Are you thinking about getting a second dog? Consider if your dog needs a companion, the pros and cons of having another dog, how to choose a new dog, and how to prepare both dogs for the change.
Signs Your Dog Needs a Companion
Is my dog lonely without another dog? This question implies two things—that the dog is lonely and that a companion can resolve the issue of its loneliness.
Being noisy, restless, clingy, and disinterested often signal loneliness. Signs that a dog is ready to have a companion include friendliness with other dogs, willingness to share objects and spaces with other dogs, and happy behaviors when with fellow canines.
Are dogs happier with a second dog? It will depend on the dogs involved. Some dogs crave company, while others like being the only pet around. Some are happy together, while others hate each other with a passion.
Pros And Cons Of Getting A Second Dog
Should I get a second dog to keep my dog company? Aside from considering whether your dog is lonely, consider the pros and cons of getting another dog.
The benefits of getting a second dog are numerous. It can help solve separation anxiety as they keep each other entertained, and it can make training easier because the old dog can teach the new one the house rules. Two dogs can guard a house better than one. And, of course, if you like having a dog, you’ll get twice the love and happiness.
However, bringing in a new dog could be challenging because they might not get along well at first. You will also have to spend more time, money, and effort caring for an additional dog.
When getting a second dog to keep the first company, consider the dog’s readiness and your family’s readiness. Evaluating the pros and cons helps.
With these considerations in mind, here are some tips for getting a second dog.
Before Getting a Dog
Decide where the new dog will eat, stay, and sleep. Placing each dog’s bowls, beds, and toys in separate areas or rooms would be ideal. Sharing spaces and beloved items with foreign dogs is an invitation to disaster since dogs would guard their resources against those that may steal them.
When food bowls are near each other, one dog may try to eat from the other bowl. This situation can lead to fights and eventually cause one dog to overeat and the other to be malnourished.
Sleeping puts dogs in a vulnerable position, so they will be wary of anyone or anything that is near their beds. Although you may want them to get along, having separate beds will allow them to rest peacefully and get a full night’s sleep.
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Buy each dog some toys, so they won’t have to fight over them. Consider putting them in secure containers and taking them out only when there is someone to watch over the dogs.
What To Know Before Getting A Second Dog
Research the new dog’s breed. What are the characteristics of a typical dog of that breed? Some breeds are more accepting of other dogs. Consider getting a breed that gets along easily with both humans and other pets. You can consult the American Kennel Club’s dog breed list for this.
Consider the dogs’ age, size, personality, energy level, and health condition. A big dog might scare a small dog; an overly friendly puppy might turn off an independent dog, and a high-energy dog might annoy a calm one.
Dogs of different breeds will have different reactions to a new dog. Research various dog breeds and ask those who have gotten 2nd family dogs about their experiences.
You must be aware of any special care requirements. For example, did you know that dogs with long ears are prone to ear infections? This knowledge will help you prepare adequately.
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When Getting The New Dog
Is it better for a dog to have a companion? The answer to this will depend on how healthy the companion is. Ensure that both dogs are up-to-date on their vaccines. Take both to the vet to check for parasites and illnesses.
Try not to bring your old dog with you when you get the new one. Or, if you have to be with both dogs, put them in different vehicles or dog cages.
Before going home:
- Take the dogs to a neutral place (neutral, meaning both of them are new to it), like an open park or a dog-friendly mall.
- Put them on leashes and make them interact with one another.
- Pull them apart when they start to get aggressive, and reward them when they make non-threatening approaches to each other.
How to Know If The Meeting Is Turning Fine Or Not
Signs that dogs are feeling comfortable with one another include smiling faces, soft gazes, ears loosely resting at the sides, bodies relaxed or bowed, and tails and bottoms wiggling.
Signs that the interaction is going sour are when heads turn away, jaws are tense, bodies are stiff or shaking, with fur standing on end, and tails are tucked under the legs. These are clues that the dogs are nervous or angry.
When you notice negative behaviors in one or both dogs, distract and separate them. On the other hand, reward positive interactions with attention and treats.
Avoid scolding or punishing the dogs when they are not on their best behavior. Negative attention still counts as attention, and they might do it again to make you notice them. Ignore unwanted behaviors and focus on desirable ones.
Do not force the dogs to play with each other—doing this will stir up their resentment. Instead, make them get along on their own time. Remember—getting a second dog is not a race but a marathon.
When is it time to bring them home? A sign that they’re both ready is when you notice them being calm and playful with each other.
How To Deal With Jealousy
When getting a second dog, jealousy is inevitable. The trick to preventing a dog from getting jealous because of a new one is to continue showing it affection. Dr. Jerry Klein, vet officer of the American Kennel Club, advises dog owners to focus their attention on the older dog first. Doing this means greeting, feeding, and leashing the old dog before the new one.
Is Getting A Second Dog A Good Idea?
In summary, getting a second dog is suitable for a family with a dog that is ready for another dog.
For dogs who aren’t prepared, there are some things you can do to make them more willing to accept a new companion. It may take some time, but they might get along well eventually. If not, consider hiring a dog trainer to speed up the process.
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