Recently I have started taking Kai to ‘school’ (dog daycare). He is a very active 3 year old, who is occasionally socially awkward. I’ve found an awesome place that does everything at his pace and that I trust to let me know the second he is no longer enjoying it. He is thriving and really enjoying making all these new friends!
Recently I got asked ‘don’t you feel mean that Kai gets to go to school but Keira doesn’t!?’ This really made me think about how often people with two, or more, dogs get drawn into this illusion that everything has to be equal to be fair. Made to feel guilty for one dog getting special treatment. Thankfully you don’t need to because it really doesn’t work that way; let me explain.
Yes, Kai gets to go to school and have fun with all his buddies, but honestly Keira would hate it. She would sit by the door, ignoring everyone and everything, waiting for me to pick her up. She definitely doesn’t miss out though. The days we drop Kai at school we usually head off to the beach for an hour. Whilst there she can have me all to herself, meet new dog friends (and catch up with old ones), roll in the sand, paddle in the water. She loves it!
When it comes to your dogs you have to remember that they are all individual, with their own likes and dislikes. Kai loves swimming; Keira is highly worried that everyone’s going to drown. Keira loves city walks and having brunch at a café; Kai thinks that’s all terribly boring and buses are the devil.
Dogs who live together will usually love going out on adventures together, but don’t feel bad about taking your dogs out separately sometimes. Spending one on one time with you is a great way to work on their training and to build the relationship with you. Try giving the dog at home something to do while you’re out and they will have fun without you (you can find some enrichment ideas here).
Having dogs that are used to doing things individually every now and then will come in very helpful in the long run. It may be that one of your dogs hurts themselves and has to be rested for the week, but your other dog will still need exercising. Or it might be, as in my case, that you have one older dog (Keira is now 11) that doesn’t need or can’t handle as much vigorous exercise as the younger dog. Doing different things with your dogs individually really helps them to be flexible and adaptable in these situations.
Being fair to your dogs means that you give them everything in life that they personally need; not trying to give them equal amounts of everything.
Would you say you are fair with your dogs or are you making sure they get everything in equal measure?