There are certainly some benefits to having two dogs in your home for you and your dog. However, there are also some factors that you may have to consider before adding a second dog to your household. Here, our Marina del Rey vets explain more.
Is It Better to Have One or Two Dogs?
By their nature, dogs are social animals and thrive in group environments. Because of this, there are several advantages to be found when adopting a second dog into your home including:
- You will have two adorable dogs to love
- Your older dog could help you train a new puppy
- They can keep each other company
- When the dogs have each other, it can help ease separation anxiety
- Both dogs will be able to entertain each other and get exercise together
While it may be a good idea to get a second dog to help keep your first dog company and enrich both of their lives, this may not be an easy process at first. Your first dog may not like having to share its environment and space (or toys!) with a new dog. Below, we will explain some factors that you should consider when getting a second dog as well as how you can help to make this process as smooth as possible for everyone.
The Consequences of Adding a Second Dog to Your home
Getting a second dog may make your first dog feel displaced, thrown off its rhythm, or uncertain. While most dogs will get along with a new canine sibling, they may not be happy about having to share their space, toy territory, or even your affection.
Because of this, it's important to prepare your dog and do your research when bringing home a second dog.
The Kind of Dog You Should Get
When getting another dog, it's important to determine which type of dog will be best for your current dog and your family's lifestyle. For this reason, you need to make sure you are doing more than just checking off a couple of mental boxes. You need to consider factors such as:
- Can your home fit a second dog?
- Can you afford to take care of a second dog?
- What size of dog will work best for you and your family?
- What are the exercise needs of your old dog and a new dog?
- Will you have time to play with and care for another dog?
- Will your current dog be able to interact with a puppy, or will an older more calm dog be best?
By considering these points, you should be able to find a dog that will be a perfect addition to your family or determine if you are ready for a second dog.
Ways to Help Your Old Dog and New Dog Get Along
If you have opted to get a second dog, there are some things you can do to help make the adjustment process easier for all pups involved to help your two dogs to get along and settle into their new lifestyle.
Talk to Your Family First
When deciding to bring home a new dog, you must take some time and figure out what will work best for everyone in your home including asking them about their thoughts on the subject, if a new dog will meet everyone's needs and whether your dog will appreciate it.
Your current dog's age, physical ability, and personality should all be taken into account when determining if you want to bring home a new pet.
Don't Take Your Current Dog With You
We don't recommend bringing your current dog with you when you are going to pick out your new furry companion. Your dog may distract you when you are trying to make your choice and the car ride could become very intense.
Introduce Your Dogs on Neutral Grounds
When it's time to introduce your two dogs, make sure to bring them somewhere neutral at first to mitigate the risk of nervousness or aggression. You could have a friend or family member bring your current dog to a quiet park or green space and can meet them there with your new dog. If you already have more than one dog, you may need some help to be able to control them all while on a leash.
Keep Your Dogs Under control
While keeping full control of the dogs, make sure you are holding them loose enough on their leash that they don't feel too hampered by it.
Let the Dogs Get to Know Each other
When meeting, it's normal for dogs to circle and sniff each other. Keep this meeting positive by talking to them in a pleasant tone. 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. You want them to build a fair social hierarchy that is safe, even when you aren't there.
Are your dogs ignoring each other? This is fine, don't force them to interact because they will get to know each other when they are ready.
Bring Your Pups Home
You can bring your dogs home when they start acting positively with each other.
It's important to remember that your home is your dog's home turf and so they may take a more assertive stance at first. For this reason, you should bring your current dog into the home first and have the person helping you walk your new dog on their leash. This allows your original dog to invite your new dog into their home too!
Limit Opportunites for Rivalry
Make sure each dog has their food dish, water bowl, and bed. After mealtimes, pick up the food bowls to reduce the risk of food aggression, however, you can leave the water bowls out.
Also remember to pick up your first dog's favorite toys and items, to limit conflict while the new relationship develops. Once you are certain the dogs are getting along, you may give them their favorite toys back.
Remember to Supervise Playtime
When you aren't home we highly recommend keeping both dogs separate from each other. 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.
You must 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.