While there are many great reasons to add a second dog to your family there are also some things to consider first. Our Baton Rouge vets discuss why it could be better to have two dogs as well as some things to factor in if you do.
Are One or Two Dogs Better?
Dogs are known to be social animals and thrive in group environments. There are many possible advantages to adopting a second dog, such as:
- They can keep each other company
- Both dogs will be able to entertain each other and get exercise together
- Your older dog could help you train a new puppy
- When the dogs have each other, it can help ease separation anxiety
- You will have two dogs to love instead of one
While it may be beneficial to have a second dog there are some things that you will need to factor into the change such as your first dig not wanting to share their home or toys. Below, we discuss some factors you need to consider when getting a second dog and how you can make the process as smooth as possible for everyone.
Things to consider when getting a second dog
Getting a second dog might make your first dog feel uncertain about many things. While this is not always the case and your first dog and the new dog may get along great from the start, there is a chance that your first dog may not be happy having to share their toys, space, territory, or even their owner's affection. It is important to do your research and think about all the possibilities before deciding to bring home a new dog.
What kind of dog should I get?
There are so many things to consider when it comes to bringing home a new dog such as the breed you always have and the lifestyle of your family. It is a big decision that requires a lot of thought. You need to consider factors such as:
- What size of dog will work best for you and your family?
- Can your home fit a second dog?
- Will you have time to play with and care for another dog?
- What are the exercise needs of your old dog and new dog?
- Can you afford to take care of a second dog?
- Will your current dog be able to interact with a puppy, or will an older more calm dog be best?
Thinking about these things will help you to choose the dog that is best for you and your family.
How to make adding a second dog a success
Once you decide to make that leap there are things you can do in order to help make the transition a success.
Discuss your thoughts with your family
The best first step is to discuss the idea with all of those in your household. This will help to ensure that everyone's needs are considered. You will always want to factor in your current dog's age, physical ability, and personality when making the decision to add a second dog.
Leave your current dog at home
It is recommended to leave your current dog at home when you go to pick up your new dog. Your dog could cause distractions both while picking up the new dog and on the drive home making the experience more difficult than it needs to be.
Introduce the dogs somewhere other than home
It is a good idea to use a neutral location to introduce the dogs as your dog may be territorial at home in the beginning. You could have a friend or family member bring your current pooch to a quiet park or green space, and you can meet them there with your new pup. If you already have more than one dog you will need some more help or be able to control them all on a leash.
Have control of both dogs
It is important to have good control of both dogs while they meet each other. Do not restrict their movement but ensure you have control in case a situation arises.
Allow the dogs to meet
The first thing the dogs will probably want to do is to sniff each other. Ensure that while this is happening that you are talking to the dogs in a relaxed tone of voice. Watch them for signs of aggression and intervene when you have to, by redirecting their attention. If the dogs start to growl or snarl, do your best not to scold because this will just teach them to suppress their emotions when you are near. The goal is for you to work with them to ensure that things remain neutral at home even when you aren't there to supervise.
If your dogs are ignoring each other don't worry, they will get to know each other when they are ready.
Bringing them both home
Once your dogs have accepted each other then it is time to bring them home.
There will naturally be a hierarchy and your current dog will almost always be the alpha. Because of this, it is recommended that you should bring your current dog into the home first and have the person helping you walk your new dog on their leash. This will allow your current dog to welcome the new dog without feeling like they are losing their territory.
Ways to help them get along
In order to help curb any disagreements, it is recommended to have a set of each needed item for each dog, such as dishes, beds and toys. After mealtimes, pick up the food bowls to reduce the risk of food aggression, however, you can leave the water bowls out.
For the first little while, it is a good idea to put away any of your original dog's favorite things until the dogs have gotten to know each other and are getting along well.
Continue to supervise them
In the beginning, it is a good idea to ensure that the dogs are separated when you aren't home in order to limit the possibly of disagreements when you aren't there to control the situation. When it comes time for them to play together you need to watch them closely. Don't forget to offer them lots of praise when they interact nicely with one another.
It's imperative that you find time to spend quality one-on-one time with each dog every day so you can cement the personal bond you have with them
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.