adding a 3rd dog ... yes or no? - Mothering Forums

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Old 11-22-2007, 04:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We have a 10 year old Jack Russell Terrier with dominance issues (what JRT doesn't?!) and an almost 2 year old Australian Shepherd who, miraculously enough, worships the JRT. Both dogs were unofficial rescues from situations that were not workable for them or their people. Two dogs is a lot in our not so sub-urban neighborhood. We do have a large, fenced back yard, and they are indoor/outdoor dogs. We love them, and though they are high energy and a handful, so are all of us!

Problem: my retired, disabled mom found a stray dog in a supermarket parking lot two weeks ago. It's a mutt for sure, pretty young, sweet but spunky, male (intact, which makes me think it is truly a stray - no collar or tags, either). My mom can't keep it, has had no luck finding an owner, and (unfortunately!) my children have been over to meet it. Now all three are clamoring to keep this dog. It doesn't help that the pound is likely the only other option.

I would say yes, but I'm crazy and am always taking on too many projects. My husband is a softie when it comes to animals, so cannot be relied upon to say no. His main objection will be the expense and the increased poop output, since he's the one who does most of the scooping.

Advice, please? Is adding a third dog like adding a third child? Aren't three dogs and three children too many?! Aren't two dogs and three children too many already?! I mean, it's not like we live on a farm for crying out loud!

TIA for your help!
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Old 11-22-2007, 05:06 AM
 
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Well, 3 dogs constitutes a pack.
I always hate going past the neighbor's house that has 3 dogs. He can't control any ONE of the dogs, much less a whole pack. I mean they aren't mean but just barky/jumpy/out of control. THAT would be my main issue with having so many dogs. Can you control them all?
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Old 11-22-2007, 03:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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How does having a pack differ from having two dogs? Would it change the way they interact with the people in the house? Would they look to the canine pack leader for direction rather than to the human pack leader(s)?

Could we control 3? Hmmmm. In our house and yard I don't think it would be a problem. If they all got out at once without permission? It might be a bit of a circus rounding them up. The JRT and the Aussie aren't perfectly obedient, but I wouldn't describe them as "out of control".

Anyone who has three or more dogs who could give advice? Of course the children are saying they'll do more, train more, etc. but we've got plenty to do as it is.

I'm leaning towards no.
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Old 11-22-2007, 04:34 PM
 
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Ive been considering getting a 2nd dog. Right now we have a 9 month old cross half chihuaha half jack russell terrier, she was an unofficial rescue we got at 10 weeks old too.

I almost got an 8 week old jack russell terrier cross half shih tzu last week but I managed to stop myself, thankfully they were sold quick but I did go see them and hold them! Then today I saw someone was selling yorkshire terrier puppies 8 weeks old, again thankfully all the females had been sold or reserved so I couldnt be tempted. Im sure we'll end up with a second dog sooner or later though!

Better to get another female since we have a female dog already right?

My biggest concern, besides the increase in poop to clean up ofcourse : is the increase in dog hair in the home! I would definately try to get a breed that doesnt shed so much hair next time! Our dog is only tiny as you can imagine but boy does she shed a lot of hair!
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Old 11-22-2007, 05:00 PM
 
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Three dogs and three children is a LOT of work. I have four dogs and three babies and am quite frequently overwhelmed. Between taking care of babies, letting dogs in and out all day long, not to mention feeding them and cleaning up after them (they do sometimes have accidents no matter how potty trained they are ) there are days that I am totally exhausted and don't even have a minute to myself :

Of our four dogs three are VERY well trained (we used to train 6 days a week until this past year and all the babies).

What is the sex of the two dogs you already have? That will have an impact on your decision as well.

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Old 11-22-2007, 05:08 PM
 
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subb'ing, because we're thinking of adding a 3rd, too. Our oldest dog will likely pass on within the next 2 years (she's 12 and has been having some breathing issues). We'd like to add another before she pases to help our younger dog with the transition. I don't know what he would do without her.

We're still tossing the idea around, though.
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Old 11-22-2007, 05:40 PM
 
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My mom (whom we live with) added a third dog in May. We had two six year old females who grew up basically together (shih tzu and belgian sheepdog) and added a 6 year old female german shepherd. We had zero problems, part of which is luck, but a big part is my mother is the most dominant thing in the house, and she didn't tolerate any lip from any of them. After we got past the intro phase, it wasn't much more work. BUT. You can walk 2 dogs on extend-a-leashes together. You can't walk three. It means someone needs to hold the third, someone competant enough to not tangle it with the others, or you need to walk the third seperately, or you need to have a fenced yard to let them out into.

A third dog (and a second dog) will learn from the others, so if they respect you as head of the pack, the new one will understand that. If your other two were giving you trouble with control, a third would sense that you weren't a strong leader and would possibly challenge you. Of course, some dogs are more prone to dominance, so some of that is predetermined, but it helps. My mom always owned 2 at a time, so the older one would help train the younger.
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Old 11-23-2007, 02:20 PM
 
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I love all three of my dogs, but I think 2 is more manageable and don't think I'll have 3 again.

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Old 11-23-2007, 03:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the input. For the record, our two dogs are both neutered males. I don't have to let them in and out because we have a dog door and live in southern CA where cold/conserving heat is never much of an issue. The JRT is dominant over the Aussie, and both recognize me and dh as dominant over them. They're both obedient enough at home. Off leash away from home - they're far from perfect. More training time is always a goal around here.

AND ... we brought home the third dog yesterday. All three dogs wagged up a storm and have gotten along swimmingly. Even the JRT has been in a good mood throughout (he was NOT thrilled about dog #2, btw). Dh is calling this a "trial." Since the dog had no other option but the pound, the kids are okay with that. Our friends think we're nutso, but they thought that before we got the dog too.

I hope I will soon be in a position to give others some great, positive advice about getting a third dog!

Wish us luck!
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Old 11-23-2007, 03:34 PM
 
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Originally Posted by peatmom View Post
Thanks for all the input. For the record, our two dogs are both neutered males. I don't have to let them in and out because we have a dog door and live in southern CA where cold/conserving heat is never much of an issue. The JRT is dominant over the Aussie, and both recognize me and dh as dominant over them. They're both obedient enough at home. Off leash away from home - they're far from perfect. More training time is always a goal around here.
Sounds like a good basis. We established the hierarchy as we wanted it when we brought the third dog in, and made it very clear that the two big dogs were not permitted to vie for dominance. We just watched closely for signs of dominance (ie neither was permitted to raise their tails, as my mother was more dominant than either of them), and made it clear to the new dog that people were more dominant - eating first, going out doors first, making her sit and wait for food, keeping our heads higher. We had been told to expect her to challenge us for dominance, so we were extra careful, but we never had any problems. She learned very quickly which way the wind blew. The most important thing is to intervene before there are problems, and not wait until they fight, or the new one thinks its boss.
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Old 11-23-2007, 09:16 PM
 
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when i had three, I found that there was often an "odd man out". Two would play, the third would want to butt in and minor scuffles ensued. Nothing major but someone often got told off.

In a household with a dog with assertive tendencies, it would need to be a submissive dog to flow well.

"To err is human, to forgive, canine." - Unknown
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Old 11-24-2007, 01:16 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes, dealic, we are watching the hierarchy. The new dog seems to be falling nicely into place. It's a small dog - about 12 pounds. We think it's under a year old. There is no danger of it bucking the JRT's dominance. And, as it seems to have a (not overly) submissive personality, it looks like it will fall naturally into place behind/under the 50 pound Aussie.

Puppyfluffer - thanks for the note. I'll watch them. For better or worse, our JRT is kind of old and cranky. He only condescends to play with the Aussie about once a day, and he doesn't let any other dog sleep with him. So the two younger dogs are playing together and the old man seems relieved not to be bugged. I'm crossing my fingers that this will continue and #1 can relax while #2 has someone energetic and pleasant to play with.

It's day 2 and everyone's happy so far. One interesting thing - this new dog doesn't bark. Have you ever heard of a dog that doesn't bark? He cries and whines a little, but never makes any sound louder than that.
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Old 11-24-2007, 03:50 AM
 
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I have three, and I love my dogs but in reality I think the third was a bit much. We have the "odd dog out" issue also. Two of them play together and run around and the third does her own thing.

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Old 11-24-2007, 10:47 AM
 
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Originally Posted by peatmom View Post
One interesting thing - this new dog doesn't bark. Have you ever heard of a dog that doesn't bark? He cries and whines a little, but never makes any sound louder than that.
Glad things are working out. Our Belgian almost never barked. Every time I heard her bark it surprised me, and I thought another dog was around. In fact, most of our Belgians rarely barked.
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Old 11-24-2007, 01:08 PM
 
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I am glad it's working.

When one dog is older, it seems to work well as the younger one has a peer to play with rather than harassing the old guy!

I see more issues with the "odd man out" when all three dogs are similar ages and activity levels.

I hope it works out and you can save this dog from a dismal future at the pound.

"To err is human, to forgive, canine." - Unknown
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Old 11-25-2007, 06:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for your good wishes. Puppy saw the vet today. From looking at his teeth, the vet thought he was 11-12 weeks old - much younger than we thought. She also said he appeared to be "mostly" golden retriever, though I think that's debatable. Good news: all three are getting along, pup is healthy, and we've only had one "pee" accident. Also, he has barked a couple times. Still, when the JRT barks up a storm, he just sits quietly, so ... I have my fingers crossed that he'll continue to be oh so quiet. I've known golden retrievers that rarely barked and practically housetrained themselves, so maybe he has got those genes!
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Old 10-29-2008, 01:57 PM
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any advice from those of you who participated in this thread for another person considering adopting a third?

we have two greys, very submissive, both of them. and are considering a small and quiet sheltie mix (must be mixed with something quiet, 'cause i know shelties can be pretty hoppy). the oldest grey is 12 and has been getting very thin and eating less. the younger grey is 6 and still very energetic. neither grey has issues with small animals. until june we had a very old and tiny cat and they totally let her be.

squibsncrackers, how did it ultimately go?
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Old 10-30-2008, 07:31 PM
 
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It's day 2 and everyone's happy so far. One interesting thing - this new dog doesn't bark. Have you ever heard of a dog that doesn't bark? He cries and whines a little, but never makes any sound louder than that.
Dusti was well past 6 months old before she ever barked, we didn't know if she could!
She whines and whimpers a little, like to go outside or beg to play. She has a very strong "bow-wow-wow" type alarm bark now, that scares people, but other than that it's just a few happy "yips" here and there when she's excited.
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