One Dog vs. Two? One works better for this city dweller
When I could no longer avoid the fact my old springer, Wolf, couldn’t cut it in the field anymore and had to retire (which broke my heart and his), I finally had to get another springer (Hunter, three years ago).
I waited a long time before getting Hunter for various reasons, but mainly because I knew it would be a lot more work – and boy was I right.
We had never had two gun dogs. My wife and I found having two in the big city (Minnesota’s Twin Cities) was a lot more work in every way: cleaning up after them in the house and on walks, cleaning up waste in the yard and kennel, walking and biking them, space they needed in the house during harsh summer and winter weather….and on and on. Having two dogs really made our lives more complicated and cut into our time.
Yet, I know lots of hunters who have two and more dogs. It was more fun having two in some ways. Wolf had a companion at home for the first time and they played together a lot, which was fun for us to watch. Since Wolf couldn’t hunt much anymore when I got Hunter, the two rarely hunted together – a big reason why many hunters have two dogs. I enjoyed having two dogs afield the few times we did it, but training them was also much more work – poor Wolf absolutely hated being tethered while I trained Hunter. Yet, I think young Hunter learned a few things from the experienced Wolf when hunting, though.
Having two intact males, there was lots of dominance behavior going on, especially on Wolf’s part. Now that Wolf is gone, Hunter seems more at ease and our workload has gone down a lot.
I suppose it’s a lifestyle thing too. I love my dog and will always have one. But, I have other interests too and need time and energy for those, so two dogs is not in my future until another old dog-new dog transition. Your thoughts and experiences?
The Nomad is written by Mark Herwig, Editor of the Pheasants Forever Journal.
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