Is it Time to Add a Second Dog?

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Is it Time to Add a Second Dog?

Is Adding A Second Dog Right For You?

You and your dog are settled in, you know what to expect and you’re enjoying the awesome relationship you have.  Puppyhood is over. You are finally done potty training and chew training, and all the extra work that comes with a young puppy.  Now is when many people start to think that their dog might be lonely during the day, or that it’s a good time to consider adding a second (or third) dog to the mix.  Is it the right fit for you to add a second dog?

First of all, there are plenty of benefits to adding a second dog; but there are also a few important considerations that often get overlooked:

  1. Your new dog is not going to be the same as your other dog. Your first dog may have been easy to potty train, a good sleeper, and very confident meeting people and dogs but maybe was a bit of a barker.  Your new dog will have their very own set of skills and challenges, even if they are the same breed or type.  You might not have had to work with a fearful puppy or dog before, but be careful not to raise them exactly the same or get frustrated when their differences are highlighted.  By embracing each as an individual, you will be both more effective and enjoy them more. I often hear “but Buddy never did that!” and I always explain that they may look the same, they may have some common behaviors, but at the end of the day, you have two different dogs with two potentially different sets of needs.
  2. Your new dog will need all of the attention your first dog did when you brought them home, but that doesn’t mean you necessarily have twice the time for twice the dogs. Each dog will need one-on-one time with you, outings with you on their own, and time to meet people and dogs without their housemate.  They will also likely need separate walks in the beginning if either is a puppy or has poor walking skills. The idyllic two dogs walking calmly down the street with their owner is the result of lots of repetitive hard work, or a mirage that you’re seeing as you fantasize about your future furry addition.
  3. Many dogs enjoy playing with other dogs; some dogs do not. You need to know the dog you have before thinking about adding another dog.  If your dog is not so interested in other dog friends, you may be doing them a disservice by bringing another dog home. Dogs often prefer other dogs with similar size and disposition. While many people have a smaller and larger dog combo in the same home, you can stack the deck in your favor by having similarly sized dogs with similar activity levels.  A chubby, sedate Bulldog may not appreciate a whip fast Lab puppy bouncing all over them when they are trying to doze.
  4. On the other side of the coin, your dog may love having a canine buddy, but if you do not want the responsibility or cost of another dog in sickness and in health, it’s probably not a good idea to get your buddy a buddy. If your dog is social and you fear they may be missing the company of other dogs, look into daycares or meet ups in your area and give them a chance to socialize without making a huge commitment or lifestyle change.  Remember two dogs is not necessarily twice the cost of one dog; it could be more or less depending on many factors and even a simple surprise health issue can cost a lot more than you might anticipate.  You would be adding a dog for everyone, so be sure to take everyone into consideration.

Adding a second dog to your home can be hugely gratifying. Whether you get a squirmy, cute puppy or an older rescue, a new dog is an unconditional, forever friend.  However, if you do choose to add a pet to your home, it is important to consider all sides of the situation and plan accordingly. If you do decide to add another dog, be sure to introduce them appropriately (which we will discuss in future posts!) so that you can get their relationship started on even terms.

Happy Training!

Tamar Paltin
Head Trainer- Perfect Pooch
BA, CPDT-KA, AKC CGC Evaluator