Should I get a second dog?

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Re: Should I get a second dog?

Postby ForestDump » Fri Oct 20, 2017 1:53 pm

ckirsch wrote:My experience with rescue dogs hasn't been particularly encouraging, and the problem with getting a retired dog is that you'll likely end up with two old dogs at the same time. My last dog was a little over a year old when I got him, and I'm not sure I'd do that again. Cheated myself out of the joy of a puppy, and it took quite a while for that dog to accept me as the boss. I suspect he was waiting for his previous owner to show up. I enjoy the training, and would not take as much satisfaction in hunting behind a dog someone else had put the work into.

I guess I don't buy into the philosophy that you're being unfair to a dog if you don't hunt sixty days per year. If that was the case, very few of us would qualify to own one. I live in the heart of some of the best upland hunting in the world and I'm not able to hunt that much as I have kids in sports most weekends and they take priority. Should that disqualify me from owning a couple of bird dogs? Sure, they love to hunt and would be happy getting out more, but they're well cared for and get out of the kennel quite a bit outside of hunting.

If you like your current dog, wait until he's four or five and then get another one from the same breeder. He'll be in his prime when the first dog reaches retirement age, and when the older dog is gone, you'll have an experienced dog to hunt behind while you break in the next pup.


I think he said his current dog was 4 years old and I agree. 4-6 is a great time to get another dog so you don't have too big of a gap between hunting dogs. It costs just as much to feed a rescue companion as it does a hunting dog/companion. If you want another dog may as well be one you can also use.
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Re: Should I get a second dog?

Postby booger » Fri Oct 20, 2017 1:57 pm

I didn't necessarily mean "retired" like a human on social security, but retired from breeding or hunting use. That could happen early.

I'm not convinced the guy wouldn't use a 2nd dog to hunt. Who is to decide whether he hunts enough to justify having a 2nd? IMO that's a personal decision left to the new owner/buyer. I believe opinions on whether he hunts enough are irrelevant.
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Re: Should I get a second dog?

Postby AverageGuy » Fri Oct 20, 2017 4:51 pm

booger wrote:I didn't necessarily mean "retired" like a human on social security, but retired from breeding or hunting use. That could happen early.

I'm not convinced the guy wouldn't use a 2nd dog to hunt. Who is to decide whether he hunts enough to justify having a 2nd? IMO that's a personal decision left to the new owner/buyer. I believe opinions on whether he hunts enough are irrelevant.


Of course all of our posts and opinions are ultimately irrelevant. Including yours.

But he asked the Question in the title and again in his post and received opinions, some of which differ from others. No one is getting mistreated here just because they disagree or even dislike some of the responses.

The question of how much hunting is enough is subjective and opinions obviously can and do vary.

I think the question of how much additional work two high powered hunting dogs are is far less subjective. I have done it for years at a time and when asked judge it to be a lot of additional work, not a little.

The effort I put into training my current 20 month old over the last 2 years was large and dominating. Having lived it several times before I know there will new challenges to address when and if I were to get another puppy. Challenges with both dogs not just the newly acquired one. Notions that two dogs always easily mesh is not the reality I have lived. A perfectly settled in existing dog will bring up new challenges to be addressed and the puppy will create a bunch as well.

Until the puppy is physically capable, two different exercise regimes will be required. Feeding will be immediately more complicated.

Ckirsch says it does not complicate things much but key to that is he keeps his dogs in kennels and lives on a ranch complete with bird pens, exercises and trains his dogs there apparently. If the OP lives in a house in subdivision his situation is immediately more complicated.

Training will be much more demanding and time consuming. Hunting the dogs together may well bring up some unhealthy and unproductive competitive behaviors that have to be trained away. Manners around retrieving and recall will have be tight to avoid conflicts.

I had an excellent old dog that would consistently honor any another dog's point, run right through my new puppy's point because of pure jealousy. The old dog hated the new puppy. The existing older dog has consistently been jealous of the puppy multiple times in a row in my kennel (all males), and found ways to make trouble because of it. Trouble that did not exist prior or with other dogs we hunted with.

I hunted last year in TX with my buddy's shorthair bitch where we shot 45 birds a day for 3 days straight. Lots of retrieves across multiple dogs with no problems. And then a week ago I saw that same bitch snatch a sharptail right of his pup's mouth as the pup was bringing it to him. That bitch has never done that before while hunting with many other dogs. Existing dogs get jealous of the new puppy and it brings new training challenges. Notions it is all easy and fun is pumping sunshine.

Until a puppy has developed its own independent search I find they are much better off hunting alone than with the older dog. And that can take all of the first season potentially. I have seen too many adult dogs that would not retrieve because an old dog beat them to all the retrieves when the younger dog was a puppy.

Which means less time hunting for the older dog, and unfortunately potentially inadequate time for the puppy to learn its craft as well, unless more hunting is on the table.

Lots to consider.
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Re: Should I get a second dog?

Postby 3drahthaars » Fri Oct 20, 2017 8:44 pm

booger wrote:I didn't necessarily mean "retired" like a human on social security, but retired from breeding or hunting use. That could happen early.

I'm not convinced the guy wouldn't use a 2nd dog to hunt. Who is to decide whether he hunts enough to justify having a 2nd? IMO that's a personal decision left to the new owner/buyer. I believe opinions on whether he hunts enough are irrelevant.


Quite obviously, it's a personal choice.

Personally, for me 20 days doesn't justify a second hunting dog, because where I live the chances for encounters are limited.

I have to go to a preserve (decent birds fortunately) to round out my season... Anything short of 150 birds isn't doing my pup justice. I even albeit especially have heartburn with breeders with a kennel full of brood bitches that passed tests, met breeding requirements, and sit idle in the runs pumping out puppies instead of being hunted... "test dogs" and not much else.

Sometimes one has to truly be honest, brutally honest with oneself.

We get hunting dogs to HUNT. We expound on how our hunting dogs were tested and bred to hunt.

If one thinks a few outings and several encounters are enough... well, as I said it's a personal choice.

But, if I were in the OP's position I'd go the pound puppy route and make sure it's not a hunting breed.
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Re: Should I get a second dog?

Postby ckirsch » Fri Oct 20, 2017 9:49 pm

AverageGuy wrote:Ckirsch says it does not complicate things much but key to that is he keeps his dogs in kennels and lives on a ranch complete with bird pens, exercises and trains his dogs there apparently. If the OP lives in a house in subdivision his situation is immediately more complicated.


To clarify, I live in Rapid City, in a subdivision. My kennels run off the back of my garage and are approximately thirty yards from my neighbors' back door. The dogs also spend time together in the mud room in the house. We own a small ranch around forty miles from town that I visit once or twice per week, and the dogs typically accompany me on those trips.

The OP's question is not "Do I NEED another dog." Clearly he doesn't. Truth be told, few of us do. But if one enjoys the company of dogs, and the training that goes into a hunting companion, they shouldn't disqualify themselves simply because they don't hunt more than twenty days per year. If someone views training as a pain in the ass, they won't want more than one dog and should probably pay someone else to train. It's tough to be a good trainer if it's not something you enjoy doing. I get pretty bored if I don't have a test coming up to train for. I guess I've never found walking out into the garage to feed dogs once or twice a day to qualify as work. Putting two bowls down isn't much more work than putting done one. Even with kennel cleaning, if I'm already out there with a scoop in my hand, it's not much more difficult to get two kennels than one.

Since some of us appear to be looked down upon for not getting our dogs in the field more often, I have to question if visiting a preserve qualifies as actual hunting. It's clearly better than letting a dog sit in a kennel, but I wouldn't be too quick to list shooting a certain number of pen-raised birds in my dogs' resumes. I can release a bunch of pen-raised chukar and turn my dogs loose on them, but they learn more in one hunt for wild birds than they do in a dozen canned hunts.

As far as the dogs getting along ok, mine seem to bond pretty tightly with each other; when I lost my last dog, the younger survivor moped around for months, and seemed pretty excited when the next pup arrived. My EP's might be easier on each other than some of the more aggressive German breeds. I'll usually hunt young dogs on their own to begin with - some of my hunts are all-day affairs where it's nice to be able to platoon them. After the first year I start running them together and it's worked out fine for me. I've been fortunate to have natural backers, which I'll admit makes things much easier.

I also keep hearing about "high-powered" dogs being so difficult to maintain. I suppose we all like to believe our dogs are something special. My last three have been out of all-age field trial dogs, not sure if that would make the "high-powered" cut or not, but if I take them out once or twice per week for mountain bike rides, hikes in the hills, or swimming in local ponds, in addition to hunting on most weekends in Oct/Nov/Dec, they seem pretty satisfied. I'm sure they'd love to be running the prairies for grouse or combing the cattails for pheasants more often, but all things considered, they lead pretty good lives.

Enough on this. I'm packing tonight to travel (with both dogs) to Winner, SD tomorrow for the pheasant opener. Our pheasant forecast is dismal this year but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we'll find a few roosters to shoot. Good luck to everyone hunting tomorrow!
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Re: Should I get a second dog?

Postby watermen » Fri Oct 20, 2017 10:25 pm

A second dog is your call. I'm thoroughly enjoying my new pup. I see evidence the older dog does as well. I've almost always had 2 through my career. The pup shows promise and we've pulled the trigger several times for her this year already. My enjoyment will go up and I'll stop hunting one dog when he should be put up, and hunt another.
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Re: Should I get a second dog?

Postby AverageGuy » Fri Oct 20, 2017 10:43 pm

I have not looked down on anyone. I expressed my opinion on the question/situation posed.

As to high powered dogs, most EPs I have been around are what I would call high powered. I like em. Had one myself and he was a good one. Hunted with 2 pro trainers' string of EPs last season on wild quail when the afternoon heat shut down my pup and my buddy's GSPs. It was a treat both times. Hard to beat an EP for search and style.

When I mentioned feeding what I had in mind is the OP likely feeds his dog in the house, not in a kennel. The puppy is likely to be fed a different dog food than the adult dog, in different quantities. It will immediately setup a need to separate and supervise them as they eat. I think you undervalue the effort because you house your dogs in separate kennels is my take.

Puppies need items to teeth on. My old dog had a bad habit of sneaking in, diving in and stealing my pup's chews. I policed it but there were occasions when I was distracted and he acted quicker than I could. The pup got a little older/bolder and suddenly we have a dog fight in the great room. Not insurmountable but something to be dealt with that comes with the territory of bringing a male puppy home to an adult male dog.

These things I mention are commonplace with dogs and it is productive to discuss in this thread. I could be just as offended as others seem to be at my having to defend my productive bent in bringing them up.

As to training I enjoy it also. Worked hard daily to prepare my pup this summer and he earned a Prize I UT at 18 months old. But I also like to fish, farm, bow hunt big game ... I greatly enjoy the period of years hunting my trained dog with less intense daily training efforts compared to when they are young.

Does not offend me if others are always craving the more intense work of hunt tests and puppies. But I think it is absolutely helpful to discuss those intense training labors in a thread that asks about getting a second dog, and I did.

I bring my dogs into the house a couple of times a day. They have all been pretty obnoxious if they did not get sufficient exercise on a daily basis. I have also had coonhounds, beagle, German Shepards, Airedale, Brittany. My GWPs have all been wired hotter than any of those breeds I have owned. So that is why I use the term High Powered Vdogs. It is not a term I use to label my dogs as better than someone else's. It is a trait of the breed and similar type breeds in my experience e.g. PP, GSPs.

I got my first GWP in 86. Many nights I would get home from work after dark and turn him loose while I did chores. He would immediately disappear in the dark and end up treed somewhere - coon, possum, bobcat, feral cat. The dog hunted every moment, everywhere he was turned loose. That is the kind of behavior I am speaking of. They are not casual dogs in my experience. The OP asked if he should get a second PP which I see as a highly similar breed, hence my term and remarks.

The last sentence in the OP is, "What else should I consider? Does anybody have any good or bad experiences like this to share?" My responses (and several others) assumed he really wanted the feedback he solicited and they are completely within the scope of the OP subject matter.

Tired of having to defend my views in this thread.

Good luck Hunting in the morning.
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Re: Should I get a second dog?

Postby hicntry » Sat Oct 21, 2017 11:10 am

I would guess the OP is just trying to get a conversation going hat is more interesting than "Handling". What a bore that one was. I would also guess the OP doesn't really care what the general consensus is one way or another. If he wants a second dog he will get one.
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Re: Should I get a second dog?

Postby Bruce Schwartz » Sat Oct 21, 2017 5:39 pm

hicntry wrote:I would guess the OP is just trying to get a conversation going hat is more interesting than "Handling". What a bore that one was. I would also guess the OP doesn't really care what the general consensus is one way or another. If he wants a second dog he will get one.


LOL Hicntry. I actually thought the "handling" thread was way too short and this one probably way too long.

My oldest griff died a few months ago and so I'm now down to two (but only one hunting), and I can't say what a joy it is to NOT be dealing with a younger dog pushing the limits all the time! Plus there's more room in my bed. The only downside is that my wife just put a deposit down on a new pup.
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Re: Should I get a second dog?

Postby Spindog » Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:03 pm

I like having 2 dogs. If one has an injury you can still run the other. Be a shame find yourself in October with no dog to hunt with.
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