Part I: Should I Get Another Dog?Jun 18, 2022
Should You Get Another Dog for Your Dog?
If one dog is good, an entire pack is even better! Right?
Not so fast. Unless you’re plotting to reinvent yourself as an Alaskan musher, you probably don’t need a whole team. But adding a second dog to your family can be a smart move for you and your current pet.
A doggie duo isn’t always the best choice, but many pups function better with a buddy around. If you’ve been thinking it’s time to grow the fam, read on for five important questions you should ask yourself first.
Does Your Dog Even Like Other Dogs?
Pups are social creatures by nature, but they’re definitely not a monolith. Some dogs simply prefer to be solitary or spend all their quality time with their favorite human. That would be you.
Dogs that were raised with siblings or socialized from a very young age are much more inclined to play nicely with others. Consider how your dog acts at the dog park or any time it encounters other pups in public.
Do you have a social butterfly that loves to play, or is your dog more likely to hide with its tail between its legs?
All isn’t lost if you’re really jonesing for another dog, but your situation might require some extra time planning. Group training sessions can be a perfect setting to get your dog comfortable in the presence of others.
Have You Had Puppy Play Dates at Home?
Doggo playtime in neutral territory isn’t always the best indicator that your dog is ready to welcome a second dog into its home. Territorial disputes are common, so test the waters by inviting another dog mom over for a date.
It’s one thing to have casual outside friends. The script can flip completely when another dog wants to steal your dog’s toy or hog all the attention.
Of course, things are different when you know fido’s heading home, but this can help you suss out your dog’s tolerance. If the date goes smoothly, you’re on the right track to introducing a constant companion.
How Does Your Dog Feel After Play Dates?
Just as important as the actual date are the pesky fee-fees that come up later. Picture this: you’ve had the time of your life on a date, then they go ghost and don’t text the next day.
It’s kinda like that for your dog. They have no way of understanding where their friend disappeared to or whether they’ll ever see them again. Does your dog seem more listless and depressed than usual?
Or could they really not give a fuck? Just happy to get back to quality time with you? That doesn’t mean another dog isn’t a good option. But if they really seem to miss their buddy, all signs point to go.
That means it may be time to start searching.
Do Breed and Gender Matter?
Why, yes. Those details do matter. It may be tempting to head down to the shelter and pick out the dog that you’re most drawn to. But that cutie patootie with the puppy dog eyes may not be the best addition to your family.
Most vets recommend that you choose an opposite gender dog that’s within about 50% of the size range of your current pet. Similar size makes for safer playtime romps and gender? Well, opposites seem to attract, even in friendship.
Breed is a less important consideration, but common lineage often means similar temperaments and this is super important. High energy dogs can annoy laid-back breeds. It can also just make life easier if both dogs require the same level of physical activity.
You Found THE ONE - Now What?
Woohoo! You found the perfect match… but now shit is about to get real. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you integrate your new dog and go from couple to throuple:
Give Them Their Own Space
Keep your dogs somewhat separate for at least a few weeks so they can begin to feel each other out. Place their beds on opposite sides of the room. Maintain separate feeding stations. And make sure each has its own toys to avoid territorial spats.
Don’t Leave Them Alone Together
Your two dogs will be BFFs in no time, but until you’re sure, never leave your dogs together unsupervised. Crate them or keep them in separate rooms if you need to leave home. And watch for any low-key signs of aggression.
Establish the New Hierarchy
Your current dog may think it's naturally in a position of authority. After all, who got there first? But that pup would be wrong. There’s only room for one boss at home. That would be you. Maintaining your position as leader of the pack will help keep things copacetic in the long run.
Treat Both Dogs Equally
You’ve gotta spread the love between both dogs. It can be tempting to give more attention to the exciting newbie. It’s also easy to overcompensate so your first dog doesn’t feel excluded. But try your best to keep it balanced so both dogs understand there’s enough love to go around.
Be Patient With the Process
Above all - let things happen naturally. Introducing a new dog to your home is always a challenge, even if you’re an experienced dog mom. Understand that it won’t all be smooth sailing. But expanding your family is always worth it in the end.