For me two is perfect and apparently three is a bit too much. Lucy was an only dog for ten years until we got Riley. We basically got Riley because my mom got his littermate Sam. My dad had passed the year earlier and she wanted some companionship in her home plus it made all us kids feel better to have a dog in the house with her alone. The two puppies did not live together but have spent a lot of time together over the years and have a close relationship. Sam is usually here about one week per month and at times we have had him for extended periods.
The two boys always did very well with Lucy and have a great relationship themselves. The only thing that I dislike is that the two are very competitive with each other and feed off each others energy levels. I love Sam but there are a lot of times that the two dogs together make me crazy. Sam lacked a bit when socialized as a pup plus he lacks a lot of self control as my mom has never worked extensively with him. I've worked a bit with him over the years and he has the basics but he should have more regular work and handling as he is very excitable. I find it very frustrating when he gets all hyped up because that causes Riley to switch to that same sort of brain state and the two of them together bring out the worst in each other. Riley doesn't have that reaction to any other dog. He is happy to play with Stella and was great buddies with Lucy but the "pack" (for lack of a better word) dynamic with Sam is different and something I watch closely on our walks to make sure the two of them never gang up on another dog. The flip side is that they also have so much darn fun together that it makes the other stuff worth while most of the time. I also find it interesting that when we add more dogs to the mix (family gatherings etc) that it actually relaxes all the dogs more so maybe the answer is more dogs not less :o).
When we said goodbye to Lucy I missed the dynamic of having two dogs in our home. We now have Stella and Riley has been amazing with her. Sam is a little less thrilled but is also doing very well with her. Sam did snark at Stella once and Riley stepped in to defend her. There was a wee bit of noise but no contact and we have not had any issues since. Sam is now much more comfortable with her and has even played a bit with her. Walking the three dogs together on leash is a bit of a gong show for the first five minutes until everyone settles but off leash everyone is very well mannered and attentive to my commands. I really am very glad when Sam visits but also very glad to see him go home. Three dogs with the level of energy that these ones have is just to much for our every day lifestyle. My hat is off to all of you who manage multiple dogs!
Here are some pictures of the lovely fall hike on nearby trails that we took yesterday.