Multiple Dogs: How Many is Too Many?

Every so often the news will bring to the fore a story of either a crazy old “cat lady” or an unauthorized puppy mill overrun by hundreds of uncared-for animals. That is tragic, and certainly worthy of the media’s attention, but the fact that a person may own a number of dogs should not automatically connote illicit activity or even instability. Popular TV shows like The Dog Whisperer have shed light on the fact that dogs are creatures that do well in packs, and that having just one dog may not necessarily be in the pet’s best interest – however convenient it may seem to be in the eyes of the owner.

Dogs of a Feather…

Some dogs are bred specifically to interact with other creatures, even those of different species, such as Border Collies with their proclivity for herding everything from ducks to cattle. Other dogs are prized by law enforcement and the military for their bravery and alertness, not just German Shepherds, but also the Belgian Malinois and Rottweiler. All have their roots in herding, being not only wily enough to deal with the livestock, but also imposing and powerful enough to fend off the largest of predators.

Pecking Order Established

All dogs, however, will take to a pack existence. The “alpha male” concept isn’t something created in the halls of academia. Classic Darwinism rules the day in the dog world, and there is no shortage of contests between the dominant males for the right to rule the pack, with an established pecking order to follow. Having a number of dogs, as opposed to one or two, can also bring about stability in the overall household with regard to pet behavior, which can be self-regulating to a certain degree.

On the other hand, a whole bunch of dogs can also seem quite unruly if they all get barking at the same thing. That sort of thing is par for the course when one owns multiple dogs, as are the responsibilities of feeding and cleaning up after all of them. It is also incumbent upon the owner to also be considerate of one’s neighbors. If the ownership of a number of dogs is undertaken in a practical manner, benefits will become obvious to both pets and their owners.