How many dogs is still OK for me?
Updated: Feb 5
It is great to see several beautiful schnauzers together, e.g. three or four (or more), walking with one person and the dogs obey him, follow him, and love him (as he is their only one). It's tempting to lie down at home on the couch, surrounded by several dogs, who are all contentedly napping or watching their master with their lovely eyes under their thick, long eyebrows. It’s a bit of an idyllic picture - an impression that certainly doesn’t quite hold up. Responsible life with dogs is much, much more. It is demanding, sometimes very hard, and expensive, but even so, I'm constantly thinking about where the border is, are two dogs enough or is it high time for me to get another (third) one ...
We once had three dogs at a time. Considering our lifestyles, and especially that I was still very professionally active at the time, we drove well (old female, grown-up male and one crazy puppy at the time and there was over 13 years in between the oldest and the youngest). Friends often made fun of our situation, but we were happy and pleased with it, though I must admit that it was often quite tiring.
How come we landed with three dogs? We just didn't know how to be without one. The first female was often sick, and we were afraid to stay without her, so we found another one. It was a great decision. With the playful and fearless puppy, she became livelier and physically stronger, as she was constantly dragged to activities, and yet, despite a very difficult start she accepted him and loved his constant company immensely. When she passed 13 and the other schnauzer was 5, we were given a very precious chance for a new puppy and ended with 3 dogs at a time. In fact, I brought the last one with the intention that my husband who had just retired would be intensively occupied. Due to the nature of his work, my husband did not have any special or serious hobbies and the transition from " a totally active life to doing nothing" can be stressful and dangerous. So, it turned out that this third schnauzer was a good move too. My husband happily took the situation and did a great job of raising and training his dog as well as enhancing the physical activity of all three, which was good for him also.
Now we have two dogs. Both are top trained, both are top show dogs, both are the most loving pets. These two are the product of my desires and ambitions. These two dogs have literally turned my life upside down. In a good meaning. I became extremely demanding about raising, training, grooming, showing, etc. These two dogs govern our schedules and lifes. Most of my activities are tied to them and to different activities in our kennel breed club and other kennel organizations. My husband and my family are supporting me and helping me all the time because I would not be able to do all these things without them.
My schnauzers have a very important status in my family, even though they know that they are in the last place among all the members (they respect that and enable our living with them to be a single joy). They make us all really very proud of them. They have enabled us a lot (getting to know other people with a similar way of thinking and similar lifestyles, lots of traveling, the joy of winning, the stomach-ache of defeating, etc.). All that should be enough to a “normal person” but, even so, the idea of taking the third dog has been constantly present in my mind for a year or so. I would like a good dog that I could also show (dog shows are my passion, but my two schnauzers have finished almost everything we were seeking). I also do not intend to breed so a female is not an option. Given the age of my two schnauzers (4.5 and 7), now would be a perfect time - and maybe the last for me. The years are running away for me, too, and I want to reach out to a possible new boy with the same energy that the current two have received. What does that mean? In addition to normal socialization and at least 3 years of intensive training, there are also activities at home and in the show ring. A lot of time and energy …. That's why I'm still in a "thinking faze". But as I am known for my quick decisions I will soon know.