A Second Dog Might Not Be Right

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November 28, 2011
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Sometimes having a dog can be tough and we see them get a little bored, seem sad, and get into things that they shouldn’t. There are only so many days a week we can make trips to the dog park. Doggie daycare can be a great answer to help them socialize, run around, and have fun while we are at work. Sometimes having a second dog can create a fun environment for everyone in the house and give your current dog a buddy. However, if there isn’t enough time to train, set boundaries, and correct any behavior that is inappropriate you could end up with two dogs that are bored, restless, and mischievous. Yes, your dog can have a friend but you’ll still be pressed for time to spend with them together and separately.

If you are considering a second dog, think about what energy level your house is and what type of dog would work well. Think about your current dog’s age, health, and energy level. A puppy can be fun for you but might not be fun for your older dog if he’s easily agitated by high energy dogs. Puppies can adapt quickly but can also cause your current dog a lot of upset and your house will need to be puppy proofed. An older dog may take a little longer to get used to your house but may mesh well with your current older dog. Whatever you do decide to do, a few meetings with the new dog can help make the transition easier than bringing one home and surprising your current dog.

Talk to you vet about what might work well, many recommend getting a dog of the opposite sex because it can cut down on the chances of fights. Your vet may also have some advice regarding age, breed mix, behavior traits, and characteristics that would work well in your home. Your vet may even know a rescue group or organization that has some dogs available that you could check out.

When you do find a dog that you believe could work well in your home, make sure the first introduction to your dog is done right. Introduce them on neutral territory on leash. Let them sniff each other, relax your hold on the leash and ask the other person to also relax. Dogs can feel tension in the leash. Let them growl a little if they seem unsure of each other. Then, take them on a walk. A good, well-paced walk, can change their thinking and put them in a pack mode where they are traveling. During the walk, see if they will walk together and not need you between them. Praise them during their whole introduction and be careful to not let the leashes become tangled in case you do need to tug them away from each other.

If the first meeting goes well, a second one can be arranged a few days later. This meeting may be in a dog park or enclosed fenced area where they are off leash. Request to have several meetings if your dog isn’t sure about the new dog and the new dog isn’t sure about yours.

Don’t be discouraged if your dog isn’t enthusiastic about the dog you chose. It may take a few visits with several dogs till your find the right one. Take your time. You want to make sure it’s a winning combination and that your dog will be ok sharing his home. Remember also to give each dog some alone time, one on one time, and give them their own food bowl, beds, and space.

If your dog is just not up for making friends with a new dog and would rather just be a loner, then, a second dog may make your house tougher. Respect your current dog. You don’t want your current dog to be so stressed and agitated that he withdraws or becomes aggressive towards the new dog. You don’t want to have to have two dogs living the same house but in separate rooms. It’ll cause a lot of problems for them and you and can be extremely stressful. Whatever you do, consider everyone in your house, your time, and what’s best for everyone including the new dog who might be part of your house. It is even harder to get a dog and then have to give it up than passing on adopting one.

Good Luck!

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