Tag Archives: Having a 2nd Dog

There are problems caused by having a 2nd dog. Learn how to those problems and solutions.

Grooming With Two Dogs

One of the problems with having two dogs is grooming.   You wouldn’t think it would be an issue, but having two dogs definitely make this harder.

The breed of dog that you have will determine what kind of grooming you will need to do with them and we’ll cover some of the fun facts we’ve discovered about grooming a dog in another section.

Here we’re going to focus on the problems caused specifically by having two dogs.

In the good old days when it was grooming time, I got to sit in the boss’ lap and it was all about me… just the way I like it.    Then… Scout the puppy came to live with us.

The problem with having two dogs is that whenever the boss is doing something with one of us, two things happen:

  • The dog who is not included wants to help.
  • the dog who is not included wants attention too.

The result is chaos.   Apparently, that’s not a good thing because the boss isn’t very good at brushing one dog when the other dogs also insists on being involved.    Although… I think if she practiced a little more….

The Answer – Separation and Bribery

We solve the grooming problem that comes with having two dogs by getting treats.   I know… I think it’s a GREAT answer too!

When it’s grooming time, one of us gets hooked up to the banister with a small rawhide/bone, etc.    Of course, the other dog gets a treat too, otherwise we would only be interested in the treat instead of getting ready for grooming.

I always get to go first because I’m clearly the better dog!

Sit on the floor with the dog to be groomed in front of you.   Sit far enough away so the dog on the leash is in the same proximity (so they won’t freak out) but far enough that they can’t get involved and “help”.

Like everything else, start slow when you start brushing the dogs.   The whole brush thing is weird and we need a chance to get used to it.

This setup solves the grooming problems that come from having two dogs.   One dog is tied to the banister with a rawhide and the other dog has a smaller treat and gets all of the attention that comes along with grooming.    Everyone is happy.

When my grooming is done, we switch.   Then I get the bigger treat and get tied to the banister while the other dog gets brushed, etc.

Other Things To Know

This is a great way to get kids involved in helping with the dogs.   They can start by holding the dog as you start brushing her.

Another fun fact about puppies… sometimes (at least the one that lives with us) they aren’t very smart.   They sometimes think the tufts of hair that come off the other dog are treats.

Check here for more information about the problems and solutions related to Having Two Dogs.

Having Two Dogs On A Chain, Lead Or Rope

OK… you took the plunge and got a 2nd dog, now what?  17845023_s

Since I’m an old dog who was used to being outside on a rope by myself, there was an adjustment when the evil new puppy came to live with us.

Hopefully you are already aware that the biggest issues you have to deal with when you have a 2nd dog are how to handle your dog’s poop and making sure to get exercise for dogs.   You absolutely can’t let the dog poop pile up or you are asking for all kinds of unpleasant trouble.

Here we’re going to talk about how to handle the back yard if you’re using a chain/rope to let the dogs go outside.  There are definitely a few things that are different when you add a 2nd dog into the mix.

In addition to dog poop and exercise, another big issue you will have to figure out how to handle is having two leads/ropes/chains in the back yard.  There are two main issues:  1) The danger of a rope getting wrapped around one of the dogs, and 2) Ropes getting tangled up and in knots

Dogs Getting Wrapped In The Rope

It’s important that you make a rule (and consistently enforce it) that the dogs can’t “play” when they are tied up.  We like to play and wrestle, but when we’re tied up it’s too easy to get a leg (or worse) wrapped up by the rope.  Since we’re wrestling, when something gets wrapped up, it gets really, really tight really, really fast.  That can be really, really bad.

If you leave the dogs outside on their own you will also need to frequently check on them.  At our house I like to lie in the sun on the patio and our 2nd dog likes to leisurely wander… around me.   The boss has to sometimes come outside and unwrap us.

Ropes Getting Tied In Knots

This is one of the biggest hidden secrets to having two dogs.  It’s called the “twirly thing”.  OK, that’s not what it’s really called, but it’s what we call it.

Having two dogs can be complicated when you do anything on a chain, leash or rope.  You can get these things for leashes or you can get them from the hardware store and attach them to your tie-out post.  Then attach both leashes, chains, etc. to the twirly thing.

The result is that the dogs can walk around and not get the ropes all twisted up.   Instead of the ropes getting twisted up, the one end just twirls around.  i.e. “the twirly thing”.The magical "twirly thing".

If you’re thinking about getting a 2nd dog, this is a must-have.  We have about six of them.  We have one on the double dog lead we use when we take walks and we have one in the backyard attached to our tie-outs.   We also have one on the really long ropes we use when we get to investigate the whole side yard.

Most pet stores have these attached to a the double dog leads that they sell.  You can get them for your backyard tie-out, etc by going to any hardware store.

Check out some of the other information we have about the problems you will encounter when adding a 2nd dog to your household.

Also check out the other posts related to having a 2nd dog.  Sign up for our cool newsletter if you want us to keep you updated as we continue to add stuff to the website with more information about having a 2nd dog.

Does anyone know what the twirly thing is called?  You would think that since it’s such an important gadget have when you have a 2nd dog, the boss would know stuff like that…

Having Two Dogs – Playing Fetch

Having two dogs isn’t the problem… the problem is the new dog.   (At least that’s what I think, but don’t tell the boss I said that.)   When we play fetch EVERYTHING is supposed to be for me.   The problem is that since the new dog came, she thinks everything is for her.     I never get the toys anymore…

  • Take turns chasing the ball
  • Throw 2 balls in different directions


Take Turns

Sometimes we take turns chasing the ball.   The puppy wasn’t very good at this at first (imagine that) and had to be held by the collar for a long time when it wasn’t her turn.  Since I’m (cough) a little older (cough) than the puppy, I get tired a lot sooner than I used to.   Because of this, sometimes the new dog gets to chase 2 balls before I get my turn again, because this gives me more time to rest.    This also let’s the “more energetic” (i.e. more annoying) dog get more exercise which makes her tired.   I’ve heard a lot of people say “a tired dog is a well behaved dog” and it sounds like there is some truth to this.

Use Two Balls

The other thing we do sometimes is each chase our own ball.   Of course, the puppy doesn’t always know how this works and has the attention span of…. something that doesn’t have a very long attention span.    If her ball was tossed, she chased it but if my ball was tossed too soon she gave up on her ball and chased my ball.   I found this really annoying.

You also have to be careful to not throw both balls in the same place.   Again… the new dog usually sn’t that smart and she sometimes has trouble deciding which one to chase.   That leaves me confused and I usually have to wait for her to decide which one she wants before I can figure out which one is mine.

Playing Fetch on a Rope playing fetch

We’ll write more about this topic in another post, but make sure you’re really, really careful if you’re playing fetch with two dogs on ropes.    Using ropes is a great way to exercise your dogs if you don’t have a fenced-in yard, but having two dogs means you have to be much more careful.

Make sure you know where both ropes are every time before you throw the ball.   We could get hurt really bad if the rope gets wrapped around a leg when the other dog takes off to run after the ball.   You could also get a really ugly rope burn if you’re not paying attention.

Check here for more information about the problems and solutions related to Having Two Dogs.

Your Old Dog Needs Her Own Space

I wasn’t all that happy when the boss brought home a new puppy about a year ago.   I had to start sharing stuff that I’ve never had to share before… tennis balls, attention from the boss, lap time, water dish, etc).

It’s been about a year now and I guess I’ve started to get used to it a little, but it doesn’t mean I like the evil new dog.   Check out the picture at the top, she does look evil, don’t you think?

The boss is kind of a slow learner and she usually does a lot of stuff wrong before she can figure out how to do it right.   (I thought people were supposed to be smarter than animals, but I guess that’s not always true.)

However, in this case she actually did something right but I’m pretty sure it was only because our vet told her too.

When the evil new puppy came home, there were different rules for me and for the puppy.

Before the new dog came, I had the run of the house.   I could go anywhere I wanted and do anything I wanted… as long as it didn’t get me in trouble.   Yes, I even got to be on the furniture.   (shhhh…. Don’t tell the boss that some people actually don’t let their dogs on the couch!)

When the new dog came, I still got to be on the furniture, but the new dog didn’t.   There were also places in the house where I could still go without the new dog tagging along.   (She tried to follow me EVERYWHERE.)

After all, it was “my” house, right?    Having different rules made it still feel like “my house”.   It also gave me a few “safe” places to go where the annoying new guy couldn’t bother me.   Don’t tell anyone, but she was sometimes fun to play with, but she neeeeeeever stopped.    When I got tired of her biting my legs, I could get on the couch so she had to stop.

It was  traumatic learning to live with the puppy (and share stuff with her), but having places in the house that were still “mine” made me feel better and made the adjustment easier.

Do you have any other tricks to make the introduction of (an evil) new 2nd dog easier for your old dog?

Dogs Exercise… With Ropes

There are a lot of ways you can get exercise for dogs and we’ve talked about several of them here. 

Another option is to use long ropes as a “leash” and go somewhere where we won’t bug people too much.  You can do this just about anywhere.

Using long ropes is an awesome way to get exercise for your dogs. the one showing in the picture is a long leash, but you can also use any kind of a long rope or nylon rope.

You can play fetch or just let them wander.  My favorite thing (I’m a 10 year old yellow lab) is to go to a park or a sports complex and get attached to a long rope.  That way I’m mostly free to chase bugs, smell everything and just generally have a whole lot of fun.

A few notes about using a long rope… surprisingly, there is a learning curve.

Rope burns hurt. We could write a whole book on avoiding rope burns, but it probably won’t sink in until it happens.  The boss got really ugly scars around her ankles and said really bad words several times before she finally figured it out.

Here are a few hints to hopefully ease you into the learning curve:

  • Really work on the “come here” command before doing this.  This can prevent problems because you can get the dogs attention before they see the rabbit, etc.  You don’t want the dogs exercise to come from chasing stuff they’re not supposed to chase.
  • Always, always, always know where the rope is.   This is for both your safety and your dogs.   If the rope gets wrapped around your ankle and the dog runs to chase a ball… it’s going to hurt… a lot.
  • The other thing that can happen is the rope can get wrapped around something that you won’t know about until the dog is jerked to a stop.  This hurts the dog… a lot.
  • Keep the rope wrapped around your hand.   If you just hold it loosely and they run… you won’t be able to grab it firmly to stop them… and it will hurt if you try.
  • Always, always, always be aware of your surroundings.   You need to see the things that will make your dog want to run BEFORE they see it.    Sometimes you can prevent them from running with a quick “no” or “come here”.   Other times you will be able to “brace for impact” and ease into stopping the dog.
  • It’s not fair (or nice) to jerk the dog to a stop when they come to the end of the rope.   Be prepared to take a couple steps in the direction the dog is running to reduce the impact (to both of you).

Other Things To Know

Watch the rope for weathering, chewing, etc.  replace the rope BEFORE it breaks.   You don’t want to find out that the rope needs to be replaced after it breaks and your dog chases a rabbit across the street.

Stay in an isolated area until everyone gets a little more comfortable with this process.   That gives both you and the dog a chance to “learn the ropes” without the additional distractions of other people and animals.

Find additional ways to get exercise for dogs here.

How bad were your rope burns when you first tried to do this?

Getting Out Of The Car – Safely

First of all, you should take your dogs in the car with you aaaaaaaall of the time, and I don’t just think that because I’m a dog.   At least I don’t think so.

Although you shouldn’t take us when it’s too hot or too cold for us to stay in the car… or when you’re going to be gone for long periods of time.   OK, maybe we shouldn’t get to go ALL of the time, but we really, really, really like it when we get to go along. 

Having two dogs can actually cause a problem when you take us in the car if you don’t plan ahead a little.   Before you take multiple dogs in the car with you, make a plan on how you will get us out of the car.   If you don’t have a plan we will both jump out as soon as the door is open and it will be chaos.   We all know I should get to go first, but the darn new puppy doesn’t seem to understand that.

The problem is that getting to ride in the car is more exciting than just about anything, but getting out of the car is 10 times better.   We just get too excited to listen and do what you tell us to.   Having two dogs this excited definitely makes this a bigger issue.

There are a couple problems caused by having two dogs who both want to get out of the car at the same time:

  • In the chaos, we could get free and run to the next town (or worse… into the street)
  • We could stumble over each other and fall on the concrete (which I’m pretty sure would hurt)

Although… I‘m pretty sure we’re supposed to be (cue the schoolmarm voice) in a crate or a dog seatbelt when we‘re in the car.   We get to ride in the middle seat of our SUV.     Shhhh… don’t tell our vet but this is one way to solve this problem.    Don’t tell the boss either because I don’t want to ride in a crate.


The answer to this problem is the headrest for the front seat.

When you open the back car door to let us out, make sure you immediately step in front of the open door to block our exit.   You need to stand as close to the car as possible and close the door a bit if you can.   You may have to put your foot up on the section where your feet go in the car.   I was kind of impressed with the new puppy and how she was able to squeeze through any tiny little ray of light that she saw so be really careful to block the exit.

Here is the plan:

  • Open the car door and immediately block the exit.
  • Hook both dogs to their leash.   Don’t use a dual leash here, someone will get hurt. 
  • Decide who gets to go first.   (I think the old dog should always go first, but I may be biased.)
  • Wrap the leash of the second dog around the headrest for the front seat.   Hold the leash tight so they can’t jump out.
  • Tell the first dog to go – by name.   “Baylor-go”.
  • When the first dog is out of the car and away from the landing area, tell the second dog to Stay.
  • Unwrap their leash and make them “Stay” (for control).
  • Tell them to go – by name.

 Other Things To Know

I have to say that this isn’t easy to learn, but like everything else it can be done with patience, repetition and consistency.   It’s a lot better now that we’ve learned this.   I used to worry that the new dog was going to jump on me.   Now it seems pretty non eventful.  

Having two dogs is a good thing but there are things that could be an issue.   A little planning and training will go a long way toward making this particular issue a non-issue.

Check here for more information about the problems and solutions related to Having Two Dogs.

Do you know of other ways to make getting two dogs out of the car safely?

Dogs Do What???

Sometimes Dogs Are Gross

OK… here is one of the more unexpected problems with having two dogs.   Brace yourself… did you know that dogs sometimes eat poop?   Yes, that is what I said.   Of course I never do that (at least not since I was a puppy and learned it was gross).   Our evil new dog does this too, but it’s not hers… it’s mine.   I thought she’d grow out of it too, but so far it hasn’t happened. 

I’ve heard this is relatively common, but I agree… it’s kind of icky. 

It seems like there are 3 main options for how to handle this.

  • Watch the dog all of the time and pick up the dog’s poop as soon as she does it. 
  • Make one chain longer than the other.
  • Drugs 

Hopefully, you already figured out that you will have to watch your dogs and know when they’re going poop.   The best answer is to pick it up before anyone else (i.e. the evil new puppy) can get to it.   But the best answer doesn’t always work when you can’t stand at the door the entire time the dogs are outside.  

I don’t know what it is, but people seem to think they always need to be doing 12 things at once and standing at the door watching just in case I poop doesn’t seem to be too high on the list.    Having two dogs makes this harder because you have to watch twice as much.

If it’s a case of one dog eating from the other, a longer chain will do the trick.   We made my chain about 5 feet longer than the new dogs.   This gives me a little more privacy and keeps the other dog away until the boss can come out and pick it up.    It was actually a pretty easy solution and I can’t believe it took the boss so long to come up with it.

Having two dogs isn’t the only time that dogs eating poop are a problem.   Sometimes they eat their own.   If this is a problem you’re having, one option that you have is drugs.   There is medication you can get at the pet store to give your dog that will make their poop taste bad.   I know… it already tastes bad but these drugs make it taste bad enough so dogs will stop eating it.   (Imagine how bad it has to taste…)    If your dogs-eating-poop problems stem from having two dogs, drugs won’t work because most of them only make the poop taste bad to the dog who took the drugs.     


Other Things To Know

The other thing to be prepared for is other people.   Despite your best attempts it will probably happen in public at some point if you take your dogs with you anywhere.   The looks you will get from other people are not really all that fun… unless they’re totally making fun of you.   Then it’s fun for the dog, not fun for the owner.

This is one of the ickier (is that a word?) problems that come from having two dogs, but like everything else… it can be handled.

Check here for more information about the problems and solutions related to Having Two Dogs.

I’m sure you agree that this is pretty disgusting.   Have you had success with any other ways to solve this problem?