for 8 hours -- really only adults have that ability and it still isn't really ideal even for adults every day, but to be fair, again, lots would manage their dogs in this way.

Bottom line: I do think a companion would be a great addition for your singleton dog EXCEPT you have this special case of a health issue which does not make this easy. And yes: dogs mostly sleep all day but you would want some good toys etc (I think most Nina Ottenson ones are interactive with owners, however, and cannot be left alone with a dog though maybe there are some that are great for solo playtime -- kongs etc are good busy toys). If you can give them a good 30 minutes of walks/activity at least each morning and then when you get back from work that will be a good approach-- these are the activity times for dogs -- most dogs unless taken out, will simply sleep most of the day. I work from home and my dogs sleep 95% of that time (though we go out midday for a brief walk and they get about 4 walks a day). The big issue is really housetraining and lack of human interaction with a puppy but if you can give that much time while on your holiday -- frankly I'd say that is a better start than 75% of homes gives their new puppies. Most people I know who ask me for advice about getting a new dog or pup (of any sort) are people who work all day. I honestly do not think this is necessarily an issue IF you can set up a situation to manage and IF you recognise there will be some real difficulties and the problem may be more on your personal side -- the exasperation of a poorly housetrained dog and a lifetime of management and/or a very, very long housetraining period. But you know what? I have that already with two of mine -- an elderly dog (when they often have incontinence issues) and Tansy who was ex-puppy farm and is about 80% reliable but needs to be left when I go out in the kitchen where it doesn't matter if she pees on the floor (as she often does). It is not the end of the world and for me is only a minor inconvenience-- but for some people this would alone be a reason to give up a dog a d people regularly post to this board saying they or their spouse are ready to rehome their dog because of indoor accidents/inability to housetrain/etc.

I think you need to assess your home setup and what Sammy honestly needs/wants/, then of you truly think an addition would be a *benefit* to him, potentially talk to a breeder about potential litters and ages and the possibility of an older puppy perhaps that they have run on to show but have decided not to keep (this is common for breeders), consider if someone could come in midday for a walk... you would need to have an arrangement for the puppy to be returned if things are clearly not OK for Sammy and be committed to doing this if needed.

You can of course potentially make it work :) but just don't let the thought of a cute new puppy (which even in the best situation, is always exhausting work!) cause you to idealise the situation or underestimate the serious challenges or the possible heartbreak of having to return a puppy after a few short weeks, which could be very hard for you.

I do think your priority has to be responsibility to Sammy's needs rather than what you would wish you could have under more normal circumstances. But I don't really know what he is like with other dogs and only you honestly know the situation.

28th June 2011, 03:24 AM
I think 8 hours a day is just too long for a pup to be home alone. Also - I think that with your older dogs health issues it just wouldn't be fair to him either.

28th June 2011, 03:29 AM
I get puppy fever too. But my dog has CM/SM and doesn't care for others too much. (if another cav on the street gives me a kiss she gets so jealous and starts whining to pick her up) But because of her health issues I wouldnt add anything else but a cat to our family. It's just not fair to her. They don't need the company as bad as we sometimes thing. They dont always wanna share.

28th June 2011, 04:58 PM
I am sorry about your current boy with all his problems.

I guess I am in the minority...IMO dogs are social animals and would always benefit from another dog. You can work with a breeder to get a laid back puppy that will enjoy spending quiet times with your boy. I would lean toward a female puppy rather than male, that way you will never have to worry about any same sex conflicts. And of course do homework and find a breeder that has healthy dogs. Good luck either way. And haven't you earned the right to enjoy a healthy dog?

Karen and Ruby
28th June 2011, 10:45 PM
Hi there

As others have said- a puppy may not be the best thing for a dog in poor health lke Sammy

I had the same arguement with myself with my dog Ruby when I wanted to find her a companion. At the time she was approaching 3 years and had been diagnosed with SM 7 months earlier and was struggling TBH

I knew that a pupp would be too much jumping round her head and pouncing around her so I decided to start looking for a rescue boy that would suit her.
As much as I wanted another dog, her needs had to come first and eventually I found a 9 month old boy who was taken in to foster care when his owners were evicted fro their home and left their dogs behind to end for themselves.
We went to meet him and he was perfect, Ruby seemed to like him and her adored her- she told him off when he was too much for her and a week later he came home for good.

They are a very good match personality wise- both quite full of themselves but actually very cowardly deep down!

A few months after Charlie came home I became a single mum and although I agree with others with the fact that dogs sleep for the majority of their day I still have a walker that comes in to take them out, If Ruby isn't feeling up for her walk then she takes Charlie out and then lets Ruby wander the garden for a while!

29th June 2011, 03:53 PM
Thanks for all the replies! Reading them was like following my own train of thought back and forward through pluses and minuses :)

I think for me it all comes down to whether Sammy will like a companion or not. Like I said, other dogs can worry him (would never kill a pup though, he's much too timid and gentle. Plus he has a 2cm overbite and can't get a grip...) but he also has the potential to be really smitten. My friend's Laphund is the love of his life; one day my friend came over without her and Sammy spent the whole time crying at the door and the window trying to find her. I thought then that I NEED to get him a companion. On the other hand, the same friend just recently got a very energetic new puppy and Sammy doesn't like her at all. She is already bigger than him and loves to tease him. I think he's getting used to her though...

Unless I see a perfect solution (e.g. adult female cavalier with a quiet nature who needs a home) within the coming couple of weeks, I think I'll give it another year and aim for next summer instead.