Two is Sometimes Better Than One

As a rule with Shibas, I tend to agree that they go well in pairs. The exception, however, is puppies. Trust me, from personal experience, avoid the temptation to add a second puppy while puppy the first is still in training pants (<9 months). Yes, they tire each other out which is great, but here is a list of not so great things:

  • Similar birth ages = multiple geriatric pets passing away around the same time = compounded grief and end of life medical expenses back to back
  • Potty training regression, x2
  • Twice the furniture destruction
  • 1st year is most expensive, now double it
  • For the lazy owners, now you have two bored puppies that can drive you nuts
  • Lack of time or money to take both pups to the proper classes or to provide them both with proper training will result in…regression of basic manners

Under 9 months is puppy’s infancy thru adolescent phase where they require a great deal of “mom” time, learning basic skills, and socializing. 9-24 months is an equally important mental maturation phase where a dog/human team would work on refining manners, refining training skills, learning precision in tasks, and a great time to work a dog earnestly in some sort of competitive hobby like Rally, Agility or Flyball to get them addicted to working and learning. Dividing attention among too many young dogs makes these things way harder to accomplish.

In our pack, the older dogs have a set of skills and behaviors that they have learned from even older dogs, which makes them great pack members and house pets. The integration of a new or very young dog into this structure becomes super easy. The new puppy learns from the adults where to pee, how to behave in a group, what’s ok to lay on, how to eat together without stealing or fighting, and how to share toys far quicker and with greater lasting effect than what I could teach them. I can only imagine how it would be without an older, reliable dog to step in and school the pups from time to time. A Lord of the Flies scenario is what comes to mind.

7 thoughts on “Two is Sometimes Better Than One

  1. Leash training is a lot easier for a puppy to learn in the company of older dogs as well. My first shiba was a horror to leash train. he screamed, threw himself around, flopped on the ground, and in general threw a protracted fit for days. The next three shiba pups I trained by simply leashing up the adults, leashing the puppy, and going for a walk. The puppies of course followed the adults, and were so excited by the newness and importance of the event that they never even thought about fighting the leash – they barely noticed it. After a few short walks, the puppies were accustomed to the leash. No screaming or fighting at all! Pam

  2. Well, I guess I was a brave soul. LOL I went from never having heard of a Shiba Inu to getting 2 Shiba puppies at the age of 5 1/2 weeks old. We were originally going to get just one, but got talked into getting both at almost the last minute. How can you pass on 2 free Shiba puppies? My daughter was in college and I told her that if she wanted to get both of them, she would have to foot the vet bills for one of them. About the only frustrating thing we went though was the housebreaking. I was beginning to think I needed to buy stock in paper towels. LOL But it all came together and I can honestly say that Sami and Miko are the best dogs I ever had! I really do think you need to have more then one Shiba to get the full Shiba effect. The Shiba 500's and the play fighting is so much fun to watch. I will always have at least 2 Shiba's.

  3. When I brought Nola home, Bella really helped out with showing her what being in a pet home was all about. The older dogs definitely do help train the younger ones. I am not sure that I have the stomach to handle two puppies at once… CRAZY! Especially Shiba puppies!

  4. Pam and Casey, the older dogs are wonderful for leash training and manners. I totally agree.Judy, you were brave! I too hope to always have at least 2 shibas. Some pups are easier to raise then others, and it sounds like you had good help. As long as the training is offered to them and kept consistent, I have no doubt that 2 pups at once can be successfully reared. It's just much harder, so I am again a little baffled by people who CHOOSE and actively seek to get 2 puppies at once.

  5. Great post!My fiancée and I brought Juju home when Kitsune was around 10 months old. We wanted a companion for Kitsune. We used to take Kitsune to the dog park 5 days a week, to run around for 1-2 hours & socialize with other dogs, and that was on top of 2-3 walks/jogs per day, each time being 30 minutes to 1 hour. We looked into several different breeds (my fiancée wanted an English Mastiff… what a complete 180 of a Shiba!) but I thought… how cute would a pair of Shibas be?Yes, super duper cute. Twice the cuteness, twice the attention from strangers, but also, twice the craziness!What made things harder/more stressful was the fact that my fiancée got deployed to Iraq a few months after we brought her home. There were days I would e-mail him, frustrated, in tears, saying we made a huge mistake, but… I toughed it out, and I have no regrets.Kitsune will be 2 in July, and Juju will turn 1 this month (on the 22nd). It has definitely been stressful, to say the least, and I agree with you that it's smarter to wait. But, I am so happy that Kitsune & Juju have each other. Shibas ARE better in pairs, and I've noticed that a lot of Shiba owners cannot have only one ;)Oh! And I like how you brought up that the older dogs can teach the younger dogs many things. Fortunately, my parents have older dogs, so I would bring my girls over to my parents' house, and the two oldest Maltese… even though they're so much smaller, always put my girls in check. 😉

  6. We have a female shiba who is just going on for 2 years old. We are thinking about getting another shiba to keep her company, and think we would like another female. Is there any real problem with having 2 females a couple of years apart?

  7. To Anonymous: It really depends less on sex and age and more on the individual dogs' temperaments. If your current dog likes other dogs and doesn't mind being pestered by puppies, it can work regardless of sex. Girls who are allowed to come into season, may be more snarky and quarrelsom at that time, so be careful to manage them closely.I waited until my first Shiba was 1.5 years old before adding number 2. She had her manners, obedience and potty/leash routines down solid, so she was a good teacher for the new dog. Historically, I think most people will tell you that the breed does best in male/female pairs. If you give them the proper slow introductions to each other, and follow your breeders advice, you may have great success with 2 females. Mine 2 girls get along very well as long as there is not a treat they both want at the same time.

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