Golden Retrievers are probably the most loyal, intelligent, affectionate dogs you could own — no wonder they’re among the most common breeds in the US. If you already have a Golden, how about doubling the fun by getting another one? Are Golden Retrievers better in pairs?
Yes, Golden Retrievers will do better in pairs. Due to their social nature, they will have each other for constant companionship throughout the day and anytime you are away or busy. On the downside, taking care of two Golden Retriever dogs will double your chores and expenses.
That was the short answer, but we’ve got way more to share on this topic. First, we’ll discuss all the benefits and drawbacks of having two Golden Retrievers in your household. Then I’ll tell you how you should introduce the new dog to the house to minimize the chances of aggressive reactions.
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Benefits of Having Two Golden Retrievers
They’ll Keep Each Other Exercised
If you already have a Golden Retriever, then you know just how much exercise and activity they need to be healthy and happy. You’ll also be aware of how much time and attention your Golden requires from you. What if you can add another Golden Retriever dog to the household mix, and they could use some of their abundant energy wearing each other out instead? That’s a win in my book!
As you may already know, the purebred Golden Retriever was initially bred in Scotland around the 1850s when breeders wanted a powerful hunting dog who could retrieve game from both land and water while running through the countryside all day long. Because of this, Golden Retrievers were bred to have abundant levels of energy.
Today, the vast majority of Goldens don’t partake in any hunting adventures, but they still have tons of energy that needs to be spent somewhere. The rule of thumb with a Golden Retriever is you should take your pup for a 30-minute walk at least 2 times per day (more is better) to keep him healthy and entertained.
However, let’s not kid ourselves here — if you have a 9-to-5 job, you’ll probably be too tired for these long daily dog walks. That’s where a second Golden will come in handy. Between wrestling and chasing each other around the house, two Golden Retrievers will easily get their allotted exercise time each and every day.
Note: While a second dog of the same breed is great, a Golden Retriever will be just as happy with a different breed of doggy companion. For the best level of exercise, however, another Golden or a breed with similar energy levels (ie. Labrador Retriever) would be best.
It Is an Opportunity To Teach Patience
If you currently have one dog, you probably spoil him beyond limits. Why is this wrong? Well, as your dog grows older, it’ll be more and more challenging to train him. He’ll keep jumping all over you to taste your lunch, bark nonstop to get more treats, and even wake you up in the middle of the night if he can’t sleep.
Having two dogs can be an excellent way to deal with spoiled behavior. Indeed, your dog may get a little jealous at first as he realizes that he’s not at the center of your attention anymore. But eventually, he’ll learn that he must wait for his turn to get treats.
When you go for walks, your dog will also learn to curb his urge to move around each time the other dog stops for a potty break.
It Satisfies the Pack Instincts
Regardless of the breed, all dogs want to live in a pack. They want to have an alpha leader to look up to, promoting their sense of overall security.
Sometimes, your dog might perceive you as the pack leader, but again, you probably don’t have enough time to perform this role 24/7. Getting a companion dog is the most convenient way to create a consistent pack while you’re away at work. It will also alleviate any separation anxiety that is common among Golden Retrievers.
It Grants Your Senior Dog a New Sense of Purpose
Like most large breed dogs, senior Golden Retrievers have a high risk of developing hip dysplasia, a destructive bone disease that limits their activity level. Even if they don’t develop that condition, an older dog will gradually slow down and prefer lounging at home over going out for walks.
Getting a younger Golden Retriever can be the best way to rejuvenate your senior dog without demanding excessive physical activity. The older dog will teach the new member all the house rules, including where to do his business, how to react politely to visitors, how to play with kids without hurting them, and so forth.
This really works! I have felt a bit guilty in the past bringing home a new dog with a senior dog already in the house, but both times I’ve done it, it has really perked up my older dog. Not only did it give them a sense of purpose it seemed to make them feel more relaxed when we were away from home knowing they had a buddy in the house still.
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Downsides of Having Two Golden Retrievers
It Costs More Money
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that raising two larger dogs like Golden Retrievers can take a toll on your budget. You’ll have to factor in food, toys, vet appointments, shampoos, leashes, medications, and so on.
As a multiple dog owner, you’ll also have to keep in mind that Goldens are prone to a wide range of health issues, some of which may need expensive treatment. If they should each need veterinary treatment at the same time, it can really add up fast!
There’s no doubt that having two Golden Retrievers will cost more. If you thought one Golden could eat through a expensive 40lb bag of kibble quickly, just wait untill you see two in action!
It Doubles the Chores
Although getting two Goldens will dial down your exercise responsibilities, you’ll have to spend more time doing other dog chores.
Consider grooming, for instance. Since Goldens have long, wavy coats, you should brush them at least once per week. Doing it less frequently will make your dog’s coat more prone to matting, which can be super painful and unsightly.
Because Golden Retrievers have floppy ears, they may also develop nasty infections without regular ear cleaning.
And let’s not forget the amount of poop you’ll have to pick up in the yard. If you let that go for a day or two your backyard will look like poopageddon!
You May Not Have Enough Space
If you already have a Golden, you probably know that they can grow taller than 25 inches (63 cm) and heavier than 60 pounds (27 kgs).
If you’re living in a small apartment, you may not have enough space for another Golden Retriever. Being the affectionate dogs that they are, they’ll always follow you around the house, and it’ll ultimately get under your skin when they keep getting in the way.
In that case, you could still reap the benefits of getting a second dog by opting for a smaller breed, such as a Pug, Basset Hound, Boston Terrier, or even a Miniature Goldendoodle.
How To Introduce a New Golden Retriever to the House
If you think the benefits of having a second Golden Retriever will outweigh the drawbacks, go for it! Check out the following tips to ensure that your dogs get along well, especially when first introduced.
Pick Neutral Ground For Introductions
No matter how friendly your Golden Retriever is, his territorial instincts could kick in if a new dog invades his personal space all of a sudden.
If possible, have your dogs meet in a dog park or a friend’s house (a friend who doesn’t have dogs, of course).
Encourage them to sniff and play together, but keep an eye out for the following signs of aggression so that you can intervene right away if necessary:
- Long stares
- Raised fur
Remove Your Resident Dog’s Possessions
When introducing your new dog to your home for the first time, make sure to hide all toys, beds, and even the dog food bowls that belong to your resident dog. Why? Well, if the new dog tries to get anywhere near this stuff, this can trigger your current dog, depending on their temperament, to attack in defense and jealousy.
You can return these possessions to your dog after making sure they’re 100% comfortable around each other, which could take up to a week.
Keep Them Separated When You’re Not Around
Even though the whole point of getting two Goldens is to keep them occupied when you’re not around, it might be too risky at first (especially in the case of a Golden Retriever puppy). You could install a suitable pet gate to keep each Golden Retriever in a separate part of the house while allowing for limited sniffing and eye contact.
If you don’t trust the new dog enough to let him roam freely around the house, put him in a playpen, like the AmazonBasics Foldable Metal Pet Dog Exercise Fence Pen. You should consider placing your first dog in another playpen so you don’t spark jealousy or destructive dominance.
Although Golden Retrievers are generally very social, that may not necessarily be true in your case (unlikely but possible). If either of your Golden Retrievers weren’t well socialized when they were puppies, chances are they might be too nervous around other dogs. In that case, getting a second Golden won’t be a good idea.
If you’re unsure whether your dog enjoys company or not, take him to the nearest dog park or shelter. Signs like tucking the tail between their legs and refusing to make eye contact with another dog will indicate that he doesn’t like being around unfamiliar dogs.
Those issues aside, chances are that your Golden Retriever would love nothing more than to have another Golden around the house. Golden Retrievers almost always do well together in pairs, and if you’re willing to accept some additional effort and expense on your part, it’s likely your two Goldens will become fast friends!