Getting a Second Dog? Own Two Dogs Successfully.
Getting a second dog seems like a great idea. After all, two is better than one, right? They can play together and snuggle on the couch when you’re not home. Maybe your dog is lonely and getting a second dog will give him a friend.
There is nothing wrong with getting a second dog and it can be a very enjoyable addition to your family. However, before getting a second dog, make sure your first dog is ready. Behavior and health issues need to be completely taken care of before considering getting a second dog.
It is crucial that you are the primary influence in your dogs’ lives. They need clear communication to know what is expected of them to have a stable pack. If you have a dog with behavioral problems, first address those with the help of a professional, before getting a second dog. Otherwise your new dog will learn these unwanted behaviors and instead of having one dog that barks at the door, you will have two.
Dogs are pack animals. If you are not the clear leader, then they will figure out who is. This can lead to fights, even between dogs that get along. In order to avoid fighting here are some steps to take when getting a second dog.
- Crate both dogs next to each other so they can use their noses to learn about one another and get comfortable with the new energy in the home.
- Walk the dogs together. Meeting face to face is our world, not theirs. For dogs, migration is a natural way to interact.
- Feed and water separately. Feed in separate locations, ideally in their crates. Have at least two water bowls for them to drink from and have them drink one at a time to start. Food and water is a major resource and tensions can elevate when two dogs are face to face, especially while eating or drinking.
- Put away all resources. Do not leave out food, treats, bones or toys. These are all items that dogs may want to fight over. You may even be a resource to your first dog so keep an eye on their reaction when you give attention to the new dog.
- Spend one on one time with each dog. You want your new dog to bond and take behavioral cues from you, not from the other dog.
Most importantly, when getting a second dog, slow down, way down. Don’t be in a rush for them to do everything together or push them to “be friends”. Take your time during those first months to build confident and balanced dogs and you will be rewarded with peace of mind for years to come. If you are considering getting two puppies at the same time, check out our previous blog on raising litter mates.