Your dog is awesome! You couldn’t be any happier. Or would two dogs double the fun and love? There are some basic questions to ask yourself before adding that 2nd dog to your canine family.
Questions to Ask Yourself:
Do you have the space for a 2nd dog?
A second dog will need a place to sleep, room to play and space for food and water bowls. Is your current situation set up for that? Do you have plenty of room to run for 2 dogs.
Do you have the money?
Dogs are not a cheap pet. 2 dogs will double up your expenses. You will need money for vet visits, vaccinations, food, toys, gear, grooming and treats. Dogs require quite a bit of gear. Beds, crates, leashes and collars, just to name a few of the things you will need. Don’t forget about the costs to board your pet when you travel. It is not always easy to find someone who will watch two dogs, so consider this if you travel often.
Do you have the time?
All pets require your time. Dogs like walks and to play with you. You will spend twice as much time as one dog requires. You also need to consider picking up waste and general cleaning, there will be twice as much.
Does the personality of your first dog mesh well with getting a 2nd canine?
Do not get a 2nd dog if your first dog has some personality issues that you haven’t solved. If your dog does not get along well with other dogs and 2nd dog could turn your home into chaos.
Are you expecting any big life changes? A new job or a new baby?
Major life changes mess with your routine. Dogs like children love routine. If you are expecting some changes, wait until you’ve found a new normal before adding that second pup.
Picking The Right Second Dog:
Here are some tips to consider in picking the perfect 2nd dog:
- Wait until your current dog is fully trained before adding a 2nd dog. (At least one to two years old)
- Consider the age of your current dog. An older dog may not have the patience or energy to keep up with a young puppy.
- Consider the size of your home before getting a 2nd dog. If you are limited in space consider a small dog.
- You will be walking two dogs at once on occasion. Know your own strength. What size of dog can you handle if you are walking two dogs at the same time.
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Introducing Your Second Dog to The Family:
The American Kennel Club recommends the SUPER method for acclimating a 2nd dog into the family:
Be present and watchful whenever your two new dogs are together until they are fully adjusted.
Give your first dog lots of love and attention. They didn’t ask for this second dog.
Use crates and baby gates to give each dog some time apart. Spend time everyday with each dog on their own.
Your older dog may snarl or growl at the new puppy. This is normal. Warning: a dog with stiff posture, lip lifting or staring behavior may indicate aggression. Be aware and separate if necessary.
Reward good behavior. When they play nice and are kind to on another give treats freely. This will help facilitate a good relationship with one another.
For some people adding to their canine family is a no brainer. They accept the costs and the additional responsibility without a second thought. Take your time finding the new dog that fits in with your family, your current pooch, your space limitations and costs. The bigger the dog the more they eat, and the more that costs. Finding this second dog can be a wonderful adventure, just take your time don’t get in a hurry.
For others, two dogs is just one to many. If you fall into this second group and your children want an additional pet it may be time to look for a different animal to fill that pet need. Hamsters, fish or Guinea pigs are fun pets that require less care and have a shorter life span.