Double dogs: Getting a second dachshund
Double dogs: Getting a second dachshund
Since I was young, I wanted a red (caramel brown) dachshund, but life took me in a different direction. My first dachshund Max was a black and tan smooth and a little too large to be a mini, then years later came Sunny (also black and tan)who’s a proper standard. Now we have welcomed Pixel into our lives. She’s a black and tan dapple mini. She seems so delicate and bendy compared to Sunny, who’s a big muscular standard.
Why two dachshunds?
Why did we think it would be a good idea to have a second dachshund? We’d been planning for a while to get a second dog, to keep Sunny company. Sunny has never liked to be left alone, and when we travel and have to leave him with someone, especially in a kennel situation, we just felt that he would be more relaxed at nights if he was sharing with a dog he knew well. We had been looking for another standard dachshund. However (without going into the details) we came across Pixel unexpectedly when she was alone in a particular situation, and we felt we could and should take her into our dachshund home. We went out that morning never expecting to come home later on with a puppy, but as an experienced dog household it has all worked out. We had spares of everything, and understand the breed.
The good parts
It’s nearly all been good so far. The sheer happiness and joy that humans derive from a relationship with one dog seems to doubled with two dogs. And after a day or two of adjustment from Sunny, during which he was a bit growly and protective of his bones, his bed, his blankets, the two of them now share everything. After three weeks spent together they sleep on top of each other at night and in the car. They seem to tolerate and entertain each other. Beyond that I wouldn’t want to anthropomorphise too much! We have no regrets about having a second dachshund, even though we are more tired during this puppy phase.
The more tricky part of doubling up
Having a puppy has been very different to getting an almost-adult dog, but the difficulties, such as they are, are mostly to do with her young age rather than having two dogs in the house. Anyone adopting a second or third dog that was older would have older age-specific issues rather than puppy issues.
It’s much more difficult to manage moving around outside the house with two dachshunds, especially as you need two hands to safely pick up just one of them. When both of us humans are together it works well, but it is undeniably more difficult to manage them both on the street when you are single handed. My sense is that it will get much easier once the puppy is less bouncy and excitable, and is more obedient. We’ve got a double leash to walk them without tangling everything up, but the puppy is not big enough yet to use it.
We don’t need a dog sitter, dog walker, or doggy daycare every day. But if you're someone who has to rely on - and pay for - external help then two dogs means double the bills.
This is the first time I’ve had a dachshund at a real puppy age, in her case at twelve weeks. It’s exhausting. It’s hard to concentrate on work when we’re all in the same location (I’m typing this post with Pixel on my lap). Both my first two dachshunds came to me at 6-7 months old. The first, Max, was held back for some months by the breeder to see whether he grew too big to be a mini (he did). My second, Sunny, some years later, was a rescue of sorts. He came to us from his breeder who had taken him back from his first owner. We got him, after a very thorough grilling from her, when he was seven months old. We don’t really know what happened to him in his earlier life. Either way, both of these guys had been toilet trained when they came home and they were used to walking on a lead.
We have focussed Pixel’s obedience training so far on toilet training and walking on a lead. Luckily as two self-employed people we have the flexibility to give time to her when it’s needed, and we can take advantage of the hours when both dogs are snoozing to churn out our work.
Having had some experience trying to train Sunny - with mixed results - we are being realistic about what we can achieve with Pixel. Sit, walk in a straight line, and off/stop, as well as coming when called (eventually) are what we’re aiming for. Nothing more. We never did manage to get Sunny to lie down on command, though he can crawl under my legs very nicely as a result of that training effort!
Our verdict so far: double trouble and double joy.