Are Two Heads Better Than One?

We're considering getting another Border Collie to keep ours company. Do you think that 2 Border Collies are much more work than one Border Collie? And, are there certain dogs who just never accept other dogs brought into the household?

Anyone who tells you that 2 Border Collies aren't more work than 1 Border Collie is lying. It's twice the amount of time to spend with the dogs, twice the poop to scoop, twice the damage, twice the noise, and twice everything else. The second Border Collie, like a second kid, may be easier than the first but it is definitely more work. People with two kids who tell you that having two is easier than having one usually do so with a smirk on their face. Owning 12 Border Collies for example, doesn't make it 12 times less work.

That said, owning another Border Collie can take a lot of the focus off you. The intensity of the dog (to play ball, wrestle, or whatever) is often directed at the other dog, not at you. You find yourself being able to say "Go get Fido" when one wanders over to pester you for activity - not being stuck with having to respond to all demands for attention. At my house, it's "Wrestlemania" about every 30 minutes - a huge melee of dogs pawing, growling, and tumbling in the middle of the room - but if I learn to ignore the noise, I can get more work done. With only one, I have to take breaks every 15 minutes to give it the attention it demands to be paid. They can keep each other entertained for longer periods than a lone dog can entertain itself.

And yes - though they can be taught to tolerate the other dog, some dogs, like some people, just don't get along with others. If you're worried about such a thing, you might want to "test drive" a friend's dog (or a rescue) for a couple of weeks to see if your dog will eventually get over any feelings of discomfort.

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Page last updated January 7, 1998. All material Copyright 2004 Border Collie Rescue, Inc. and Dr. Nicholas B. Carter
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