„People who have more than two dogs are in a special club…you know that two dogs are more than twice as much work as one, and that three dogs are as much work as you expected seven to be” Patricia McConnell
I belong to this unique (insane) group of people who have more then two dogs. I already have three and I plan to have one more (in three or four years) Do I agree with the above quote? Oh yes! I absolutely agree. Is there really such a big difference between two or three dogs? Or there is no difference at all? There is, a huge difference. I will try to show you how my life with G Team looks like and why I think a difference between two or three dogs is immense.
In the beginning was Gacek and all was smooth as silk. One dog is like there is no dog. Silence, peace, I can say it is even boring. Gacek was a very sociable dog so we decided to adopt Gapcio. Despite the increase in our expenses there was not a big change between one or two dogs. Of course, I had to spend more of my free time with both of them. I do believe that every dog needs a one to one time with his owner. So this was obvious for me, when we adopted Gapcio .
And there was a time when Gunia arrived and turned our world upside down. Literally. I do not regret having three dogs (I am thinking about the next one so…) But I do admit, it is craziness. I devote not triple of my time for them, but it is more like seven times more. The progress was geometrical. The combination of dogs that I have has definitely had a huge impact on this; two hyperactive terriers plus reactive bully breed. It would have been easier if I had over-weighted Bassets or English Bulldogs. In addition, I am not an average owner and I do not intend to be one. My dogs do various sports, go for a long walks each day, do fitness six times a week, they go once a week to a rehabilitation center and we spend each vacation together. I often put theirs needs above my own but I do enjoy it. I think you have to really love this, because otherwise you will get crazy with three dogs (or more).
I would not had decided to have three dogs if I had not been living in a big house. It is not about having a yard – my dogs are often too tired (after walks or training) to play outside. It is about a comfort zone to rest. I believe that the reason why my dogs are in such a great relationship (there is not bickering, no rivalry between them, they can share a bone) is a large space they have at home. They do not invade each other private zones. They can stay in separate rooms if they need to. They do not have to pass each others, sleep close to each other if they do not feel like it. All three have their own beds, crates, couches. If they want, they sleep together, if not they have a choice.
I am convinced it gives them a big mental comfort and decreases the chance of conflicts. I do not think it is impossible to have three dogs in small apartment but if you ask me I would not do it.
What has changed since we have Gunia?
1. Number of walks during a day
I usually go for a two long walks each day. One with boys and one with Gunia. There is no exception from this rule. Every dog needs its walk, but taking all three together, is rather a suicide mission. It only happens when I have my Mom or boyfriend with me. Otherwise I walk the dogs separately. There is still a lot to work through with Gunia and I can not do it, if I am not alone with her. Gapcio and Gacek are hyperactive, and sometimes they can bark because they have seen something interesting. For Gunia this bark can mean there is a danger on the horizon. So it is better for all of us to keep them separate during the walks. I also go for individual walks with boys – I think they need it, to be alone with me. We also have dog friends meeting. It all takes a lot of time.
2. Chain reaction
Three dogs are a pack. I have no idea why they have to get all the bad stuff from each other. When Gapcio is barking because the guests are coming (we are working on this one, it is reminiscences of his past) there is 100% chance the rest will follow. That is why I believe it is so important to spend some individual time with each dog.
Gacek hates GSDm so will Gapcio if they are together. Dogs share emotions and play „do as I do” very often. It is much more visible when I have three dogs than when I only had two.
Three times more then when you have one dog. Sometimes people say there is no big difference when you have more dogs. No, there is! I have to do three blood test each year, buy three times more food, medicines, toys, all gears, collars, competitions, seminars. It is just mathematics and you will not cheat it.
Holidays with one or two dogs are easy. When you have to go with three dogs it is hardcore. Just try to place them all in a car. Mine travel in crate, but for long trips there is not enough space for them all. Gacek is on a backseat with our baggage. So the truck and the backseat is fully packed and you only have left two places for humans.
I also can not imagine travels with whole G TEAM by public transportation. It is also difficult to find a hotel that will accept three dogs and going to the restaurant can be challenging.
They take three times more space. It really matters when you go somewhere. In hotel I have to have space for thee crates, three bowls. If I suddenly had to rent an apartment I would have to find a large one.
If each of your dog is on training it consumes most of your free time :) Gunia and Gapcio do mantrailing, all three practice recreational agility – and the first issue, I will not go for a group class with three dogs. Gacek does nose work. Gapcio’s main sport is obedience and he takes part in competitions. We also do fitness and weight pulling.
Gapcio goes three times a week to indoor venue, Gunia and Gacek go to a venue once a week. We have to travel to do mantrialing and home workout takes 45 minutes. Try not to work with all three off them and you will feel remorse for the rest of the day ;)
7. Daily care
Finding a right person to take care for one dog is not so difficult, for two dogs is harder but still possible, for three dogs it is almost a miracle. Even if your friend is so kind to help and takes your dogs work a walk. What do you think she will say it you ask her to go for two long walks?
I have a huge comfort with my Mom and boyfriend. They can handle G Team pretty much the same as I do. If not for them I would have been very much housebound. There are places where I can not take my dogs – just for safety reasons.
8. No rest
There is no free time. I am joking, there is after 4 houres of walks and training and fitness. Then I have my time until evening. My dogs are calm and rest at home. But it is not a coincidence They have so much to do during the day they simply need to rest.
9. I only have two hands
Managing three dogs is a tough thing to do. Especially when one wants to pee, the other one has to sniff something on the other side of the road and the third one has just noticed a cat. Even the most calm and nice dogs, when they are in pack tend to behave differently. As i have already mentioned they are under each others influence and they are more prone to act instinctively. It is difficult to physically control them when there is an emergency situation. Two dogs are two leashes and two hands, three dogs are three leashes and still two hands. Sometimes I wonder why evolution did not grant me additional hand. Especially when I have to put a muzzle on one of the dogs, while keeping the others in one position.
10. Unlimited Love
Three dogs are unlimited amount of love and attraction. You will never be bored. They will keep you in shape (physical and metal). When you wake up feeling miserable and the only thing you want to do, is to stay in bed, you will see these faces and life will be a happy place again. With three dogs you will be taking care of your health. You will simply have no time to be sick :)