What You Should Know Before Getting a Second Dog
If owning a dog is one of the most beautiful things there is, imagine owning two! I’m sure every dog-owner has thought of this at least once, and I bet you have too!
Picture this: Your birthday is coming up and you imagine this beautiful puppy with a bow on their neck making their way to you! But, wait a moment. Will this work out with your other doggie at home? How should you make the introductions? Is it even viable for you to own a second dog?
Before you dive into round two of pet-parenting, we want to give you a little heads up about what you will be getting into.
If you’ve already decided and you’re going to get a second doggie, we encourage you to still read this blog post, as you might find some useful information!
Think about why you’re getting a second dog in the first place
We’re not saying that you need a specific reason to get a second doggie, just to make sure you’re not getting one for the wrong reasons! Maybe your children or your partner want one, but if all you can think about is that you're not excited about doubling the amount of hair on your sofa, a second dog is not the solution — no matter how persuasive your family is!
Maybe getting a second dog may appear to be a simple way to help your dog, who might be suffering from separation anxiety or having a socialization problem. You have to be careful, as an anxious dog will sometimes transfer his anxiety to a companion dog, which is the exact opposite of what you want. First, you should address your dog's behavioral issues, and then decide whether or not to add a new Fluffy member to your pack.
Your Doggie’s opinion matters too!
We know you're excited about getting a second dog, but don’t forget you already have a Fluffy Friend at home who will also be affected by a new canine family member.
Is your dog comfortable in the company of other dogs, or does he prefer to be alone? How do his interactions with other dogs go? It's also a good idea to think about how well your dog handles change. He may be used to the way things are, and he may not appreciate having his routine or sleeping/eating area disrupted. When a new dog enters the picture, your current Fluffy family member will experience many changes and may feel displaced. He might dislike sharing his territory, toys, food, resting spots, or humans.
Is your current dog fully trained and bonded to you? It’s frequently more difficult for one person to train two young dogs at the same time.
Also, a relevant factor would be your dog’s age. Many breeders advise waiting until your first dog is at least one to two years old before adding a second to the family. If you have an elderly dog, he may be unable to play with or tolerate a puppy.
Take a realistic look at your current living situation
Examine your schedule carefully and be honest with yourself: how much time do you really have to train, love, and integrate a new dog into the mix?
A second dog won’t "free up your time." Sure, your current dog will have someone to play with, but that doesn't mean they'll stay out of your hair. You'll simply have twice the energy and twice the canine shenanigans. Another time-related question to consider is whether you have any major life events or significant changes coming up. We're talking about things like starting a new job with a new schedule, having a new baby, moving, or working on a project that will take up your time.Some questions you can ask yourself:
- Can your home accommodate a second dog, or is it already overcrowded?
- What about your garden?
- Is your bed already full, or can you squeeze in another cuddly pup?
- Will both dogs have enough room to run and play?
- Have you planned any vacations? (even if you intend to bring the dogs with you on vacation, it will be more difficult with two of them. Road trips can become crowded, especially when larger dogs take up a lot of space.)
Once you’ve figured out these aspects of you and your doggie’s life and decided it’s time to add a new Fluffy Friend to the family, you should also learn about what to do next.
Keep it neutral and reduce rivalry
When the time comes for you to pick up your new doggie, leave your current dog at home. To avoid territorial aggression, it’s important that you let the two dogs meet on neutral ground that is new for both of them. While you bring the new dog, have a friend or family member bring the current dog to a quiet park or green space. Take each dog for a short walk and meet at a predetermined location.
Let the dogs investigate one another. When two dogs meet, it is normal for them to circle and sniff each other. They may begin by sniffing rear ends before making eye contact. Maintain a positive introduction by speaking to the dogs in a pleasant tone of voice. Examine their body language and posture for signs of aggression, and intervene if necessary by redirecting the dogs' attention. If the dogs snarl or growl, do not scold them. This will only serve to suppress their emotions when you are present. The goal is for the dogs to establish a safe, equitable social hierarchy that will be harmonious even when you’re not present.
You can take the dogs home once they tolerate each other and interact positively. Remember that the two dogs will form a hierarchy by themselves, with the current dog serving as the alpha. When you get home, take your original dog inside first, while your helper walks the new dog on leash, allowing the resident dog to "invite" the new dog into his domain.
Minimize rivalry by giving each dog their own water and food bowls, as well as a bed. Water bowls should be left out all the time, but food bowls should be picked up after meals to avoid food aggression. Keep an eye on both dogs at all times, especially when they are together, until the adjustment period is over. Don't give the dogs any bones or chewing toys until they demonstrate that they get along.
Your dog will adjust in time, with the help of the humans in the house. Until then, make sure that each dog has time alone with you every day to bond.
Expect your older dog to occasionally correct the newcomer with a growl or snap, especially if it’s a puppy. Adult dogs teach puppies social skills in this manner.
Praise and reward your dog with a treat when he doesn’t move away, growl or snap when the newcomer comes or lies down next to him.
I believe we can all agree on one thing: you can't beat dog love. However, as you can see, you must remain responsible and conscious when introducing a new dog into your household. Line up your pros and cons and see who comes out on top. Maybe now is just the right time for dog number two! or perhaps it is better to wait a little before getting a second dog.
If you already have more than one Fluffy Friend, share with our Community how your experience was! Did you have any issues while getting all of them acquainted? What challenges did you encounter or are still facing?
We’re always excited to read you!
Until next time,
Your MrFluffyFriend Team
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Words from our author
Hey! I’m Stivi, thank you for joining our MrFluffyFriend Blog!
As a pet owner, I often found myself in a very frustrating situation: going to the internet and finding multiple unhelpful and redundant articles about the care and training of pets. My mission is to create a community blog where you can find all types of information, training tips and tricks, focusing on natural and organic ways of pet-owning and training. Understanding your pet is like understanding a whole new world - and I want us to discover it together!