Why Two Hounds Is Better Than One (For Us)

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When Josie was the only hound in our lives I always looked at dog owners who had two or more and wondered if life was easier or twice as hard. We’d only had her a few months when I felt like another dog might be a good idea for our household, the decision came to fruition solely based on Josie’s personality. I saw how much she thrived amongst the company of other dogs. Not only did she seem to learn far more from them than she did from us but she needed someone to run around with. Rarely do we meet a dog who can seriously keep up with her and frankly, I think her speed ruffles a lot of dog owners feathers so she needed a companion. After looking after another hound and seeing how good Josie was with another dog in the house and how willing she was to share her things it cemented the idea in my mind. A few weeks later up popped an advert for a little blue whippet puppy needing a new home and the rest is history.

IT DEPENDS ON THE DOG

I truly believe that for the most part sighthounds are much happier with a sibling, but it very much does depend on your dog. I knew Josie not only craved the company on walks but she would probably benefit from having someone to keep her company in the house too. The biggest deciding factor was for her life outside the house, she loves to run, it’s her absolute favourite thing to do and she’s not truly fulfilled unless she’s had a good run but meeting a dog who could either even somewhat match her speed or another dog owner who understand that dogs like to chase each other was few and far between. And whilst she and my family dog Bella the Westie have a beautiful friendship now that poor little short legged girl couldn’t really play chase with Josie no matter how much she tried. Josie is a very submissive dog, she’s not possessive over anything which did make the choice feel like it was right as even though we couldn’t predict that they would get along I had a good feeling about it. If the tables were turned and we had Edie first, I’m not sure we would have got another dog as Edie is much more about the humans than she is another dogs (unless it’s another whippet) so I’m glad it worked out the way it did for us.

WHY ANOTHER SIGHTHOUND

As I said, the reason why we wanted another dog was for Josie it wasn’t a decision based on our feelings at all, just hers so we knew it needed to be another sighthound so either a small lurcher or a pure whippet. And people are right when they say sighthounds are rather addictive, I completely understand what they mean by that now as they seriously are. Once you see a lot of pointy faces all together either poddling around or kicking up the grass beneath them in an intense game of chase there is no feeling quite like it. I’m sure every lover of a specific breed thinks the same thing but there is something truly unique about whippets and the way they interact with each other. Now Josie has grown up a lot she’s not really interested in other dogs if she’s on her lead and will happily trot past them. Unless it’s another sighthound then it’s like she’s a puppy once again with how excited she gets and usually, the other dog is the same. Whenever we see another hound the conversation is usually ‘they love their own don’t they?’ and it’s true. Even Edie who is pretty anxious around dogs she doesn’t know loves her own and will only ever run around with another hound.

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INTRODUCING THEM

Edie’s adoption story isn’t the most common, her original owner put the ad up when his life dramatically changed and he knew he couldn’t give that tiny little pup the life she deserved so he wanted to personally find her a new home so he could keep in contact with the new owner. I got in contact with him and 15 minutes later we were on our way to Manchester to collect her and we took Josie with us. I wanted them to meet on neutral ground and I think that’s the best way to do it. Although she probably would have been fine if we had bought Edie home I wanted her to be part of it and upon first introductions they were fine, a sniff and that was about it. To be honest, Josie was more interested in eating his nieces' packet of crisps then anything else and Edie (initially named Millie) piddled all over me so you know, we were meant to be. At home, we put up a few boundaries initially like keeping Edie in her crate until she was housetrained so Josie could still enjoy sleeping in our bed as she had done for months.

Naturally, things progressed and as the girls got closer and closer (have you seen their morning kisses on Instagram?) the boundaries broke down and now they’re very much treated as an equal. The only thing I make sure to do is to move Edie onto a certain side on the sofa as Josie likes the corner and she doesn’t like to barge in but otherwise they’re treated as equally as possible. We’ve been incredibly lucky we’ve never had any scraps, there is never any fights over food and to be honest I couldn’t think of a better duo. Josie put up with all of Edie’s teething like an absolute champ and all sorts of other annoying but standard puppy behaviour and I’m so grateful that she has the temperament that she does. I think if we had a more dominant girl then things would have been a lot harder. A question I’m often asked about having two girls is about them fighting and I can safely say that has never been an issue for us, Josie would rather hide in a bush than have a proper scrap with a dog whilst Edie is a little more feisty so they compliment each other well. Like most sighthounds, when zooming around they love to play rough with each other and whilst to many they might look like fur is about to start flying everywhere they know each other's limits and even when we think things look a bit rough they always go back to each other for more.

timing

Josie was 13 months old when we got Edie and for us, that was the perfect time in between them both as Josie was old enough to have the majority of the basics down but she was still young and silly enough to tolerate a puppy bouncing all over her. I know the general age gap that is suggested is two but I would say it’s very much up to you as a dog owner as you’re the only one who knows when it feels right and when you think it would be right for your dog. I don’t think it’s fair to say that older dogs can’t handle a puppy as my family dog was 7 when I got Josie and even though it took a while and a lot of growling from Bella they adore each other now and if for whatever reason they all had to live together now it wouldn’t be an issue. Infact, it seems to have bought out a new lease of life in Bella and now even though she obviously can't keep up with them she will happily try and zoom around with them.

ENJOYING PUPPY LIFE

Although it makes me sad to look back on it now I don’t think that I made the most of Josie being a puppy. She was the first dog I had on my own and she was hard work, no amount of research had prepared for me for that mini horse charging around the house. In many ways she was the dream pup, she was house trained within about a week and didn’t really care about being left but she was difficult, I can’t deny it but that prepared me for what life with another sighthound pup would be like. I feel like I got to enjoy Edie being a puppy so much more as not only did I somewhat know what I was doing but (rather selfishly) Josie took a lot of the heavy loading of me when it came to the likes of teething. Seeing Edie’s first zooms around the field with Josie is still one of my favourite memories to date and every single day when I see them cuddling on the sofa or running around full speed with each other it makes my heart feel full enough to burst. That blue hound has not only changed Josie’s life so much for the better but she's completed our little family. My mind does often wander into the ‘what would it be like to have a third?’ territory but the balance we have right now is absolutely perfect and I'd hate to mess that up. I also don’t think Edie would handle another pup that well, she’s a pretty anxious dog and gets pretty skittish around another pup getting up close and personal to her.

THE DOWNSIDES?

Being completely honest, the only downside is that it’s obviously more expensive to have another dog but there is no price that can be put on the difference Edie has made to our household. So that’s really the only negative (to my bank balance) that I can report. The cost of food, vet bills, insurance, and outerwear obviously doubles so that is important to bear in mind. I don’t find it’s any more difficult to walk two dogs, infact it’s much easier as they've got each other to keep themselves entertained although lead walks are a little harder when they decide to pull like two small horses and I can feel my left arm slowly getting pulled out of its socket day by day. But, in general, it’s way easier than I ever expected and from now on I think I will always have two dogs if my life allows that!

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