I know I’m preaching to the choir here but isn’t living with a dog awesome.
Having a dog is a great experience that comes with some great benefits – both physical and mental. I think it’s safe to say that most of the time you absolutely love your dog and couldn’t even imagine life without him (excluding, of course, the time he ate your dinner off the kitchen counter and when he chewed up your easy chair).
So if life with a dog is so rewarding, why not double down on the awesomeness and bring home a second dog?
A great idea in theory
When you love dogs like we do, it seems almost natural to want to expand your pack and add another little fur ball to your family. Double the love, double the affection, double the snuggling, right?
Sounds like bliss, I know. The problem in this falls where dreams and reality collide – hard.
Adding a second dog is much more than twice the work and responsibility, and you should think long and hard before you make this very big decision.
First off, you need to honestly evaluate your time to see if your schedule and lifestyle is appropriate for the added responsibility. Adding a second dog will also subtract some of your valuable free time and you need to be certain that you’re okay with that.
Next you need to look into your reasons for wanting another dog in the first place. Too many people think getting another dog will fix the problems with their existing dog and that always ends badly. The only time to think about adding a new to dog to the mix is when your existing dog is doing great. No matter what kind of dog you bring home, it’s going to require some training and attention, which will mean less time to work with dog number one.
A dog is a very big commitment and one that should not be taken lightly. I think the decision to bring home a second dog requires much more thought and consideration than when you took the leap the first time. Now there are more variables to consider and lives that will be affected, so make sure you weigh all the facts of your situation and make a very calculated decision – not one based on an emotional response (no matter how cute that dog up for adoption is).
Going for it
If after all your deliberating (complete with pie charts and pros and cons lists) you feel that bringing home another dog makes sense, you need to make sure you bring the right dog home.
I’m going to throw my two cents at you but just know that these are rough guidelines and that the biggest factors will always be the individual personalities involved (both human and canine).
If you’re looking to bring another dog home you want to set yourself up to succeed. The biggest factor I like to consider is the energy level of the new dog. If you choose a new dog that has a much higher or lower energy level than your existing dog you may be asking for trouble. You want to make sure the two dogs will be comparable and will have an easy time adjusting to one another.
Just think as if you were looking for a companion for yourself. If you are a laid back homebody, I doubt you would do well with a super active companion who’s into extreme sports.
No, instead you’re going to look for someone who is more in line with your lifestyle. And you need to do the same with your new dog. Not only are you looking to see how he matches up with your personal energy level but also with your existing pooch.
I recommend finding a dog just under your existing dog’s energy level. I find that the best way to set your two new furry pals to get along great. It’s not to say the you can’t make two dogs with very different exercise needs work, there’s just has more of a possibility of having issues.
Another thing I might suggest is to pick the opposite sex of your present dog. Typically opposite sex dogs get along the easiest because they will not compete over status, unless they are presented with only one resource. So on paper, opposite sex dog usually get along the best. BUT I would consider the personalities of the individual dogs over all else. I know plenty of people how have 2, 3 or even 4 same sex dogs without issues.
I like to let the two dogs spend some time together on walks and in some off leash mingling time before you pull the trigger and bring the new guy home. You’ll get a decent idea on how they feel about each other (although it’s a much different ball game when you get home to your first dog’s territory).
First Day Home
Okay so you found the perfect dog and are ready to bring them home. Congrats! Now you want to start off the right way to set the stage for your happily ever after.
Have the dogs meet outside on neutral ground (off your property) and go for a nice long walk (if possible 30+ minutes). The walk is the best way to bond them and start them off in a nice non-confrontational way. Then walk them in together and take your existing dog off leash but leave the new guy on leash and walk him around your house, letting him take in the sights and sniffs of his new world.
After he’s had the tour, then you can settle in a room, letting both dogs off leash to interact – but closely monitor everything. Remember, you don’t know this new guy – and won’t know the real him for about 3 to weeks (which is the typical time it takes a dog to adjust and show his true behavior). So supervise everything initially and don’t leave the dogs unattended at first.
After you’ve observed them for a period of days (sometimes weeks, depending upon the dogs) then begin to give some more freedoms and loosen your supervision a bit. Don’t rush it, take your time and ease you new dog into your world.
As you can see going for dog number 2 is a big decision and one that requires a lot of thought, preparation and planning. However if you take the time and put in the effort you will see how really cool it is to expand your life from a single dog to a pack.
Share your experiences of bringing home another dog in the comments below.