A Second Dog Might Not Be Right

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!

Two dogs are better than one?

Does your dog love to meet other dogs on the street, or in the park? Does your dog cry sometimes if it sees another dog pass by? Your dog may benefit from having a friend in the house.

Before you get a second dog there are a few questions you need to think about:

1: Is your dog sociable with other dogs?

2: Are there any behavior problems that you dog has that you think another dog may help “cure?” It’s more likely the new dog may adopt the same behavior.

3: Are you trying to cut down on the time you spend with your dog and get him a buddy? The reality is, another dog, means more quality time with each dog and that means more time, not less dedicated to your pets.

4: Can you afford another dog? Food, vet, toys, grooming will double in price.

5: Are you ready to do some basic training and reinforce training with your current dog? A new dog needs to learn your routine, the vibe of the house, and may not know some basic commands. Your current dog may “unlearn” commands or learn new bad habits from the new dog.

6: Are you emotionally ready for a second dog? Your time will be spent with your dogs more than before. You may not be able to spend quality time with two dogs. It can become tiring and frustrating as the dogs adjust, and that can cause tension and stress.

7: Are you ready to handle the ups and downs? No one is perfect, not even a dog. There will be tough days and awesome days.

Once you have found a good match for your family there are some tips you can try to make sure the adjustment period goes smoothly. Expect some jealousy and do your best to spend quality time with your first dog as well as establishing a pack order. Feed your first dog first in the same bowls you have always used, make sure you have individual food bowls, beds, and always give treats to your first dog before the second dog.

Try to not force them to share toys or even physical space. Dogs tend to be territorial and let them work out what toys or bedding they will be ok sharing. Dogs are creatures of habit and will eventually welcome change but it takes time. There will be some small scuffles or growly matches. It won’t always be a big fight and judging when to step in can be hard to figure out. Dogs will establish a pecking order and will live with each other just takes time.

Here are five tips that can help with the transitional stages:

1: Buy a crate for the new dog. This allows your dogs time alone and away from each other. It will help reduce tension and allow your first dog to become familiar with the smells, body language, and vibe of the new dog.

2: When you introduce the new dog, do what you can to not favor it. It’s hard not to because it’s exciting and fun but take time to let your first dog know that he’s still special.

3: Take your first dog out for a walk alone for the first few weeks. This lets your dog know that you are still there for him and the routine has not changed. Make sure you interact and praise him when he does something good. Eventually take both dogs out for walks. This is also good individual time with both dogs and great exercise for you!

4: Your first dog deserves the respect he’s earned in the years he’s been in the house. Treats, food, and even tasks such as getting in the car, having a leash put on, and being called to “come” should be done in pack order. Keeping a pack order keeps dogs from being confused, stressed, and helps everyone understand their role in the house.

5: Reinforce commands and training with your first dog as well as train your new dog. This will help your new dog understand the routines as well. Dogs learn from each other as well as from you. You don’t want your new dog teaching your old dog bad habits.

Dogs are pack animals and view the world differently than we do. To them, an order of a leader and group is important. It helps them understand where they fall in line, what is expected of them, and who they should listen to. Sometimes adding a second dog can bring out personality traits in your first dog that you didn’t know existed. Some shy dogs may come out of their shell, some may become extremely playful, and others may just seem happier, and your whole house can become livelier.

If you add a second dog, make sure it’s a good match in terms of energy level, age, and size. Don’t be surprised if your dogs become bonded to each other. Don’t be surprised if they never become bonded with each other. Some dogs will just hang out with each other and for them, that’s enough.