I tend to have a knack for having sometimes unpopular opinions (like this) and today’s topic will be no different. In fact, it’s something I’ve been debating even bringing up here on the blog for a good 9 months or so now. A comment from a fellow fosterer who was sharing their story pushed me over the edge and I’m going to do it. I’m going to talk about why I believe two female dogs in the same household is a bad idea.
There, I said it. But before anyone thinks I’m just being a kook, or overly dramatic due to recent and past events, hear me out! Just shy of two years ago I spent a week volunteering at Villalobos Rescue Center (you might better recognize them from the tv show “Pit Bulls and Parolees”.) To say it was an eye-opening experience would be the understatement of the century. While there, one thing I heard Tia say more than once was that she refused to allow a female dog to be adopted into a home that already had a female dog. “Uh, what? Why in the world could that be?!” This was the first I had ever heard of anything like that. Even though I completely respected her and thought everything else she said made loads of sense, I just thought she was totally off-base about this and didn’t agree at all. “Everyone knows male dogs are more likely to be aggressive!” Fast forward to today.
Since my time at VRC I have become even more involved in rescue and made many new dog loving friends. I’ve also started reading countless blogs about everything from behavior and training, to other rescues blogs, to just blogs about dogs in general. In short, I’ve educated myself a lot in the field of dogs. And I’ve sadly started hearing the horror stories about girl on girl fights. In fact, literally every instance I have heard of by my multiple-dog-owning friends, has been between two females. Every. Single. One. And obviously I have now gone through the same thing myself. Could this just be an eery and unfortunate fluke? Maybe. Do I think it’s more likely that there is actual validity behind Tia’s policy to not allow two female households? Absolutely.
As I’ve stated before, I do believe that the more dogs you own, the more potential for personality conflicts there is. But I also think that there is just something in the dynamics of females that makes them more likely to squabble with each other. Obviously if anyone owns more than one dog, be them male and male, male and female, or female and female, said individual needs to make sure they are on top of managing their household. Triggers like high value toys and treats should not be lying around. Dogs should be safely crated when unsupervised. Body language should be constantly monitored. Regular training and exercise are mandatory. I thoroughly believe that by taking these steps you significantly decrease the chances of a fight breaking out without warning. But in my personal experience/research of this topic, it seems that that isn’t always enough when it comes to multiple females. There seems to be a trend of unprovoked snapping, even in most well-trained, well-managed, and loving of households.
As I’m writing this, as is frequently the case in my house, my two girls are snuggling up to each other and occasionally lifting their heads to give one and other a little lick on the face. It’s truly hard to believe, even after three fights between them, that it could ever happen again. They so clearly adore each other! But that doesn’t stop me from literally never even walking into another room that would take them out of my direct eyesight. Even when I go to the restroom I ask one of them to join me.
So whats the point in me sharing this opinion of mine with everyone? It’s my blog and I can! Okay, I’m kidding…kind of. I have come to firmly believe that raising awareness is one of the best things I can do with this space. I’m willing to bet there are more than one of you that have never even heard of this theory before, as was the case for me just two years ago. The last thing I want to do is offend anyone. Three of my favorite friends: Kym, Stephanie S., and Valerie all have two females in their home. I already know Stephanie thinks this is a silly theory, as she stated here, and that’s fine! I’ve decided I’d rather share my unpopular opinion in case it opens just one persons eyes and they might take extra care in preventing a fight, no matter how unlikely they think it is to occur (just like I thought I would never in a bajillion years experience it myself.) Do I think that two females automatically means a fight will happen? Of course not! But I do think it increases the chances. And that is why I am talking about it. Again, I truly hope that I have not offended anyone with this post. I am simply hoping to prevent some of the heartache that I (and many of my friends) have experienced. Take a minute and take stock of your home if you share it with two female dogs, no matter how perfect they are with each other. Are there any triggers you may not have considered before? Do you crate at least one of them while you are away? Just do me a favor and spend a few minutes ensuring you are doing everything to prevent an accident from happening. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, friends!