Are you considering adding a dog to your current pack? Do you feel guilty for leaving your dog at home alone all day and think a little pal might be just the solution for him? I get asked all the time, “Do you think Rover would like a friend to play with while I’m gone all day?” “Would it be a good idea to get another dog to keep him company?”
I am a believer in multi-dog households as I live in one and always have. I actually have a multi-species household (dogs, cats and birds) and love it, BUT it takes an enormous amount of time, money and precious energy to keep it running smoothly. It also takes some natural leadership abilities when it comes to the dogs.
Would you say that your dog(s) is polite, well-trained and likes the company of other dogs? If your answer is yes, then Excellent and you can skip the rest of this section and go directly to the section below on getting a second (or third or fourth) dog. If your answer was…um..I think so… then keep reading.
There are many things to consider before running out to the local shelter or looking through the (scary) classifieds. That’s a whole other topic! Ask yourself a few things before making the jump to instant chaos and it will save you a lot of headaches, money and time.
- Is your dog well suited to live with another dog? Does your dog even like or tolerate other dogs outside of his or her home? Contrary to what some people think, adding a new dog to the pack won’t automatically help your dog get over his issues with other dogs. It will usually magnify those issues making the new pup the target of his or her displeasure. If your dog is good with other dogs in general and seems confident, calm and friendly, this may be a great move for your pack!
- Are you going through other life changes, such as moving into a new home, new baby or the loss of an older family pet? If so, this is NOT the time to bring in another dog. Dogs are very much affected by the energy of the home. You may already have enough stress and adding a new dog for you to deal with may add too much stress for both you and the new dog. WAIT until the most stressful time has passed before bringing in a new dog.
- Do you really like your dog and life exactly the way it is now? Then wait until you want things to change before adding another dog because things will change with another dog. It costs more money and time to have that additional furry friend. Your current dog will also change as the dynamics are changing in your pack’s order. Don’t get me wrong however! Adding a new dog can be great and positive as long as it’s done after much thought and preparation.
- Did you just walk past the Adoption Center window and see the cutest puppy in need of a home? STOP…really think….can you unconditionally offer that pup the next 15 years of your life? Once you answer that question, then go home and talk it over with your dog before making any decisions.
OK! Now you have decided that it’s the right time to get a second (or third or fourth) dog for the family, now what?
The best places to look for a new addition to your doggy family are your local animal shelters, Petfinder.com, and…yes, breeders. Breeders aren’t bad but there are too many unqualified breeders and too few that breed strictly to improve the breed. I almost always go through shelters and Petfinder.com to help people find their next life-long companion. Some people also have great connections by word-of- mouth to find just the right pup/dog. Ask around and research.
Things to consider:
- Try to get a dog that is approximately the same size as your current dog which will make for better play.
- Find a temperament and personality that complements, rather than competes with, your current dog’s personality.
- Does your current dog prefer to play with quiet female dogs but avoids the rowdy adolescent dogs? That’s an easy clue to what type to look for.
- A general rule of thumb is don’t put two dogs of the same sex together as a two-dog pack, however, if there is a third dog in the pack, it usually works okay. The important thing in this instance is each dog’s personality and temperament.
- When you do get the new dog, be sure to introduce both old and new dog in a neutral place with calm energy. (In other words, no running or screaming children allowed at this first meeting and do it away from your home).
Please keep in mind that these are general guidelines to use in the decision process of adding an additional dog to your household. If you need further assistance with the process, please call me to set up a consultation.
Training Department Supervisor
425-483-9333 ext. 101
Categories: intro, Maggie’s College of Dog Training Knowledge