You might find having two dogs in your home offers several advantages for both you and your pooch! However, it's essential to consider certain factors before bringing a second dog home. Our Brodheadsville vets provide further insight in this post. 

Are Two Dogs Better Than One? 

Dogs are pack animals by nature and thrive in social, group environments. Therefore, adopting a second dog can offer many advantages, such as:

  • Both dogs will be able to entertain each other and exercise together 
  • Your dogs can keep each other company 
  • Since dogs will have each other to interact with, this may help ease separation anxiety 
  • Your older dog could help you train a new puppy 

Think about adding a second dog to provide companionship for your first dog. However, you should be aware that this may not be a seamless transition initially. Your first dog may not be eager to share their space or toys. Below, we'll explore key factors to consider when introducing a second dog and strategies that can help you foster a harmonious transition for all involved.

The Consequences of Adding a Second Dog to Your Home 

If you add a second dog to your household, the first dog may feel displaced and insecure. While most dogs will build positive relationships with their new sibling, your first dog may not having to divide their territory, toys, or even your attention with their new brother or sister. Therefore, it's important to prepare well and conduct thorough research before welcoming a second dog into your home. 

Which Kind of Dog Should You Get?

When searching for another pup, it's important to determine which type of dog will be best for your current dog and your family's lifestyle. This is why you need to do more than just check off a couple of mental boxes. When thinking about having one versus two dogs in your home, you'll need to consider the following factors:

  • Can your home accommodate a second dog?
  • Will you have time to play with and care for another dog?
  • Can you afford to care for a second dog?
  • What size of dog will work best for you and your family?
  • What exercise needs to your old dog and new dog have?
  • Will your current dog be comfortable interacting with a puppy, or will an older, calmer dog be best?

By taking these points into account, you should be able to determine whether you are ready for a second dog, or find a dog that will make the perfect addition to your family. 

Ways to Help Your Old Dog & New Dog Get Along 

If you've decided it's time to add a second dog to your household, here are some steps you can take to streamline the process and encourage a smooth introduction between your two dogs. 

Speak to Your Family First 

Deciding to bring a new dog into your home should be a thoughtful process that involves consulting everyone in your household about their thoughts on the matter and ensuring that it aligns with the needs of all, including your current dog. Consider your current dog's age, physical capabilities, and personality when deciding whether to welcome a new pet.

Don't Take Your Current Dog With You to Pick Out Your New Dog

We don't recommend bringing your current dog with you when you are going to pick out your new furry companion. Your dog may distract you when you are trying to make your choice, and the car ride could become very intense.

Introduce Your Dogs on Neutral Grounds

When it's time for your two dogs to meet, take them to a neutral location to reduce the chances of territorial aggression. You can ask a friend or family member to bring your current dog to a calm park or open area, and you can join them with your new pup. If you already have multiple dogs, you may require additional assistance or need to keep them all on leashes.

Keep Your Dogs Under Control

Ensure you maintain complete control of the dogs while holding their leash loosely enough to avoid making them feel restricted.

Let the Dogs Get to Know Each Other

Dogs typically circle and sniff each other when they meet. To maintain a positive encounter, use a pleasant tone when communicating with them. Keep an eye out for signs of aggression, and step in as needed by redirecting their attention.

If the dogs begin to growl or snarl, avoid scolding them, as this may lead them to suppress their emotions when you're around. The goal is for them to establish a safe and equitable social hierarchy, even in your absence.

If your dogs are ignoring each other, that's perfectly fine. Don't compel them to interact, as they will get to know each other at their own pace.

Bring Your Pups Home

You can bring your dogs home when they start acting positively with each other. Keep in mind that the two dogs will form a hierarchy, where your first dog will typically take the position of alpha. For this reason, you should bring your current dog into the home first and have the person helping you walk your new dog on their leash. This allows your original dog to invite your new pup into their domain.

Limit Opportunites for Rivalry

Make sure each dog has their own food dish, water bowl, and bed. After mealtimes, pick up the food bowls to reduce the risk of food aggression. However, you can leave the water bowls out. 

Also, remember to pick up your first dog's favorite toys and items to limit conflict while the new relationship develops. Once you are certain the dogs are getting along, you may give them their favorite toys back. 

Remember to Supervise Playtime

We strongly suggest keeping both dogs apart when you're not at home. When it's time for them to play together, make sure to supervise them closely. Remember to praise them when they interact nicely with each other.

Dedicating daily quality one-on-one time to each dog to strengthen your bond with them is essential.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. Please make an appointment with your vet to accurately diagnose your pet's condition. 

Are you thinking of adopting a second dog? Contact us at Brodheadsville Veterinary Clinic today if you have further questions.