Sunday, June 23, 2013

Puppy Search Suspended by Mango Momma

As many of you know, we have, unbeknownst to Dexter, been conducting a search for a puppy to add to our family. It was a near thing when Dexter's sister, Flirt, was bred, but the breeding did not take, so no puppies there. We've also spent a lot of time talking about different kinds of dogs that might or might not be a good addition to our family.

However, after a lot of soul searching and getting to know Dexter better, we've decided to at least temporarily halt our search for a second dog. This is a big deal as for almost 20 years, we've continuously had multiple dogs except for the year of sorrow between Raja and Dexter (during which Mango was terribly despondent).

I'd like to hear your thoughts and experiences about multi-dog and single dog households. 

Now, allow me to indulge in a retrospective of our dogs.

Our first dog was Angus the Airedale. There was no question about getting an Airedale. We both love dales and Angus was a typical nutty dude (shown here at his one and only obedience competition).

But even with two kids at home and lots of action, Angus was a bit more dog than we bargained for and we started thinking about another dog to keep him company and work off steam.

A series of mishaps brought Pi into our lives. I admit that the relationship between Pi and Angus gave me the view that dogs just love having other dogs around.

Pi and Angus were love at first sight and I have never since had any two dogs bond so closely.

Angus was 10 when Pi crossed over the bridge and we wanted him to have another friend.

So along came Raja. We'd often discussed getting a mastiff and after scouring dog shows and visiting kennels, we found our Raja.

And learned our first lesson in multi-dog households. Not all dogs love each other.

Raja was too much for poor old Angus. As a gigantic, bumbling puppy, she would grab him by the neck and playfully toss him about like a stuffy. While a two year old Airedale might have loved it, a more mature gentleman was not keen for that sort of treatment.

Luckily, they found their way and managed to live together in relative harmony.

But Angus was wearing out and when Raja turned two, we thought she was at the right age to have a companion more suited to her size and temperament.

Mango made us a three dog household.

With three dogs, I learned another valuable multi-dog household lesson. You need to be prepared to manage three dogs with different needs separately. Because they were all, indeed, very different. Primarily, I couldn't walk any combination of them together. 

Mango walked with Angus at first, but Angus was getting too infirm to keep up with Baby Mango. 

Walking two mastiffs just wasn't in the cards for me. Too much to handle (not to mention the poop bags). I was taking three walks a day and spending "quality" time with three different dogs. 

I'm not sure Mango ever really internalized that Angus was an actual dog. By that time, Angus rarely left his bed.

Raja, on the other hand, was Mango's true love. Great, right? Well, not really, because while Raja tolerated the Baby Mango and overall liked him well enough, she wasn't terribly keen to have him around.

But Mango needed another dog. His light totally went out when Raja crossed over the bridge.

We chose a lab as a compromise, "enough of difficult dog situations" kind of dog. After meeting Dexter's relatives and talking to his breeder, we knew we were bringing home a good sport who could deal with Mango's, um, "special" personality.

Mango adored Dexter from the start. Yes, he bullied the little guy sometimes, but he also was very depressed when Dex wasn't around. In fact, when Dex came home from daycare, Mango was happier to see him than me.

Dexter always seemed happy enough. Sure he was wary of the big guy's moods, but I think he liked having Mango around. He would often tease Mango and bitey him and I think he liked having Mango as back up when it was time to sound the intruder alert. And Dex stayed close to Mango after Mango had a seizure or he was feeling sick.

It only seemed natural to get another dog to keep our little household running after Mango left us.

But you know what? Maybe not. Or at least not now. 

Dexter loves daycare. He can't wait to go and he hates to leave. But he also really likes his space.

He's not good at telling other dogs to go away when they bother him. He's just learning (after nine months without the RH) that he really can lay down in all the good spots. He really can enjoy his chewie anyplace and he's almost learned that he really can go out in the yard by himself. 

But he remains a rather shy and emotionally closed dude. I've seen him come out of his shell a lot these past months, but I'd like to see more. I'd like to see more times when he forgets himself and acts nutty. And I am going to help him with his timidity about meeting new humans. 

Would Dexter like another dog? I suppose he would, at times, but at times not. Would another dog give Dex more confidence? The right dog could. The wrong dog could send him back into his shell (and being me, I would likely already be in love with the second dog and do my best to keep the peace over the long run rather than let him or her go).

Why rock the boat? If it ain't broke, don't fix it, right? For now, it ain't broke and we're going to be a single dog household.

Never say never. Just say "this is right for now."

Mango Momma

P.S. Please share your thoughts in the comments about one dog, two dogs, more dogs, dogs who like each other, dogs who don't like each other, whatever.

P.P.S. My big test is tomorrow. Thanks for your patience. I studied as much as I could today, but reached the point where more was leaving my brain than going in. Pass or fail, I'll be home mid-afternoon for some quality time with my little buddy.


  1. Sounds like you got it all figured out! Go with your heart, it sounds like you are enjoying getting to know Dex one on one!!

  2. Good luck on your test, I am crossing paws for you. I bet Dexter agrees with you right now. I am a spoiled only dog so I know how he feels. Sometimes Mommy thinks I need a pal, but I say NO>

    Loveys Sasha

  3. I have a lot of thoughts about this, and the surprises we've encountered along the wa. Let me organize my thoughts and come back. I think you know my overall perspective, but there's more. Oh and I loved the book Rottweiler Rescue. Thanks for the recommendation!

  4. Our previous dog, Nina, started out as one of four dogs in our home. When she became an only dog after the untimely death of our last GSD, Nina let us know that she didn't want any siblings. She was very territorial at home (although she hadn't been with her siblings). Fine with other dogs away from home, but hated them if they stepped into her home. She was such an easy dog for us and was good with human visitors so for the next 10 years we were a one dog home (previously always multiples).

    Fast forward to our current situation. After Nina passed we knew we wanted another dog and quickly found Millie. We decided we wouldn't jump right in and get a second dog so Millie could have some time to go through obedience and bond with us. My husband and I debated about getting another dog. Millie is such a sweet and cuddly girl and would have been fine as an only dog, but she always loves meeting new dogs and playing with them so we looked for a boy dog to join her. Previously we had had all females and occasionally had fights so we wanted to go with a boy/girl combo this time around.

    When we took Millie to the meet and greet where her new brother Walter was it was love at first sight with them. They acted like they didn't even know any other dogs were around. They are still very much in love and play very well together while also being very attached to my husband and I.

    Dexter is getting his doggie companionship at daycare right now so I say give him the extra attention at home. You can always keep an open mind and if you happen to learn about the perfect playmate for him then you will know it was meant to be.

    Not really a definitive answer. I prefer a multi-dog household if the dogs personalities enjoy spending time together.



  5. We have asked MOM to speak here.... forgive her if she makes mistakes... we NORMALLY keep her 87 miles away from our blog..

    HELLO... My boys say that your mom is going to take her CGC test tomorrow. I hope she passes... Be sure to give her plenty of treats and make sure she PEEs before going in. THAT is how I did it fur Little Frankie when HE took HIS CGC test.

    Now my boys said to tell it like it is so here goes.
    Before Frankie we had been a THREE Dachshund household... two were twin brothers and the girl was 5 months younger. It was wonderful because they were all the Same SIZE and Same AGE.. When the last one left us on a Monday we said NEVER AGAIN... Frankie came home on SATURDAY.
    He was 11 months old... not housebroken not socialized... never had been on a walk and was TERRORIZED of EVERYTHING and EVERYONE.
    We turned Heaven and Earth to do ANYTHING and EVERYTHING we could do to give him the confidence he deserved. He slowly gained SOME life and LOVE Skills... but never wanted to be around other dogs..
    The first ANIMAL he ever showed interest in... was a nest of Baby Bunnies that he discovered in our garden... HE was CRAZY about them.. We couldn't keep him away... alas they Grew and one by one... went off on their own. Frankie was SO depressed.
    THEN one day out of the Blue... TWO tame rabbits showed up in our yard. THEY were afraid of Frankie but he was so calm and gentle and friendly with them... he finally won them over. For over 18 months they were friends. We called them the Charcoals... and NEVER EVER touched them. THEY were FRANKIE's FRIENDS. One went to the Road... a place Frankie NEVER goes... Frankie retrieved his friend's remains and CRIED and BEGGED us to Fix him. The Other was Chased away by a stray dog and never seen again. FRANKIE was WORSE than Broken hearted. HE was TOTALLY DEPRESSED. Here was a 5 year old dog.. who had FINALLY made Friends and then he lost them. THAT is when we thought he needed a puppy. We thought he was ready for that.
    We SHOULD have done it TWO years EARLIER. The age difference was too much. ERNIE ADORES FRANKIE. He can't stand not being within eyesight of him. Frankie finds Ernie to be more of a pest. Due to the Age difference.
    However Ernie HAS given Frankie even MORE confidence. The Morning we went to pick Ernie up... Frankie had to be "Caught" and "Carried" to the Jeep... as he ALWAYS did. He Shook and Shivered and hid his face in the crook of my arm the entire way there.. just as he always did when forced to go for a ride. ERNIE LOVED car rides from the first day... and HE taught Frankie to not only LIKE going in the car.. but to LOVE IT... NOW when he sees us getting ready to go away... FRANKIE is not HIDING behind furniture... he is down at the DOOR WAGGING to get to the Jeep.
    Because of ERNIE .. Frankie is no longer afraid of other dogs.
    ERNIE gave Frankie COURAGE along with his total devotion.
    If I would do ANYTHING over... it would be to make the decision SOONER so that they would be more evenly matched AGE wise.
    I will say this to you... if you are going to open your hearts and lives to another LUCKY Dog... do it SOONER rather than Later. You have already experienced what a big age difference means.

  6. Good luck with the test tomorrow!!!
    I have a few things to say about this subject. Being that I have 6 Chinese Shar Pei at the moment, you will probably get the impression that I like more than one dog at a time. :)
    I really feel that dogs, for the most part are "pack members". I think that they do well in an environment with more than one dog. (Maybe not I also feel though, that when those 'extras' are introduced matter as well. Before all the 6 came along, I had one shar pei, and I waited until she was quite old, to add some additional pups to the mix. I don't feel now, that this is a great idea, as the older dog, is set in its way by this time, and I think they may feel a little 'threatened' by this new addition.
    So, the think to do is go with your heart. If he is happy at home by himself, leave it that way. If you feel that it seems he is missing something.....get him a playmate.
    Once, again, good luck tomorrow.
    Woofs, from my gang.

  7. As I was walking the beasts this afternoon I was pondering the question of what I would do if I suddenly lost either girl. If something happened to Abby, Fi would have to have another dog almost immediately. She's a pretty emotionally fragile girl, and she's never been an only dog. She gets worried when Gary and I leave for a few hours (even when Abby is home), and while I know she likes the occasional break from Abby, after a couple of hours, she starts looking for Lard Butt. Fi also doesn't have a whole lot of common sense. When we play hide and seek during doggie class, if she's separated from Abby and can't find me, she'll stand around looking lost. She also thinks moose are big dogs who would love a round or two of bitey-face. For her own mental stability, I would have to get Fi a calm dog who could take charge without being overbearing, possibly a middle-aged poodle.

    If Abby suddenly became an only dog, it would be different. I think should would love be the focus of attention (although she and Fi are very happy with the two-hands-per-dog situation). However, I think she would rapidly drive me and Gary nuts with her never-ending demands for attention. With Abby it wouldn't be quite the rush to get another dog, but eventually I think she'd like a puppy she could play with (assuming Abby was not a teenager at the time - however, if Abby was a teenager at the time, we would probably already be thinking of another dog as I don't think Gary and I could handle a dogless situation).

    Which is, of course, not exactly the question you asked, but there you have it. However, I think you're doing the right thing with Dexter - he's still young.

    -Dr. Liz

  8. Mommys first dog was a collie mix. Mommy also had a cat. The dog and cat had a love/hate relationship. Sometimes they even laid side by side. We introduced a second dog to the family a poodle. Over the years mommy either had two or three dogs. All the dogs mommy had over the years always got along with each other. Im glad dexter has a daycare he can go to to be with other dogs. If there was no daycare , then i think u should get a companion for him.

  9. Personally, I'm a fan of multi-dog household mainly because I don't talk dog. I feel my dog would enjoy it with someone of his own kind. The only catch is finding the right personality fit.

    That said, I think Dex has the best of both worlds. He has his "me" time at home and companionship at daycare so he's not lacking in socialization and/or playtime with his own.

    Good luck on your test, Mango Momma!

  10. We're cats so we can't really speak about dogs...but we think you know Dexter the best and whether getting another dog would be right for him. :)

  11. Hey, I haven't commented in a long time but have been reading and feels right to comment today. At my house growing up we were a single dog family on both sides. It wasn't until I left for school that my Mom decided to get another dog. We have Koda (the golden) and Sophie (the yorkie) which works. They keep each other company but don't play together. Koda is 9 and past the puppy stage while Sophie is 4. Size wise they just don't find that it works but they do enjoy laying together and spending time with the family.

    I think that since Dexter is having the best of both worlds friends and quiet time at home, I don't think that you need to rush to get another dog. Personally whenever I do get my own dog, I will be most likely getting another similar in age. I think that the 2 year age gap is good as it allows you to spend time with one and with the other during the puppy stage. That being said it seems like when I return home I will be getting possibly more than one dog at once!

    Good luck, Erika (Blair's Mom)

  12. Howdy Mango Momma, first off good luck with the test. I'm sure you'll do well.

    Where do I start. I've always been a dog nut which is surprising because I wasn't allowed a dog when I was young. Being the youngest of five kids maybe mum and dad thought they had enough on their hands. I managed to make the neighbour up the road's dog visit our place enough, due to feeding her biscuits and spending every waking minute with her, that she never wanted to go home, ha. She even bought her pups down the street to our house (in the days before people had to lock their dogs up!).

    When I met hubby, first thing after we lived together was to get a dog. A german shepherd. Didn't socialise him, didn't do any of the things you're supposed to do and he was the best natured dog we've ever had. He died at four and was our only dog.

    Next off a rescue Great Dane. He was trained but a total sook but settled in to our home really well. Another only dog and we never considered a second dog because we both worked full time. Only had him 18 months and he passed away.

    Next a jack russell. I had NO idea about what terriers were like. Just thought, hmmmm, small dog, sounds good, the kids will love her. Well they did but, my gosh, she was bloody active, kept escaping every single day and I was running up and down the streets with a belly full of baby number 3. I'm ashamed to say, we gave her away. I still feel awful but hope she had a better life.

    I (with Colin's help) accepted I couldn't have another dog in the home we were in. When we moved house, better fencing and bingo, another dog. This time Cocker Spaniel Kara. She was a dream dog. Came into our home with five kids and never had a minute to herself. She was bomb proof. We had her for five years on her own and then decided we wanted another Great Dane. Oscar entered our lives. He was a delight. Kara got on well with him but when he was full sized he could be bossy. She accepted it and they slept together and she deferred to him but seemed happy. Oscar passed away at 6, she was 11 at the time.

    My mother had passed away two months after Oscar and at what I now know was stupid timing, I grasped at the idea of another Great Dane and we got Brucey. Bought unseen. Never again. He was an extremely quiet timid pup which, when he was young I thought, that's good, he'll be quiet and gentle. Wrong in a big way. You know his story. He was extremely bossy with Kara, even physically pushing her around and she slunk around the house doing her hang dog look. It was not a good 12 months at all. I felt horrible. When Bruce passed (more guilt and still miss my poor little man even with his troubles) Kara came to life. By this time she was 12, and she literally bloomed to be an only dog again. We just could not get another dog while she was so very happy. She had 8 months of total, spoiling and all the attention she had missed out on over the years of living with a dane.

    Then she passed away with kidney disease. I only lasted a month. Stella entered our home and then to my dismay (at first) Colin wanted a dane pup and Rory came home too. They are two months apart in age and get on like a house on fire. Stella is the little bossy boots, Rory loves being bossed and all is well. They aren't perfect by any means but I love having them both. On saying that, I wish I could have one dog just because I think they would get more attention, hence more training, socialising, etc.

    My problem is thinking with my heart and not my head. Next time, ha ha, I would like to try to stick to one dog. Especially now both our daughters have dogs and we dog sit quite often. Hope this hasn't been too long. My only suggestion would be to get a dog smaller than Dexter. I wonder if he would be more confident with that? Take care Mango Momma. No worries, and love, Carol

  13. This has usually been a two-dog house. Never had any problems. Even the three dog family was good. Now that Roxy has been added, Bella has become more timid. They don't fight (often), but Bella seems to bear the brunt of having a young exuberant dog...her personality seems to have changed.

    If Dexter is meeting other dogs and having a great time. Let him be an ONLY dog for awhile.

    XXXOOO Daisy, Bella & Roxy

  14. You have obviously put a lot of thought into this, Mango Momma. You are very smart! When I first joined our family, Maggie was 8 years old. I adored her and she tolerated me at first and gradually, she came to love me. When Maggie passed, dad decided that we needed another pup immediately. Mom was still grieving and barely had her head on straight when Molly came into the picture. Would I have preferred to have been an only fur-child? Maybe. We never got the chance to find out. In all honesty - I like Molly but I loved Maggie. Molly is young and she is pushy and bossy! Young girls are trouble!
    Talk to your mom, Dexter - she's listening!

    Love ya lots♥

  15. It is a tough decision. I have always had multiple dogs based on the fact that they are pack animals and seem to do better when with another of their kind. BUT - it is also so individual. Dogs can have so many temperaments - some love being with people more than other dogs - some love being with other dogs more and some like Reilly - are just happy in their own little world. Denny follows Reilly EVERYWHERE - he totally adores him and NEEDS him close by. Reilly on the other paw could care less about Denny - he tolerates his presence and is basically indifferent to his being around.

    It's a pity you can't 'test drive a puppy' for a few days at home - to see how Dexter would handle it. He is the dominant dog now in his home and he won't give that up - he will teach a puppy and put it in its place in the pack - but does he need one....only one way to find out.

  16. Good luck on the test!

    You already know a lot of my thoughts. Mugsy was a bad only dog, so we got Fred. They had an odd bond, and were known to try to kill each other, then take a nap together in a happy heap. But when Fred died, Mugsy was a VERY happy only dog as a senior, as long as he was with his humans. Getting Sissy was selfish, because I knew the Knight wasn't wired for an even temporarily dogless home. Baby Sis loved Mugsy... and he tolerated her. Then, Sissy got Gg for her birthday, and never have two dogs been more interdependent. They are utterly devoted to each other.

    If Gg goes first, Sis will need a canine companion. But given the natural lifespans of their breeds, Sis is nearing halfway (CRY!!!) and Gg, barely a third of the way through hers. I cannot imagine Gg accepting another dog, under any circumstances. We had Penn the rescue one night, and it did irreparable harm to Gg's delicate psyche. We cannot destroy the sanctity of her home again... unless she clearly indicates she needs a doggy friend when/if life creates such a circumstance...

  17. Sarge's Mom here: Boy, I wish I could give you good advice. I think it totally depends on the dog. Big size differences have caused me some pack problems in the past. Getting a pup with an older dog has caused me some problems. In hindsight, I wish I had gotten another dog right away with Sarge. We are so isolated where we are that he never got socialized. Now it's really too late. I think he would have been great with another pooch when he was young. Now it isn't at all possible. He's not good with other dogs. So, I guess I would say to trust your own instincts about how you feel Dex would handle it. You know him best and I'm sure you'll make the right decision for him. Labs are so very happy and furiendly by nature tat I'm sure he'd adjust either way. I would suggest that if you do get another furiend, maybe go for the same size and age range. I do think that helps a ton. Best of luck and I know you'll do the right thing.

  18. Wishing you luck for you test tomorrow. Good wishes from the Piappies, too. We asked Piappies Mom about our pack situation here and this is what she has to say, Dexter would be the best to give you the signs.

    We can be quite a handful for Piappies Mom as we all got our own unique personalities. We do have our own buddies within our pack though we get along well together. There are a few incidents that we become rowdy though sometimes it's because we are protective of the other. Our household have always had multi-dog home as we were growing up so the hoomans get to manage us.

    We do hope that you and Dexter would come to an agreement through all this. We'd be happy with whatever decision you will have.

    Fudgie, Princess, Frappie, Mocha, Sugar, Wai-Max, Wai-Pai & Forgie

  19. I agree with other's comments - it depends on the the dog. As you may remember, Blueberry made it clear she wanted to be the only dog. I actually prefer one dog personally. I'd say that given the fact that Dexter has his "dog" time at day care - he's getting his needs fulfilled in that area. I do the same with Blueberry- although not with doggy daycare, she has her regular doggy friends she meets up with once or twice a week at the park. She's really not into other dogs all that much.

    Keep us posted of your decision! Either way - seems like you'd make it work so I'm confident this will turn out well whether or not Dexter remains the only dog! :)

  20. Interesting question. Tommy is my very first dog so I have no previous experience. I have, over time, thought about getting another dog more than once, but always have decided against it. Why? Tommy is not alone at home as the four cats are here too, and his relationship with them is absolutely wonderful. Also, we have two neighbours, both of whom have dogs and we end up looking after one or the other fairly regularly for short periods of time. Last but not least, we have remained very close to Tommy's "birth family" and go up there 2-3 times a year to look after the whole gang (7 dogs including Tommy's parents, sisters and more) and they will come down here several times a year when I am away to look after Tommy and the Chans, bringing one, two or three dogs with them. What I am trying to say is that Tommy has a very full social life in which he interacts on an almost daily basis with other dogs, but he does get my full attention as the only dog in the house, plus it is a lot easier to take him, a single dog, with me when I go places. So, unless there is some emergency and I feel I have to give another dog a home to save it, I think we will remain a single dog household for now.

  21. Best of luck with the big test. Hope all goes well there.

    I can't offer much in the way of experience on the one dog or two question, having always just had the one. From reading your post and others (and observing the experiences of friends) , it's clear that, however carefully one thinks things through, you have to be prepared for the unexpected, and to be flexible in your reactions. Remember your Donald Rumsfeld - there will be 'known unknowns' and there will be 'unknown unknowns'...(Also an important lesson in project management!)

    I have always felt a bit guilty that Bertie does not have a doggy pal to play with at home. I try to make sure he gets as much chance as possible to interact with other dogs, but I have noticed that, when we now meet other pups in the park, he doesn't show that much interest in playing with them, and looks to humans (mostly me) for entertainment and fun. I take this to be because he is an 'only dog'. But as I am single too, and I like to travel with my canine companion, I have to be practical and life would just be too complicated with two dogs!

    So, no clear cut advice I'm afraid. Or only that one can over analyse these things and it's important also to trust one's instincts too.


  22. I love that you love Dexter enough that you'll put his needs/wants before your own. I think it really is all about trying to get the right combination of personalities. As I'm sure you know, I fell HARD for Mayzie but if Ranger hadn't approved, we wouldn't have adopted her. Luckily, he gave us the Ranger Stamp of Approval. She's very respectful of his terrier ways. He needs to feel like he's in charge and Mayzie lets him do that. Plus, she adores him. I'm not sure he's as in love with her as she is with him, but they get along well enough. Ranger's been good for Mayzie's confidence and Mayzie has been good for Ranger when it comes to meeting and greeting new people. Even though they're not the tightest of buds, I know they enjoy having each other around.

    If you ever decide to revisit getting another dog, maybe consider an young adult dog instead of a puppy. That way, you know exactly what you're getting personality-wise and whether it would be a good fit for Dex.

    Just keep listening to him and you'll make the right decision one way or another.


  23. In the beginning, we had a mini dachsund. Then my dearly beloved found a white lab standing in the middle of the road and rescued him. Max was a wanderer, however, and always "marked" the furniture when he came inside, so he was mostly an outside dog, and happy to be there. After the first dachsund died, we took in one from an employee's in-laws, who were moving into an old-age apartment, where dogs were forbidden, and got her a mini doxie puppy. They pretty much hung out together, away from Max. Then another employee abandoned a fluffy little dog, maybe a Keeshond? I forget. He hung around Max. Then we got our first Mastiff, and he was pretty certain he was a person, not a dog. The others died, and we just stayed a one mastiff family from then until now.

    I think dogs are like people, and like who they like, and merely tolerate the rest. But I did enjoy your pictures, especially baby Mango, and big Mango with Baby Dex. Only you know what's right for Dexter right now. Hope your exam went well, and that you and Dexter are having a great day together.

  24. I think you pretty much figured it out. when we have an applicant wanting another dog to keep their current dog company I really caution them that not all dogs make good best friends even if they like each other perfectly well. After a long line of fosters when moose was younger I also learned that moose and I had different tastes in dogs. He wanted lots of tug and bitey face indoors and out and wanted to play play play where as most of the fosters that I felt closer to pretty much ignored moose event tho they 'got along' fine. I think this was frustrating to him at times. Now that he is senior and can only do short play sessions our tastes are much more similar tho. Enter: pixie who snuggles with me and occasionally plays with Moose and more importantly rarely knocks him around since he is wobbly these days. I feel so lucky to have found the right dog because I think that while a lot would have fit in well enough there are not that many that would really make us both happier. I think the right companion is out there for dex but also dont see him as really feeling deprived of anything in your current situation. He is a lucky boy! Maybe another series of mishaps will land his lifelong buddy in your home like happened with Pi but probably not if you are looking! ;-)
    -Mooses Momma

  25. The only reason there is a 'Sam and Pippen' is because Sam loved puppies when he was younger. Sam never wanted to leave the dog park and was always playing with everyone. When we went to look at Pippen's litter, Sam was in seventh heaven... he wanted to play with them all.

    On our way home I looked in the rear view mirror and Sam was looking at me and looking at Pippen. I'm sure he thought I didn't realize one of the puppies accidently got in the car and he wasn't about to tell me until we got home!

    Many people have asked me if they should get another dog and I've always said that you need to find out if your dog wants another one. If Sam had hated puppies or didn't like going to the dog park so much, I wouldn't have have given a second dog another thought.

    You are right to listen to Dexter... and like you said, maybe later, just not now.

    Sam and Pippen's mom

  26. Mango Mamma,

    I'm catching up on blogs, so first of all congratulations on passing your test! Well done!!!!!

    The two or more dog issue is something you may already know the right answer for you to do. For us when our first Golden Retriever died (after 12 years with us) we never wanted to come home to a house with out a dog again. We got Riley six months later and then thought getting a second golden retriever (when Riley was four) would be great company for him, but Riley had his nose seriously put out of joint for ages at loosing 100% of our attention! He didn't like a pup stealing his toys (have trained Enzo not to do that now) or humans. Two years on Riley doesn't give a backward glance if we take him in the car or for a walk without Enzo, but at other times he happily play fights with Enzo in the garden, they sleep side by side and they are partners in crime if they think there is a cat near the fence or there is the chance of extra food treats from me!

    It is great Dexter is getting time with other dogs through his day care. You also know your own time commitments. One random suggestion for you to consider or ignore, is have you considered having a assistance dog for a year (a blind, hearing, drug, airport type dog) so you can see how Dexter copes with another dog on your property (usually a Lab, GR or dog about his size which might be easier for you to walk two dogs together) before sending that dog on to do good things for someone else? I have friends who have raised puppies for the blind (with their own dog and child), and although giving the pup up it hard they have raised guide dogs several times. After a year you would also know if you and Dexter are best with a one dog or more dog(s) household.

    Single dog or multiple dog households all have their benefits (and issues!) so just choose whatever works best for you all.

  27. We're coming awfully late to the party so don't know whether our comment is worthwhile or not! ;-)

    As a "One-Dog person" - I'm probably not qualified to comment since my personal preference is for only 1 dog in the household and so that's what we'll probably always have. If we have any at all (I'm a big believer in "taking time" and when Honey leaves us, I don't think we'll be one of those families who quickly add a new puppy within a month or two...). It's mainly for the reasons you mentioned - not that I don't believe that you can't have enough love in your heart for more than 1 dog but it does lower the quality time you have with each and introduce all the stresses of managing them together outside, especially if you choose to have a giant breed. There are still situations where I'm nervous of taking one giant dog into, never mind managing another one (even if it's small). But mainly, I think I'm just selfish and I know that 2 dogs will require even more time & effort from me (if I want to do it properly) - I always admired how tirelessly you catered to both Mango & Dexter's needs and fit it all in between your other stuff...but I know that I couldn't do that without getting impatient & grouchy at the dogs - and that wouldn't be fair to them. I guess it's about knowing yourself as well as knowing the dogs.

    And I have to say that the other big thing is age, I think. Along the lines of what you said about Angus - I definitely would NOT add a pup to our household now even if I could be convinced to have 2 dogs coz it would just be terribly unfair to Honey. Up until 5 or 6yrs maybe, she might have enjoyed it but she would hate it now and although she would learn to put up with it to please me, it would probably be one of the meanest things I could do to her. She likes her space and her "quiet" now and her routines - and I think, at her age, she deserves it. So I personally think that unless you add the 2nd dog when the first one is still quite young, it's being unfair. And also, as you said, as the first one keeps ageing, the discrepancies in energies & wants/needs gets even bigger. We even notice it between Honey & Muesli and they're not even the same species! We see Muesli often trying to engage Honey in play and running around, batting her, rolling over, trying to excite her and it's really sad because the same behaviour from Lemon when Honey was young produced the most wonderful inter-species play sessions but now Honey just isn't interested. She tolerates it and occasionally responds with a little "bounce" but overall, she ignores Muesli's overtures - and we feel very sorry for Muesli too because I think with all the energy she's got, she would really have liked a younger dog who would have played with her.


  28. (...continued)

    I totally agree that Dexter seems happy and with his regular daycare, you are meeting his social needs - it's not like he's stuck at home and never sees or interacts with other dogs - he gets to do that but then he gets his own space at home too and it sounds like for his personality, it's the best combination. So I personlly would stick with the current status quo. I don't think all dogs need to have a canine companion to live with. I guess it's a bit like some people love children but don't necessarily feel the need to have their own. They enjoy interacting with kids but they also enjoy going home to a child-free house.

    Don't know how you feel about cats but maybe a feline companion as an alternative? That would remove the "extra work" aspect for you but still provide Dexter with some kind of companionship - and it's a different kind. As a household which has almost always had a dog & a cat, I really like this slightly different dynamic of companionship between pets. They each bring something different to the table. Of course, I know there are households where the cats & dogs don't get along and that can cause all sorts of stresses too...although usually introducing the new one as a baby smooths the way.

    Whew! Sorry, I've written one of my massive comments again! Anyway, I think it's great that you're putting so much thought into it and taking Dexter's needs into consideration - sadly, a lot of pet owners don't always think so thoroughly.


  29. I'm late to the game, but I'll throw my two cents in just for giggles. With our Greyhounds, they have always loved having the company of another Greyhound and they are very easy to manage together. We've always had harmony with the hounds. Morgan liked the Greyhounds, but she got really happy when she was with other Shepherds. They liked to play like she did and the hounds did not. When we brought Kuster here, she was over the moon. Having pairs has always allowed us to leave the dogs knowing they had each other for company.

    Honestly, I think a lot of it comes down to each individual personality. I've had some dogs that were definitely more suited to being alone than others. If you think Dex is happier now alone, there's nothing wrong with that. Maybe he'd be happier with a puppy around, too, or even a dog who's a little past puppyhood. I think you'll be able to tell when you and Dex are really ready, though!

  30. I've always had one and while some part of me wishes I could have ALL the puppies, one feels right. My dogs have always had besties or even larger hiking packs. They welcome their friends into our home and visit politely at their friends homes. But each of my girls was always glad when the visitors were gone.

    The other issue is that I love big dogs, specifically rotts...which for some reason have a horrible reputation. Walking two would be out of the question! And time and my own health won't allow two walks..

    I think if Dex has friends at daycare, he may be just fine being the only fur baby at home.

  31. I think my biggest thing is leaving them home alone. Since Dex goes to daycare I don't think there is anything wrong with being a one dog household. Storm was alone for a year before I got Jackal and she was fine with it, but I felt awful for her. It had to be like being in solitary confinement! Now with two, they don't interact a whole lot and definitely don't play at all (since she's gotten older and more grouchy), but they still have that quiet companionship together so it works. :)

  32. From what you have said, leave Dexter as an only dog for now.

    My husband came with two cats. He adopted Keiko at about 1.5 years old. She needed more attention than my husband could provide with his work schedule. She would not tolerate other adult cats, so my husband adopted Chyna, a kitten of eight weeks. Keiko adopted Chyna, and was very protective of her for the next twelve years.

    Five years ago, Chyna died. Keiko was heartbroken, and spent the following month looking for Chyna. Three months later, we adopted a kitten, Mera Attilla.

    It turned out Mera was another alpha cat, which she expressed from the moment we introduced her to Keiko. After six weeks, it was obvious that Mera needed a playmate her own age, and someone she could dominate. Washington Appomattox came home, three weeks younger than Mera, but already obviously going to be larger than his cousin.

    From that moment, Keiko and Mera became best friends, united against "the boy." Keiko had companionship, Mera had someone to bully and beat-up (even if he was twice her size), Wash had a playmate, and a hierarchy was established with detente between the girls.

    Keiko died two years ago. Mera and Washington were fine as a pair. Wash was "my boy," and definitely was given more attention than Mera. He died this past September, barely 4.5 years old.

    We debated if we should find another companion for Mera. We move internationally so often, we had agreed not to adopt any more pets. But we had expected Mera would have Washington with her for at least another decade.

    We always thought two pets were better than one, so that they have companionship while we are at work or when we are away. Yet Mera seems to be doing better in some ways as an only pet. She has become much more affectionate. She has started purring again, something she had ceased to do after Wash arrived. She will now come when she is called, something she refused to do with Washington around. She is playing more, and it seems to be more for real enjoyment. Mera and I are bonding for the first time (she's always been my husband's cat). For now, what seems best for Mera is for her to be the sole pet. We are trusting that if this changes, she will let us know.

    When you started Dexter's blog, you said it was difficult to find Dexter's voice, that he was so different from Mango. So give him the chance to be different, and the chance to find his place. Maybe you need to be each other's companions for awhile, just the three of you. Let him be the center of your attention. Trust that when he needs that to change, Dexter will let you know.

  33. Congrats on pssing the test and the new license! I'm reading backwards!

    I think it's great you have figured out what's right for Dexter.

  34. Congrats on the test!! Woohoo!!

    I really enjoyed reading your post about adding another dog. I grapple with the same decision, too. Cosmo loves DD and goes about once a week. He seems to have really developed a new/grown-up personality in the last year since Clover passed.

    It really is much easier with one dog, but I'm not closed to the idea of adding another .. just not right now.

  35. I'm sure whatever you decide will be just fine!
    I love having multiple dogs but with some dogs you really have to make sure that you have the right combination. I'm sure Vito would be happier as an only dog but I make sure that he has plenty of space where he can get away from the fosters, has lots of 1 on 1 time with just me and him, and I encourage him to tell the puppies off when they're invading his space. Not his version of ideal, but it works and making me a happier owner is better for him :)

  36. Obviously I like a multi dog household, but we never intended to have ten. I had a 13 year old dog when Rob and I met. She was showing her age. We found a little stray and though my old dog tried to ignore the puppy, we credit the pups with adding two years to Libby's life. It kept her moving and attentive and improved her quality of life too.

    When Lib dies at age 15, Py developed an ulcer and the vet suggested we get her a friend. Since then we've had two or more dogs and they all seem to enjoy each other's company. When the pups were born I only intended to keep two but we couldn't choose and wound up keeping six. It's worked out OK for us.

  37. We got Delilah because I felt Sampson needed a companion while we were gone all day. They get along well but I don't think they are in love with each other. I love Delilah to pieces but sometimes think if I could do it over, I wouldn't add the 2nd dog. Sampson's life changed so much because of her and her needs.

    I'm not sure what will happen when I lose one of them, I told Hubby I'd like to not get another dog and instead give the dog I have left the best I can possibly do, but I think that will be determined when the time comes. I may foster for a while, which will bring companionship but not a full-time commitment.

    I think you need to make the decision as to what is best for your family but particularly Dexter.

  38. I was not at all on board with getting another Newf when we got Leroy. I was terrified because I seriously loved Sherman so much that I didn't want to take any of that love away from him and give it to another dog. I knew he would never be with me long enough and I wanted to spoil him and love him as much as I could. Then Leroy came along and I still love Sherman just as much but having 2 giant breeds as you know is a lot and I honestly do think each of them gets slighted here and there even though I try my best not to do that and have time together and special time with each of them. Sherman would be a good one household dog, but Leroy definitely needs to have another dog with him.

  39. I think there is no correct or wrong answer. It is just like any human kids. Some kids adore their siblings but some don't enjoy the company of them. However, if I were you, I would definitely choose to get a new addition to the family, because I am too scared to be left without any dog in case something really bad happens and we lose our only dog.

    Cinnamon's mum

  40. Mazel tov on your new addition to your resume! Hope it leads to more interesting [and lucrative] assignments.

    We're not keeping up with blogs much now, between mama's health issues and the death of the laptop, but we're going to put in our two cents worth even though Dexter Momma [and Master] has made her decision for now.

    Mama is a multi-dog person. Before the arrival of Abby and her strong prey drive, she was also a multi-dog and cat person. While mama has lived with up to 17 Danes at a time [all related to each other and counting litters of puppies], she's mostly a 2 to 3 dog at a time person. In all her decades, mama has only encountered one Dane who truly wanted to be an only dog. Most dogs really love their peeps and the attention they get from peeps, but fundamentally, what most dogs want is to be with other dogs. When Jed spots an intruder outside the fence, he doesn't look to mama to get his back; he looks to Abby. Only advice, if you do decide to add another dog: involve Dexter from the start and take him with you to interview the possible new addition. You can tell right away whether he's giving a paws up or a paws down on a candidate. If Dex is indifferent or hostile, move on. When you find the right one, the joy on Dexter's face and the wriggle in his body will tell you. Dogs may be fluent in speaking human, but their first language will always be dog.

  41. This is the most interesting discussion! All I really wanted to say is that when Bart was young I often thought he'd have been happier as an only dog. Gizmo was so bossy and pushy and larger than life, and Allie was pretty alpha, though she stayed out of their sibling stuff. At any rate, as I've written before, after Gizmo died, Ruby really brought Bart out of his shell. He plays and wiggles like never before. Both Bart and Ruby, at 8 and a half, are aging. I wanted to get another dog as I couldn't face the day when one of them would be alone. A puppy was out of the question for many of the reasons discussed above, and the fact that Bart and Gizmo as puppies had pretty much distroyed our house. When I went to look at Otto I took both Bart and Ruby with me. Otto was energetic, but submissive to both of them. He is an amazing dog. He is so smart. He has figured out how to get each of them to play with him, while being submissive to them. He rolls over on his back and slides under Bart so Bart can be dominate and then he'll jump up and pounce around, but never jumps on Bart or does anything physical. Bart is pretty arthritic at this point and in pain in his hind quarters, and Otto is very respectful of HOW Bart can play with him. On days when Bart is particularly painful, Otto seems to know and backs off. With Ruby, Queen of toys, Otto will take her a toy and drop it, then when she picks it up, they'll play tug, but he always lets her win. I guess my point is twofold. I think Bart is happier having the other two around, even though it wouldn't have been my innitial response to him. Secondly, I agree with Mayzie's suggestion, that getting a dog closer in age to Dexter rather than a puppy might be a good idea - butt in any event, Dex should be part of the decision.

    It's funny, in writing this, to be completely honest, both Bart and Ruby are having bad days. When they go would I get another dog? Otto LOVES other dogs, but he's so smart, he would also love some more intense training.... hmmm....

    Again - this was a great discussion! Thanks for posing the question. It's obviously something all of us have thought a lot about! Happy 4th! Otto and I are off to the beach!!

  42. Hope that the big test went well!

    We've always had at least 2 dogs, because neither of us can bear to share one dog. That's the entire reason. After K died, R seemed to enjoy his time of being an only dog. However, since Shyla has arrived, she's made him act goofy and younger... which is a good thing!

    I guess it's specific to each family's situation and each dog as to whether another one is a good idea. It sounds to me as if you are putting Dexter first, which is a wonderful thing to do!