How To Choose a Second Dog

Picture of dog

If you already have one dog, you might want to consider adding a second dog to your family. If this is the case, you should be aware there are some special considerations when adopting a second dog. You may be considering adding another dog to the family to keep your first dog company or simply to have another pet to love. In either case, you should take care to ensure your second dog will be a good fit for your family, including your current dog.

Whether you plan to purchase or adopt your second dog, the following steps will help to make the process simpler:

  1. Carefully consider your reasons for adding a second dog to the home. A second dog can be a wonderful companion for your original dog but it is unrealistic to expect the two dogs to keep each other entertained. They may enjoy playing together but if you are firmly established as the alpha, they will both still seek out your attention and require a great deal of your time and energy.
  2. It is also important to consider the additional expense of a second dog. The budget for food, toys, treats and medical expenses will all increase with the addition of a second dog.
  3. It is important to fully train your first dog before adopting a second. Trying to train two dogs at once can be quite difficult. However, if your first dog is already trained, he can be helpful in the training of the second dog as the new dog may learn by the examples set by your first dog.
  4. The sex of your second dog is very important. If you already have a male, adding a female to the family will be easiest. Likewise if you have a female, adding a male is a good idea. It is also a good idea to ensure your current dog is spayed or neutered and to adopt or purchase a second dog that is already spayed or neutered. Dogs of the same sex are likely to fight often and problems can be exacerbated if the dogs are intact.
  5. The age of your second dog should also be considered. A younger dog is always a good choice. Dogs of approximately the same age are more likely to fight while adding an older second dog may also result in complications. However, it is also important to consider your dog's temperament. If your resident dog is not tolerant of puppy behaviors and exuberance, it is worthwhile to add a dog that is out of the puppy stage to the family.
  6. Selecting a comparable breed is also important. For example an energetic dog such as a Border Collie should not be added to the family unless the resident dog is also energetic and the family members are willing to spend adequate time exercising the dogs.
  7. Before adding a second dog to your home, it is important to introduce the new dog to your resident dog in a neutral location. This will prevent territorial fighting.
  8. When introducing the dogs in the home, do so carefully on leash at first. Then kennel your resident dog and allow your new dog to explore the house. Next, kennel the new dog and allow the resident dog to explore and pick up the scent of the new dog. This will help to ensure they become acquainted and are more tolerant of each other when they meet off leash.
  9. After adding a new dog to your home, allow a few weeks for the dogs to adjust to each other. During this time, do not leave them together without supervision. When you go out, it is a good idea to kennel one or both of them to prevent fighting when you are not home.


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