What I Really Think About Having 2 Dogs vs 3 Dogs

3-aussies-playingFrom the Mailbag: Natasha asks, I currently have two male dogs (a Labrador 5 yrs and a Yorkshire Terrier 2 yrs) and they both get along great. I’ve always wanted a Rottweiler. Do you think it would be a bad idea getting a 3rd dog? What sex would you say would be better? Thanks.

Natasha, having had one dog, two dogs, three dogs, and four dogs at various times, my favorite number is two. Adding a third dog is a big jump up in time, energy, and expense. I don’t know enough about your circumstances to really advise you (yard space, dog experience, time for training and exercising, etc.) other than to say that if you have two happy dogs who get along well, I’d be inclined to encourage you to enjoy what you have and not add a third–the pack energy with 3 dogs is way more intense than with just 2 dogs. If you feel compelled to get a third, given that you’ve got two males, I would go for a female.

The above was what I recently wrote in response to a reader asking a question about adding a 3rd dog. She came by way of my post:  Is Having Three Dogs Better Than Two or One?  In that post, I show a series of pics with my three dogs running and playing and generally having way too much fun. Clearly, they’re enjoying their game of tag.

But in that post, I didn’t elaborate on the not-so-small-detail that it took months of serious training and management to get them to a point where they could all do so well together.

The truth of the matter was that it took Kiera quite a while to warm up to Graidy when I first got him, but he eventually won her over and they established a stable pack. When we added Wink, Graidy’s place in the pack became destabilized, which caused him to develop some emotional issues (which have since been worked through). And with a destabilized pack, I had to watch both Kiera and Graidy for aggression toward Wink. I did not leave them alone for the three months it took for a new pack order to become firmly established. There were many moments where if I had not been there to lead and intercede as needed, it could have turned ugly.

In the midst of this, we had house training and obedience training to do with Wink. And Graidy started marking in the house to reestablish his sense of territory, so he needed remedial training. In other words, as the saying goes– It weren’t no picnic!

Granted, I have a couple of pretty intense dogs. But too many people assume that you can just throw any number of dogs together of various breeds and they’ll do just fine. Some people get lucky, and that’s their experience. But, unfortunately, just as many people find that they’ve opened Pandora’s Box and they’re not prepared for what gets unleashed.

Here’s what I really think about adding a 3rd dog
(or more)
to your 2-dog pack:

Don’t do it!

If you have a happy family, keep it that way. Two is a manageable number and enough for them to keep each other company when you’re not around. Having more dogs than that is an invitation for trouble. If anyone of your dogs has any aggression tendencies, not only will those amplify significantly, the other dogs will also likely pick up those same aggressive tendencies even if they didn’t have them before.

Don’t underestimate the power and influence of pack behavior on each individual dog. As well, the wear and tear on your house, your wallet, and your heart become exponential with each dog you add.

So much so, that I’m going to repeat myself: Unless you are advanced in your ability to train and understand dogs, and you’re independently wealthy (only half-joking)– DO NOT ADD A THIRD DOG. Okay, there– I had to come clean.

By |2019-01-17T21:12:11+00:00May 20th, 2012|Dog Training, Dogs in General, The Mail Bag|68 Comments


  1. Ann Manning October 31, 2018 at 3:37 pm - Reply

    Hi Karen,
    Thanks for your informative and thoughtful advice. I have two dogs, a very fit 9 year old female labradoodle and an energetic 3 year old male aussiedoodle. They get along well. The female is always the alpha and the male is willing to go along with that. I walk dogs and have been asked to take a male one year old portuguese water dog who has been in his current home for only three months and is proving more challenging for this older couple than they anticipated. He is a sweet dog, but on the wild side. My husband and I do lots of things with our dogs every day. We take them for a walk/run of about 30 minutes in the morning. Late morning they get a strenuous playtime,then another 30-45 minute walk in the afternoon.

    I know we could be great for this young dog and he is a breed that fits into the activity level we already have with our two. I do have concerns about the balance/ peace in our household. I am inclined to proceed carefully, with meetings for the dogs on neutral territory, and possibly asking the couple if we could try fostering for a while before we make a final decision. Do you see any pitfalls that I might be missing?

    We are home or in and out most of the time. We do not have a fence, but a natural border that is enough for backyard playtime. The bulk of our outings are in parks or on trails.

    Thank you so much
    Ann Manning

    • Karen Shanley October 31, 2018 at 4:57 pm - Reply

      Hi Ann,
      It sounds like you’ve got the bases covered. I think proceeding by going through the steps you’ve outlined is a very wise move. It gives everyone a chance to see where things land. The fact that this new pup is male bodes well when having an alpha female. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you–there is no doubt you’d be able to give this dog a better quality of life.

      • Ann Manning October 31, 2018 at 6:23 pm - Reply

        Thank you.

        • Karen Shanley November 1, 2018 at 10:31 am - Reply

          Ann, my only additional thoughts would be to initially introduce your dogs individually/separately at first before it’s a 2 against scenario. Your 2 guys already have an established pack, and “packs” aren’t always happy to have a new-comer show up. This levels the playing field a little better for the puppy. I’d make sure each of your dogs, individually, are cool before introducing all 3 together. Best of luck!

  2. Marie September 16, 2018 at 12:42 pm - Reply

    Hello Karen,
    We have 2 miniature schnauzer male right now, one is 6 and the other one is 2. They get along well and the older one is the the alpha. We are considering getting a 3 month old male miniature schnauzer also. We also have 2 kids under 11 years old and they all get along and love the dogs. What are your thoughts on adding a third same breed and sex?
    Will the behavior of the 2 change(like will they be different dogs is we add a third one) ? Thank you.

    • Karen Shanley September 17, 2018 at 11:25 am - Reply

      Hi Marie, if you’re here by way of this post, you already know my bias–if you have 2 happy dogs who get along, don’t rock the boat. Adding a third dog will absolutely change the pack dynamic. The question is how? There’s no guaranteed way to know that in advance. Could be great. Could be a disaster.

      If you’re determined to get a third dog, I would encourage you to consider a female. That at least would buy you a little insurance for providing the best shot with maintaining pack harmony.

  3. Angela August 24, 2018 at 11:33 pm - Reply

    Hi, I have a 11yr old Toy Fox Terrier and a 11mo 47lb (done growing) Vizsla. Both are well behaved and trained how I would like them to behave. The puppy, however, constantly annoys the older and much smaller dog when we are home. He does listen, but only when the Toy gets frustrated enough to lose her temper with him–and even then, he will still return to instigate with her after 10min have passed (poking with the nose and play pouncing, though never “on” the lil one–my V is very gentle, with a timid personality). Things aren’t horrible by any means (they still nap together) and we are overall “alright”. Still, I am toying with the idea of getting another V in a year or so with this idea in mind: I want the big dogs to play and leave the lil one largely alone. I love my dog family, but probably will never go for the size difference in the future for this reason. Do you think adding a V will help this issue? Whatever the case, I do plan to wait a year min to see if the puppy learns the rules a bit more… he is still young. Thanks for your time!

    • Karen Shanley August 30, 2018 at 2:52 pm - Reply

      Angela, this is a case where having an experienced positive dog trainer come to evaluate your situation could be worth its weight in gold. You (and your dogs) shouldn’t have to live with the current stress, even though things are “alright”. You can and should get help so that everyone is doing better than alright. Then, if in a year, you’re ready to get another V, again I would urge you to solicit the help of a good trainer to help you evaluate and decide.

      • Angela August 31, 2018 at 11:33 am - Reply

        Thank you ?

  4. David Deale July 31, 2018 at 6:47 pm - Reply

    Hey Karen! I am so confused.. me and my partner have no children , both work full time and don’t have a fence ( lol I know ) and we have Rayner ( pug min pin mix ) who is 8 and then we got Rhonda ( pug chihuahua mix 1 year old )a few months ago and her and rayner have fallen in love but rayner tends to get annoyed very easily by Rhonda and so we have decided to foster a 1 year old male chihuahua mix ( unsure of other breed but he is kind of puggish too. Rhonda and the new guy seem to be having the time of their life but I’m afraid things are going to get nasty ( Rhonda is very dominate) and I’m wondering if this could bode trouble for rayner and trigger a depression? ( rayner is also the most socialized!) I hope all that made sense lol

    • Karen Shanley August 1, 2018 at 5:08 pm - Reply

      Hi David, if you have concerns (and it sounds like you should) I’d call in a positive trainer pronto to help you evaluate the situation and give you advice. This is definitely something where you need professional eyeballs physically there to determine exactly what’s going on and what should be done about it.

      Don’t wait until full-on trouble erupts. The sooner you get help, the better for everybody.

  5. Jim June 28, 2018 at 5:16 pm - Reply

    Hi Karen,

    I have an 8 year old male Biewer Terrier and an 8 year old female Biewer Terrier. We got them 3 months apart, and funny thing is their birthday is only 3 days apart. We are currently considering getting a 3rd dog. Our house has recently gotten broken into, and my mother wants a large dog at home so she feels secure being home alone sometimes. We usually take our dogs to work, since we have our own business. So the dogs will usually not be alone. They usually just lay next to us in our office. Neither of the dogs seems dominant, and they get along great. We have no children at home.

    I Don’t know which breed, but we are leaning towards a Doberman Pinscher or a Rhodesian Ridgeback since they are protective breeds. Rottweiler is out of the picture since they have a short lifespan, and German Shepherd is not an option since my mother was attacked by one in the past. Do you have a recommendation in the breed and gender?

    Thank you,


    • Jim June 28, 2018 at 5:27 pm - Reply

      Hi Karen,

      I also forgot to point out that we have a large fenced in yard. About an acre space for the dogs to run.

      Thank you,


    • Karen Shanley June 29, 2018 at 9:19 am - Reply

      You don’t mention how much dog experience your mom has. Guarding breeds are no joke and require massive socialization and training to be safe–even for the owners. I would not recommend a Rhodesian Ridgeback-way too hard to handle. Dobes are totally dependant on good breeding. A good Dobe is a sight to behold. A bad one is a nightmare. Believe it or not Australian Shepherds make great protective dogs. A well-bred Boxer might also work well for you.

      I’d speak with your vet and a well-regarded local trainer for more suggestions and insights.

      Good Luck!

      • Jim June 29, 2018 at 12:23 pm - Reply

        Thank you Karen for taking the time to reply. My mother has some experience with dogs. When she was growing up she had up to 8 dogs in a household. She personally had taking care of a variety of dogs, however she has no experience with large dogs. The largest dog she had was around 40 lbs. My neighbor who are in their 70’s also suggested us to get a doberman, since they too have 2 of them themselves. I will look into Australian Sheperds, Boxers, and good Doberman breeders while talking to my vet and local trainers for further insights.

        Thank you,


        • Karen Shanley June 29, 2018 at 3:48 pm - Reply

          I’ve also experienced having my house broken into and I know how scary that can be. Hoping your mom finds both the perfect companion and the protector!

  6. Julie June 22, 2018 at 1:30 pm - Reply

    Hi! I have a 10.5 yr old min pin and a 1.5 yr old staffy mix. They get along for the most part, but my min pin doesn’t really bother with the younger dog. He tries to get her to play and she just gets annoyed. I should also mention that my min pin is litter box trained and spends most of her time indoors.
    There is a 10 month old pit mix for adoption through a rescue we follow who is submissive, gentle, house trained and respectful of all animals according to the foster mother. He is also a tripod, having lost a limb recently due to a coyote attack. I think he would be a great playmate for our staffy mix, and we could give him a nice home. There’s not much info out there about a situation like ours…I’m curiousif you think it would work!
    We also have two kids-3 and 5.

    • Karen Shanley June 23, 2018 at 10:50 am - Reply

      Julie, I don’t know enough about min pins, staffys, or pits to feel comfortable answering how they might get along. You also don’t mention sexes or how much room or time you have to train or be home. Having very young children also adds a layer of unknowns. I wish I could help you out.

      The only thing I can say is that because you have small children, I wouldn’t be inclined to add another really powerful dog breed to the mix.

      Might be awesome. Might also be a disaster waiting to happen. No way to know ahead of time.

  7. Philip McIntosh June 8, 2018 at 9:27 am - Reply

    Hi Karen! I am considering adopting a 3rd dog. I recently purchased a home with a large fenced in yard and would love to rescue another pup. I currently have two dogs. One Male and one Female. They are both 3 years old, with the male only about 3 months older than the female. I adopted the female when she was only 16 weeks old. She is a mountain cur mix and weighs about 35 pounds. She is definitely a hunting dog as far as instincts go. She has a very mild temperament but does enjoy playing rough with other dogs and is not scared of dogs bigger than her. She can be affectionate but also likes spending time alone. She is the more independent dog of the two. My male dog is a purebred Australian Shepherd. He is about 55 pounds. He is your stereotypical herding dog. I adopted him as an adult when he had just turned 2 and have had him for about a year and a half. He is very much attached to me and is my shadow as I like to call him. He follows me every where and likely has a mild case of separation anxiety. He does not do well with strangers initially. He barks at humans and dogs alike that he does not know. I have had him through training and the trainer says he is not aggressive towards strangers, but rather gets himself so worked up and excited that it comes across as aggressive to those who don’t know him. Basically, he is socially awkward. Once he has time to meet someone, he is much better!! SO my question for you is, do you think adding a third dog to our dynamic would work? Right now I really could not tell you who the alpha is (really it is me.) I have seldom seen either dog submit to the other. They are both different and have different tendencies. I am looking at the same rescue that I got both of them from and I fell in love with a 2 year old female Lab/retriever mix. She is listed at 55 pounds as well. Would a female or male work better? Again, I have had the two in apartment settings and now that I own a house with a large yard, I would love to rescue again. Thank you for any help and insight!!

    • Karen Shanley June 8, 2018 at 9:44 am - Reply

      Hi Philip, since your current 2 dogs are not the same breed or sex, you could probably go with the female Lab/retriever, since she is also a different breed and age. BUT, big caveat, you should try to have all 3 dogs meet on neutral territory to see how they interact. It would also be helpful to have a skilled dog trainer with you who would know what to be looking out for. There are many micro-expressions that a non-trained person might miss that could be very telling.
      If you have a happy home now with the 2 you have, I’d ask you to think long and hard before adding the third. It really does change things a lot. Best of luck!

  8. Aurelie May 1, 2018 at 10:18 pm - Reply

    Hi!! Right now my family has two adult dogs that are both pitbulls. They’ve both been to doggy daycare when they were puppies and have done well around other dogs (like my mom’s dog who sometimes visits when she does, dogs they see on walks, et cetera). They just get overly excited. Anyway, in February we got Nyxie, a pitbull husky mix and she’s adjusted really well. They weren’t aggressive with her, just didn’t know how to act around her at first and now they’re protective of each other and love her to death and act like her big brothers. She’ll play and rough house and bite and hang on them and they don’t do anything to hurt or scare her, just occasionally growl or show their teeth if she’s being annoying enough but only as a way to tell her to back off a little. Anyway, my grandma got asked by a patient at her work today if she could take an adult male rescue pitbull. Given how well the other two adjusted to the puppy and how well they typically do with other dogs, how do you think that’ll go? Apparently the dog we got asked to take is really sweet, just timid. He got left at a house; that’s all my grandma told me. One of my older dogs, Toby, the one that spends the most time with the puppy and took her under his wing (showed her how to use the dog door and walk down the steps and other dog things) has anxiety. We have him on Prozac. He’s been medicated for a couple years now. That being said… Do you think he’d take the other dog under his wing and help him come out of his shell or would they just clash? Wanted advice and saw you were still answering.. Input would be appreciated?

    • Karen Shanley May 2, 2018 at 7:02 am - Reply

      Hi Aurelie, truthfully, I think you’d be pushing your luck. If you’ve already got one dog who is stressed enough to be on Prozac, I’m thinking you should quit while you’re ahead. The kindest thing you could do for all involved is to help find another good home for the dog.

  9. Miichelle April 27, 2018 at 10:59 am - Reply

    Hi Karen, so glad I found this and that you’re still answering!

    We are planning to get a golden retriever pup, coming home at the end of May. Our current dogs are both 7 years old, both neutered males. One is a black lab/ golden retriever mix, the other is a cavalier. They are both typically friendly with other dogs –I say typically because I know they’re animals and could potentially be aggressive, but I’ve only ever witnessed wagging tails and happy play, both in our home and yard and at other locations..

    Do you have a recommendation on gender for a new puppy?

    This article sure has given me pause, but it’s nice to read something that doesn’t just gloss over the issues. This seems like good timing for our family, but we can change our minds at any time if necessary. Thanks!

    • Karen Shanley April 27, 2018 at 11:07 am - Reply

      Hi Michelle, since both of your dogs’ breeds are not typically prone to aggression, and your intended pup isn’t either, gender isn’t quite as critical. But, still, I would recommend getting a female this time to be sure there’s near zero chance of aggression problems. Though, do expect some adjustments (not necessarily bad, but perhaps just some changes in dynamics) as your dogs get used to your new puppy.

      And I’m so glad that you understand that any animal could become aggressive situationally or if circumstances change. Many people naively don’t get that.

      Wishing you great good luck!

  10. Shara Charlier April 25, 2018 at 8:09 pm - Reply

    Hello! So we made the jump into getting a 3rd dog. We are on a day to day basis. The wonderful lady we bought the pup from was informed of our situation & told us should any problems arise her door is open. Now on to my current pack. We have myself, husband, a 5-year-old, 4-year-old, 9-month-old, & 2 mixed (Texas healer/Pitt bull) pups one male (neutered) and one female (intact) pups who will be 4 in a few weeks. Our new pup is a darling mix (lab/German shepherd/staffordshire) & is 7 weeks old.
    My dogs are not thrilled. While puppy is crated (in the kitchen) my female will willingly smell him and walk away. My male has avoided him nearly all day. While they are leashed separately they have their dominance dance but aren’t aggressive. But when all 3 become leashed the older two feed of each other and it gets messy. They also are not a fan of the pup moving, as long as he is lying submissively they will walk away, but if he stands they lean over him or growl. I am just beginning this journey but fear in my gut this will never change. (Let me add I always fear the worse)
    I am terrified of having a bad mixed pack, but we rushed into this and now this puppy has stolen all of our hearts… my question is how long do we play this game? How can we tell if this is typical behavior or the beginning of a nightmare?
    I keep thinking that if it was a permanent hate that the dogs would show aggression while pup is crated or on the outside of the yard fence, which they do not. This is our first time adding a 3rd dog into the mix. Had I read all the warnings of adding a 3rd dog, I would have told my puppy fever to float off, but he’s here now.

    • Karen Shanley April 26, 2018 at 9:30 am - Reply

      Hi Shara,
      The first thing you’ve done right was to get a male. The 2nd thing you’re doing right is to manage their interactions until they’ve established a new pack order–which can take a few months. You don’t mention how long you’ve had the new pup. If it has only been several days, I wouldn’t be thinking the worst. And, to some extent, given the breeds involved, none of what you describe is surprising.

      I would strongly recommend that you find a positive (not traditional) trainer to come and evaluate the situation, and to help you work with your dogs. This is going to take some work and some time.

      If you can’t afford either the trainer or the time, then give your puppy back now–for safety reasons for kids and dogs. I know that sounds harsh, but with the ages of your children, this has to be completely resolved one way or the other

      Good luck.

      • Shara Charlier April 26, 2018 at 10:19 am - Reply

        Thank you so much for the input! We have already been talking of looking into a trainer if we cannot get things worked out on our own. I will definitely keep in mind a positive trainer vs a typical one! This is only day 3, so we are still very early in our journey! Thankfully our female (the donimant of the 2)is showing amazing signs. The puppy has been submitting to her on his own and she’s fairly calm while around him. My male is still less than amused and mainly ignores him. I assume he is just salty and hopefully will learn to cope as time goes on. For now we are not forcing them to mingle & are trying extra hard to give him more one on one attention to boost his spirits and let him know we have not forgotten or replaced him! We said we will evaluate the situation in a week and for now are taking baby steps to ensure all dogs are safe & comfortable. I really hope this all works out because this puppy has proven to be a smart one! No inside accidents, he’s caught on that the baby is a human not another puppy, & is doing very well learning his sit command! Thank you again!

        • Karen Shanley April 26, 2018 at 11:51 am - Reply

          All good news! You’re on the right track. Getting input from an experienced trainer early on will help you avoid making costly mistakes, and give you tools to make sure your situation is successful.

  11. Delaney April 9, 2018 at 12:29 am - Reply

    So my husband and I currently have 2 dogs and have always said we would have 3. We have a 1yr 8 month old Min Pin/jack russell mix Female (Skye) and a 5 month old shepherd mix (looks like a Doberman) Male (Russell). The female is fixed and our vet wants to wait a little longer to fix Russell since he is still growing. We found a litter of Catahoula/pit mixed puppies, which my husband knows are my two favorite breeds and since we like to rescue not always easy to find (Catahoula) especially mixed. We got Russell as our second dog over his sister upon peoples advice but are unsure about the third dog. My husband and I both greatly favor the girl puppy but just can’t find much advice on third dogs. I wouldn’t say either of our dogs are submissive but they love each other and we’re great pretty much off the bat and though we do feed them seperately if one finishes before the other they will just sit and wait for the other to finish and respect the other ones food. Now we do make sure to alway give 2 similar toys and try not to give them a reason to fight. Even when we are training together (they are both in training classes) they may jump all around and over each other when I have treats but they have never fought over the treats while I’m getting the other dog to lay/sit etc. I’m pretty set on getting this third dog just looking for some input/insight as to how much the gender would matter. Also all the puppies in this litter are ALREADY FIXED. So no fear of puppies either way.

    • Karen Shanley April 9, 2018 at 7:44 am - Reply

      Hi Delaney, there are so many factors to consider here that I wouldn’t feel comfortable making a recommendation.You could pretty much toss a coin and the concerns only change slightly. Size differences, overall breed intensity, unknown parents’temperaments, you already have 2 dogs that get along great and there’s no way a 3rd dog isn’t going to impact that… So all I can do is wish you great good fortune. I think your best bet is to ask your vet, as he or she already is at least familiar with each of your dogs, and would presumably be meeting your third dog before final decisions get made.

  12. Kyara February 27, 2018 at 1:48 am - Reply

    Hi Karen,

    I am so glad I found your website. My husband and I have 2 longhair dachshunds who turn 2 next month. They are 5 days apart and have been together since they were both 8 weeks old. They absolutely adore each other. Female and Male, best friends, cuddles, the works. The female is definitely the Alpha and she is also bigger than the boy, who is a bit shy of other people and dogs. Also he is more of a lap dog than she is.

    We were considering a 3rd male dachshund puppy. I love dachshunds so much and had always wanted a little tribe haha.

    I guess I am concerned about disrupting the harmony we have and their relationship. They have never been apart really, and neither is aggressive at all..

    Being that they are all close in age and the same breed, would this be easier?

    Any inputs on Yays or Nays would be appreciated. Thank you!


    • Karen Shanley February 27, 2018 at 2:03 pm - Reply

      Hi Kyara, if you are going to add a third, it should definitely be a male, given that you describe your female as having dominant characteristics.

      It does sound like you currently have the perfect situation with 2 dogs you adore who also adore each other, and while I understand wanting to have a tribe–I really do–when it comes to dogs, we’re talking pack. And that’s a whole other kettle of fish. While having 2 dogs makes a dog pack, have 3 dogs makes a dog PACK. The energy gets amped up on every level.

      If you’re prepared for that, and that’s what you want, you should be okay. But that’s the thing–there is never a guarantee. I guess it depends on how much you’re willing to risk your current balanced situation. Would it be a huge risk? Probably not, if you were to add a well-bred puppy. But it would be a risk.

  13. Tasha February 24, 2018 at 11:04 am - Reply

    Hi Karen,
    I have a 10 yo JRT male called Odie and Labrador X dalmation 2 yo female. They get on very well and are very happy in each oher company. I have 2 daughters a 12 yo and a 10 yo. My 12 yo suffers with depression and we were wondering if a new puppy is the answer? My lab mix is very socible and would LOVE a playmate.What do you think? We think its a good time but is havng 3 dogs more work etc…

    • Karen Shanley February 25, 2018 at 11:56 am - Reply

      Hi Tasha,
      You don’t mention anything about yard size, fencing, hours at home alone, how much time people have to train, socialize, play with dogs, etc. You also don’t mention whether your 12 yr old is interested in or spends any time enaged with your current dogs. Without knowing that I can only give a partial answer.

      And that is– adding a third dog really ups the ante on every level. More wear and tear on the house and yard, more expense, more pack energy. Also more dogs to love. But definitely “more” on every level.

      If you were to get a chilled out breed, you decrease the odds of territorial or same sex aggression. Definitely stay away from herding breeds or other intense breeds.

      Whatever you decide, I wish you good luck.

  14. Diana January 16, 2018 at 3:18 pm - Reply

    Hi Karen, I found your site by chance as I am considering going from a 2 dog home to a 3 dog home. We have a 10 year old male chorkie since he was a puppy. When he was 1, we adopted a 3 year old female yorkie. They got on well over the years, but sadly we had to say good bye to our girl in August 2017. He seemed to really miss her and was not himself (refused to go on previously much loved walks etc). In November we were to adopt a 4 year old female Maltese (rehome from a breeder). Long story short, she turned out to be pregnant at the time, but we did take one of their other dogs – a 3 year old male. He is lovely, and they get along well, though the older male is not as playful at times as the younger. We are thinking of still getting the female (in February or March – and yes, the boy we took home was the father of the pups!) We liked the female a lot when we met her, also, Lord willing my oldest boy will be with us for several more years, but I don’t want the younger one to be left alone when that day comes. Any thoughts would be appreciated. Also, I do not work outside of our home, and have adult children and 3 grand children who visit.

    • Karen Shanley January 17, 2018 at 8:22 am - Reply

      Diana, since all of the dogs you mention are small, there is no mention of aggressive or dominant indications and you are home, that changes the dynamic somewhat. There isn’t anything in this mix that screams “NO don’t do it!” But as mentioned previously, when there is an “old” dog in the mix, it’s good to always think twice, and then twice more. If you do decide to get the female, just make sure to lavish a lot of time and attention on your older boy until everyone acclimates.

  15. Janissha Williams January 13, 2018 at 9:49 am - Reply

    Hi Karen, I am not sure if you are still monitoring this discussion thread but I was looking for information on having a three dog household so I thought I see what you thought of this situation. I have a 9 year old male neutered lab/mix (Max). I got him from a shelter when he was 8 weeks old. He is usually very laid back. He was the only dog in the house for 8 years. In Dec 2016 I adopted a new fur baby (Pandora) at 8 weeks old. She is a pure breed Akita. She is very playful and loves to be rough and tumble, When we she goes to the dog park she loves playing with the other dogs, but she definitely displays dominate tendencies. But she does not growl or bark at any dog. When we are walks and she sees another dog she whines and gets in her “I want to play couch” and wags her tale. With that being said, Max does not have the energy level that Pandora does. He will play with her when he gets ready, but she is constantly trying to get him to play. She has actually taught him to play tug of war, I have been trying to get him to do this since he was a pup. Now I am considering adding a male Akita to our family, because he would have the same energy level as Pandora, and Max could relax, I have had an Akita before, so when he died I wait 2 years to get Max.
    There has been one fight between these two, when Pandora was about 7 months old. This stemmed around a coveted item. She would usually allow Max to take whatever he wanted and he took her toy. This time she wanted it back and went to get it back. Since this time she has been the alpha between the two.
    Our household consists of myself, my hubby, 2 adult daughters (21 and 19) and my 4 year old granddaughter (the boss) who bosses both dogs around.
    Do you think adding another dog to the mix would cause total chaos?

    • Karen Shanley January 15, 2018 at 9:54 am - Reply

      Hi Janissha,
      Since you mention your female Akita has dominant tendancies, if you want to add a 3rd dog, it should definitely be a male. While I understand the sentiment that the 2 Akitas could play, and Max could “relax,” what may be more likely is that Max is left out/shut out. So you should be aware that he could experience some depression and would need more individual attention. It could go either way–all is well, or Max suffers. And, unfortunately, there is no way to predict.

      • Janissha Williams January 15, 2018 at 11:48 am - Reply

        Thank you Karen for your insight. I just took Max to the vet and they said he has begun to have cloudiness over his eyes. I think I will just let him live out his life, without the stress of a puppy.

        • Karen Shanley January 16, 2018 at 8:54 am - Reply

          Janissha, I am secretly relieved for Max. I should amend this post to say that if there is an older dog in the family, it is best to let that dog live out its days before adding another dog. I really appreciate the thoughtfulness and consideration you’ve given to the matter. Max is a lucky guy!

  16. Katie September 17, 2017 at 4:22 am - Reply

    Hi Karen, I am hoping you can help advise me regarding our current situation. We recently lost our Shepherd / Lab mix and wanted to get another dog so our other dog wouldn’t be too lonely when we weren’t home and so our kids would have a playful dog to love. We have a female lab mix who we rescued. She sleeps almost all day and is pretty mellow. She was the youngest of our three dogs for 9 years after we adopted her. Sometimes I feel home alone when she is here because she isn’t the kind of dog who follows its person from room to room like my shepherd mix was. She is only 9 but acts old and sleeps all the time, often upstairs all on her own! So we were looking at dogs and found a male Maltese Shih Tzu puppy that needed a home and also a female whippet mix. The Shih Tzu Maltese is very sweet natured and my kids (both kids are 13) are in love. We brought it home and our 9 year old lab is mostly ignoring it … no one is growling. It is 5 months old and we are housetraining it. It tries to play with our lab but she’d rather just watch. Here’s the third dog situation: we also love the whippet mix we met. We already had a whippet mutt for years and he died of old age. She is a very small cream colored whippet mix (not sure what she is!)and very very sweet too. When I met her and put her on my lap, she lay there still as can be and was happy and calm for ages even though she is about 6 months old. She got along fine with our 9 year old female lab mix, except our lab didn’t like it if the pup licked her mouth. Our lab would sit there and once made a tiny growl but didn’t show her teeth or anything. They walked around together in a pen just fine for 20 minutes and I had the pup in my lap on and off during that time. I really want to get this whippet mix too. I already adore her and she needs a home. She is such a cuddly lovey dog. We have a double lot fenced and my husband is a big softie for dogs. The whippet mix is already house trained too. Supposedly she does chase cats but we have no cats. Do you think the 6 mo old tiny female whippet mutt would play with the super playful but quite shy male shih tzu maltese mix? Would our old female lab mix be upset by having 2 young dogs around or relieved that the two pups were hanging out and playing together and leaving her alone. Any advice you have would be so appreciated. We already fell for both of the pups but we love our older dog very much too. We are an indoor pet house. We have a lot of rooms in the house if dogs want space. Our kids are in jr high. They already like both pups very much. I work part time so can supervise a lot in the beginning if we get both. Thx again.

    • Karen Shanley September 18, 2017 at 9:07 am - Reply

      From your description, it appears your lab was just trying to teach the whippet some puppy manners, and letting her know who’s boss. Her closed-mouth growl was appropriate for the circumstances to let the whippet know that she didn’t want to be bothered. If the whippet paid attention and backed off, then they are communicating clearly, and I wouldn’t be too concerned. If she didn’t and persisted in bothering your lab, that could present a problem going forward.

      CAVEAT: It’s always risky to comment from a distance on matters like this because I can’t watch the interaction to know for certain. So whenever there is a hint of possible aggression, it is always best to have a knowledgeable, experienced trainer present to observe.

      • Katie September 18, 2017 at 12:58 pm - Reply

        Hi, Thanks so much for your reply! I am trying to remember exactly what the whippet did when my lab softly growled. I was so busy watching my lab. But the adoption center person who’s quite experienced at pet placement thought it went pretty well (and she agreed to go ahead with the adoption) and also the whippet and lab just wandered around after that and the whippet didn’t keep pestering my lab and so I think that’s promising! I am mostly worried about the three dog dynamic changing things. Hopefully the young ones will play a lot and leave my old girl alone. The male shih tzu maltese pup currently follows the lab a lot! We’re hoping it will follow the one month older whippet instead and they will become buddies and grow old together! Thanks again for your time and help!

  17. Shauna September 4, 2017 at 8:54 pm - Reply

    Hi Karen,

    I found your blog by chance and find your stance on the 2 vs 3 really interesting! I currently have two Husky mixes who are more husky than anything and are both roughly 2 years old (one who was rescued and one who I’ve had since he was 8 weeks old). They are high energy and love to play with one another and really any dog we encounter at our local dog park.

    I live with a family of 4 plus my boys and we are looking at adding a female chocolate lab puppy in a few weeks.. What would be your take on this? Both my boys are high energy but generally well behaved. They love other dogs and we would love to add a little girl to our family. She is also joining the family to add into the hunting lifestyle that both myself and my boyfriend have.

    I’m worried to change the dynamic but I think it would actually calm my boys having an extra playmate as at times one will pester to play and the other won’t be interested. They have a decent yard to run in and are taken for regular walks/park visits.

    Am I crazy to add a third to our family..?

    • Karen Shanley September 5, 2017 at 3:57 pm - Reply

      Hi Shauna,
      Far be it for me to judge someone else’s sanity or lack thereof. :) Especially since it looks like the decision has already been made. But it sounds as though you have thought it through, and you and your family have the time, space, and energy.
      I can’t say whether adding a female Lab would calm your Husky boys or rev them up. But with your combo, a female is definitely the way to go.
      So all I can say is that I wish you the best of of happy outcomes!

  18. Jason August 10, 2017 at 4:30 pm - Reply

    Hi Karen – curious to get your feedback. We have a 12 year old female chocolate lab (alpha grandma) and a 7 month old American Mastiff (yes it’s a breed) puppy. We got the puppy at 8 weeks and our older lab has done a great job keeping the mastiff in check when she gets too excited with the kids or does something she’s not supposed to do (like chase the cat).

    We have been obedience training the puppy and she’s doing very well. We have a happy home with the two dogs we have now, but we keep thinking that adding a rescue Male Mastiff that’s under a year old would be good for our puppy. It would give her a dog at her energy level to play with. I spend at least an hour with her daily between her twice per day walks and playtime, so time commitment isn’t really a huge issue.

    Our 12 year old lab probably only has 1 or 2 years left at max – would you recommend waiting to get another dog after she passes? I feel like a young male might give her someone she can bond with now that’s not a true “mother’ figure. We love mastiffs and want another one, but the question is really just around timing (now or after our grandma lab dies).



    • Karen Shanley August 10, 2017 at 8:00 pm - Reply

      Hi Jason, this is a tricky one. While, in theory, because your grandma lab has done such a good job teaching your puppy some manners, you might be inclined to think she’d be up for the task with another young dog. And…she might.

      BUT it could also quickly turn into a two against one– with the younger ones being emboldened by each other–to try to overthrow the queen. And then you could wind up with a depressed lab who’s been relegated to second class citizen status in her twilight years.

      So, long story short, this could go either way. The only way to know for sure would be to find a rescue male and introduce him to your lab on neutral ground and see how they do. I would highly recommend having a skilled and knowledgeable trainer along for another pair of eyes and to offer feedback. Even with that, unless the two obviously love each other, even if they seem to do fine, that could all change once the female puppy is in play and pack dynamics kick in (which could take up to three months).

      I know you want to give your puppy a playmate now, but if it were me, I would hold off and not risk making the time your lab has left potentially miserable.

      Then when you are ready for another dog, you’re right in thinking a male would be the way to go to avoid the likelihood of same-sex, same-breed rivalry.

      • Jason Wilson April 26, 2018 at 11:56 am - Reply

        Hey Karen – I wanted to give you an update as to where we ended up on this one.

        We actually ended up rescuing a male mastiff within 2 weeks of me posting the original message. It’s worked out wonderfully for us. We did take your advice and introduced all 3 of them together on neutral ground at the rescue. He was only a couple months older than our puppy (he was 10 months and she was 7 months). At first we were hesitant to take him home because 3 dogs is a lot of dog, especially with 2 of them being mastiffs. The rescue worker was so confident in the three of them getting along, that she recommended we foster for a couple weeks to see how they all did at home.

        It took us two days at our house before we called and agreed to make him a permanent member of the family. Our old lab is still around, and he’s given her new life. He is extremely gentle and submissive, so she’s still the top dog. But she nuzzles and nibbles him when we let him out of the crate in the morning and she seems like she’s so happy to be a part of an actual pack. The best part is the younger mastiff female puppy and him have become best friends. She pretty much leaves our old lab alone other than to lick her face and show her submission, but she now has a friend she can run around the house and yard with.

        At any rate – having 3 is so great for our family, but I totally agree that testing them together at first was absolutely critical.

        • Karen Shanley April 26, 2018 at 12:24 pm - Reply

          WOW! I am so happy to hear that this turned out well for you! Thanks so much for the update.

  19. Samantha July 3, 2017 at 9:34 am - Reply

    So, a question for you, on specifics.

    My husband and I have been considering getting a third, but our family seems a lot different than most adding a third dog to their lives. We have an 8 year old male chihuahua who is very sweet but doesn’t really have any desire to spend time with our second dog. Dutch is a 5 year old greyhound who is rather shy and very sweet and VERY needy. He always needs someone to reassure him that everything is ok. The two tolerate each other fine, unless the chi is having a bully moment, but we’ve helped them work on things to a point where generally they exist apart from one another. The association we got Dutch from said he would be good candidate for a friend and that it might help him build more confidence and we have been considering getting another greyhound. We hope that the chi still won’t care about the new guy’s existence and that the other grey will help Dutch feel more confident and less like he needs to look to us for constant reassurance.
    They already are fed separately, have separate playtime, separate activities, separate everything really, since the dogs aren’t really friends.

    I wonder whether or not the third dog would really create that pack dynamic or if it will just be the two greys buddying up and the chi doing his own thing. Do you think that could be the case, or do you think the third dog usually bonds all household dogs together?

    • Karen Shanley July 4, 2017 at 8:07 am - Reply

      Hey Samantha, there is no way to know for certain what the dynamics would be until you added the 3rd dog. But given what you’re describing, I think there’s a better than fair chance that another greyhound would be good for Dutch. I would just make sure to get a female for best opportunity for buddying up–especially since you already have 2 males. Because greyhounds are typically pretty laid back, it’s unlikely that the chihuahua would feel left out or bullied. More than likely, after the adjustment period of everybody getting used to everybody, the chihuahua would not feel much different about the situation one way or the other.

  20. sue October 27, 2016 at 5:08 pm - Reply

    Hi Karen: I currently have 2 dogs a 13 year old female Terrier and a 1 1/2 year old male pug. The Terrier doesn’t play with the pug. Years ago I had 4 dogs (2 pugs, Aussie, Terrier) and swore I’d never do it again. The breeder just told me that the parents of my pug are having another litter. I was thinking of getting a female pug out of that litter. 1. Someone to play with Loui the pug. 2. The 13 year old may last another year or two so someone for Loui would be good. 3. I know dogs are expensive and that is a downside. 4. I take Loui to small dog daycare which happens once a week. I’d like to see Loui get to “play” with another dog while he is young and wants to. 5. I don’t want to upset the balance as you say. Is getting a female pug a good idea? I thought female because with two males they may want to mark at least my past male pugs did.

    • Karen Shanley October 27, 2016 at 7:11 pm - Reply

      Sue, you would definitely want to go with a female if you decide to go ahead. But at 13 years old, it’s very unlikely that your Terrier will adjust or adapt to a puppy in the house. You could be consigning your Terrier to a lasting bout of depression at the change in energy and possibly pack order. If you truly think she only has a year left, I would be disinclined to upset the apple cart. Maybe for now, if Loui is enjoying daycare, you could up that to 2 days a week. Then once your Terrier girl makes it to the other side, get a female pug puppy. Your boy will still be young enough to play and appreciate the company.

  21. Tanya Stevens April 8, 2016 at 9:08 am - Reply

    Interesting. We are considering a third dog. I have two females a Border Collie and a Spanish Mastin. They are two years old, and about to be neutered next month. ( the reason for the delay is that I wanted them to finish growing) we live in a remote location, on a farm. Ideally, I would like another Border Collie or GSD as I already have two girls I was thinking Male. Both my girls get on, the Mastin in laid back and the BC is in charge, and can get a bit growly but that’s usually around feeding times. Both my girls are “outdoor” dogs We are around all day and initially a new puppy would stay with us in the house until trained and bigger, then would be with the other two on the farm

    Any views on this I too do not want to upset the apple cart but would love another BC.

    • Karen Shanley April 8, 2016 at 5:32 pm - Reply

      Tanya, from what you’re describing about your current two girls, you should be okay to add a male BC–but definitely not another female. Would it be possible to bring your BC girl to give the final sniff test to the puppy you think you’d like to bring home? It can be helpful to first have them meet on neutral turf first (not with the pup’s mom or other adult dogs around). If she seems okay with that first intro meeting, that’s a pretty good indicator that she’ll be okay with the puppy at home. If you have good clear communication with her, and you keep an eye on any group time for the first month or so, it’s likely things could go smoothly.

      If she shows any signs of definite aggression to the puppy, that’s a red flag. Not an absolute deal breaker but I would go into hyper management mode at home until a new pack order is firmly established. And honestly if she votes with her teeth with a snarl or a growl, I’d be inclined to leave well enough alone. Having lived through a bad pack situation, I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

      Good luck. I hope it works out for you.

  22. Bethany December 28, 2015 at 12:21 pm - Reply

    I also am glad I came across your article. My family is considering adding a 3rd dog. We currently have an 8 year old female Vizsla (Daisy) and a four year old female rescue (Sydney) that we believe is full Doberman We have always wanted a Newfoundland. Now I know they are big and shed and drool all the time, but we love them. We have 17 acres of land including a 4 acre pond for our dogs to explore. We got our rescue Doberman about a year ago after we had to put down our 2 year old Vizsla Gunner due to severe epilepsy. We had wanted to get a Newfoundland at that time, but the idea of going thru puppy phase again so soon after losing our 2 year old puppy seemed overwhelming. So when we were approached about adopting the 4 year old Doberman it seemed like a great fit and it was. Our Doberman is very sweet and gets along well with our Vizsla; however Sydney wants to romp and play more than Daisy is willing and Daisy sometimes gets upset with Sydney’s persistence. I know that Vizslas are supposed to be high energy and require much exercise, but Daisy would much rather hang out on the couch all day with the exception of running a few laps around the house in the afternoon! My son, who is 11 has been asking for a Newfie puppy for a long time and he is a very responsible kid(he raises goats and rabbits for 4-H). He doesn’t really remember Daisy as a puppy because he was only 3 and our other Vizsla Gunner developed epilepsy at an early age and was very high-maintenance and not a normal puppy. My kids were extremely attached to Gunner because it was their puppy that they picked out and raised so when we had to put him down they were heartbroken.As much as I loved and miss Gunner, his health condition controlled our lives for much of his life and right now our house is very routine and simple which we are not used to. I also have a fear of getting another puppy from an non-reputable breeder and the puppy having health issues. My son has been researching breeders and even emailing them regarding parent’s heath issues, genetics, etc. While we have the love, room and financial means to support another dog I’m not sure if we should mess with our now easy routine?

    • Karen Shanley December 28, 2015 at 12:50 pm - Reply

      Bethany, this is a tough one… It sounds as though you are an experienced dog person who knows what you’d be getting into. But your final question kind of says it all for me: “Should we mess with our now easy routine?” Having life be sane and manageable is not to be undervalued.

      There’s no question adding another dog with add another layer of bedlam (at least in the puppy phase – 1 1/2 yrs). AND you tell me that your son is very responsible. (He is a perfect age for having his own dog).

      Soooo… If it were me…? And I knew my son could/would handle the responsibility, and he found a reputable breeder–I think I’d go for it. Knowing that my house is going to be a lot messier, and animal management is going to be a little nuts for a while.

      Yes, you could be opening yourselves back up to more heartbreak. You could also be giving your son the gift of a lifetime.

      Really tough call. I’m glad I’m not you and I don’t have to make the decision. : )

  23. Maggie December 7, 2015 at 5:55 pm - Reply

    Hi Karen. I’m really happy to have come across your post. I have a sort of similar situation as Mike Lamb. We have two small female dogs, one is a 1.5 year old Mi-Ki (5.4 lbs) and the other is a ~2-2.5 year old Papillon (7.6 lbs). We adopted the Papillon from a rescue to be a playmate for the Mi-Ki a little over 1 year ago. Now, the Papillon is fully integrated and adapted into our home and we are all living happily. But, the Papillon is not very interested in playing with the Mi-Ki and she is much lower energy and only plays occasionally and also does not really understand how to play with toys, so she tires of playing quickly. We are considering adopting another small dog, a 6 month old male Shih Tzu Lhasa Apso mix (2.5 lbs). On the one hand, we don’t want to disrupt the harmony we have in the house now. We have discussed the extra time, effort, and money that will come with another dog. We can afford another dog and I think we have enough time and love to go around. We are wondering if it would be better to have another small and active dog for the Mi-Ki to play with and then the Papillon would just be able to chill and stop being harassed by the Mi-Ki to play all the time. The Mi-Ki is the dominant one. We were thinking getting a puppy male dog would be best because the Mi-Ki would likely continue to hold her dominant position and a male would be a better mix since we have two females now. What are your thoughts on this situation? Unlike Mike Lamb’s post, our two female dogs do play together a bit but just not as frequently as the Mi-Ki would like. The Papillon would rather be looking for food, sleeping, or cuddling with us. Thanks!

    • Karen Shanley December 8, 2015 at 9:08 am - Reply

      Hi Maggie, first, if you do decide to add a third, definitely go with a male. The possible outcomes are the mi-ki and the new male bond and the papillon gets ignored, the mi-ki isn’t interested in the male you pick so you now have 3 dogs who don’t interact much and the initial problem isn’t solved. The male bonds with the papillon and the mi-ki is left out, etc., etc., through all the permutations. Or they can all get along great and problem solved. The problem is that there’s no way of knowing what the outcome would be until after you add the 3rd dog.

      If there is a way you can test the male dog with both of your dogs separately and together before you bring him home, that might at least give you a clue as to how each of your dogs would feel about the little guy.

      Good luck!

      • Maggie December 13, 2015 at 9:25 pm - Reply

        Thank you very much for your advice! We put in our application for the little guy. If we continue in the application process then we will schedule a meet and greet for the three pups, so we will get a feel for how they all get along at that time.

  24. Dean March 2, 2013 at 8:28 pm - Reply

    Forgot to add, Prince is about the height of a Lab. The third we are thinking of will be a Lab/Retriever cross type.

  25. Dean March 2, 2013 at 8:25 pm - Reply

    Hi Karen,
    Also, I have just come across your website and very interesting read. We too are considering a third dog into our fold. Currently have a lovely (calm,gentle, never been aggressive to anything in his life) 17-year old cross breed. He still walks and plays (on his terms) with our other dog, Juno, an almost 3 year old Springer Spaniel. She is very passive, and plays with Prince a lot (and they all get on well with our cats too (we have 2), sleeping and cleaning each other), but we feel that with Prince’s age, that she is not having the best play mate/companion that she could be having. Juno is also passive with any dog we meet on our walks, more interested in her ball/stick/bottles/junk she finds.
    Another reason for the third would be to ease our suffering when he passes, and also for Juno. She has never been on her own as we had her from a puppy and always been with Prince.
    We also have 2 children (11 and 5) who adore dogs and would love another one.
    I am just wondering would now be a good time to get another, with Prince’s age he still comes on 1-2hours walks with me and Juno but does tend to sleep a lot otherwise.
    Many Thanks for your reply (if you can),

    • Karen March 4, 2013 at 10:18 am - Reply

      Hi Dean, it sounds as though Juno doesn’t need another dog to be happy (not all dogs do) if she is not actively seeking out play with other dogs. So unless you’re able to find a dog that you can have Juno meet that she goes wild for, know that if you get another dog, you’d be getting it for the family and not for Juno.

      If you do decide to get another dog, I would recommend that you wait until your 17yo passes. Adding a new dog now could be very upsetting for him. At his age, keeping things the same is the kindest thing you can do for him.

      Good luck with whatever you decide!

  26. Mike Lamb December 24, 2012 at 6:17 pm - Reply

    I too am glad I stumbled upon your post Karen. My wife and I have been considering a third dog as well, mostly as a playmate to one of our dogs. Let me explain. We have a 6 year old female Maltese and a 5 year old female Olde English Bulldog. We have a content home and routine which is wonderful. However, our Maltese prefers to be left alone from our Bulldog and absolutely refuses to play with her. That is the reason we started thinking about getting a third dog so that it will play and interact with our Bulldog. Our Bulldog tries to get out Maltese to play but never with any luck. We have an average size home with a decent fenced yard to play. My wife walks the Maltese off leash separately from my leashed walk each morning with our Bulldog. Do you think given our situation, a third dog actually would be a good idea? If so, should we change it up and get a male? What do you think honestly?

    • Karen December 24, 2012 at 6:43 pm - Reply

      Hi Mike, in your case with 2 girls, I would recommend a male. I also strongly recommend that you let your Bulldog be involved in picking her playmate, or you could wind up with a 3rd dog who isn’t interested in your Bulldog. You want the next dog to have definite play chemistry with her. So try to take her to meet the potential addition somewhere on neutral grounds, where you can get an accurate sense of how they might interact. What you’re looking for is a quickly responsive dog to your Bulldog’s play attempts. Size also matters in play, so try to go for a dog that ultimately will be about the same size.

      In your situation, I completely get why you’re considering a 3rd dog. In your shoes, I’d probably wind up doing the same. Again, not to sound like a broken record–just make sure the play chemistry is there from the beginning.

      Good luck!

  27. Malu October 7, 2012 at 11:03 pm - Reply

    I am glad I found this post of yours. I’ve been seriously thinking of adding a 3rd dog (9 -week old French Bulldog) our family. Our family consists of my husband, me, and our two, female, 7-year old Coton De Tulears (toy breed). We both work and have a dogwalker that comes in mid-day to spend time with our dogs. Karen, thank you for your post – it was clearly speaking to me when you said “Don’t do it!” We have a happy family and our routine is pretty much established. Although I must say, I’ve been longing adding a 3rd canine-kid to our family. I even thought a male puppy might be a better balance. But the #2 seems to be just the right number.

    • Karen October 8, 2012 at 9:04 am - Reply

      Malu, if you ever decide on a third, I’d definitely go with a male to avoid the potential of female/female aggression, which is fairly common. But I’m glad to hear that, for now at least, you’ll be keeping your happy family as is. : )

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