What I learned this weekend about having two dogs

Hello! Happy Monday!

So the highlight of my weekend was having a chance to dog-sit for a couple of friends for a night. Sharky is pretty much Osa’s equal in every way. Same size. About the same level of energy. Both black dogs who love to play. I was looking forward to seeing what life with two dogs might look like, having grown up with 2+ dogs at any given time (not to mention cats, chickens, fish, birds, rabbits, etc.)

So first things first, here’s the cute stuff:


Both dogs love cheese. But not as much as me, so I didn’t feel like sharing.


It was hard to get a picture of them both sitting outside, because they were generally a big blur of chasing and wrestling this weekend.


When it’s time for dinner, dogs go on one side of the gate, and humans with pizza go on the other.


…that is, until the doggies need a break from bugging each other. Then they both are in time out.


Osa wasn’t too happy when I took Sharky inside and left her. This is her way of letting me know. Subtle, right?

So here’s my insight from the weekend:

This weekend, I realized something. Two dogs don’t behave like two separate minds. They behave like one dog with a lot of momentum.

Let me explain. Let’s say I call to Osa, and she has two choices. Either she comes, or she doesn’t. Being pretty generous to my training of her, we’ll say there’s a fifty-fifty chance that she obeys. Given this, you’d think that with two dogs, you’d have two cases of this: each dog has a certain likelihood of obeying, given their disposition, right?

Nope. See, with two dogs, they enter this kind of pack mentality. If you give them both a command, they BOTH have to want to obey it to have it happen. If one or both of them doesn’t want to obey the command, neither of them will. That takes a fifty-fifty likelihood down to this:

Osa and Sharky punnet square opposite-01

…about one in four. (and yes, the middle school science nerd in me revels in using a punnet square to explain this idea.)

Now, let’s say, as a hypothetical, that my dog isn’t that well trained. Hypothetically. Let’s say that in reality, it’s more likely a one in three chance that she’ll actually do what I say. Sharky’s a much more solid guy. This would be a better illustration of my weekend:

Osa and Sharky punnet square where osa is a stinky-01

So that’s my big lesson I learned. The collective mind is more powerful than the individual will. Just like the Borg. Or wolf packs. Or hey! Middle school kids. That kind of came full circle.

And today? Osa is missing her friend, and still dead tired from her weekend of fun: