Anyone who has had the privilege of sharing their life with a dog for any period of time can attest to the sheer awesomeness of the experience. I’m a doglover, go figure!
While I could go on and on testifying to the wonders that having a relationship with a dog brings to our human existence, you all already know that otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this in the first place.
What I had initially intended on writing about when I sat down in front of the keyboard was the steps to introducing an additional dog to a household. I got about two paragraphs in when I realized that wasn’t what I should be writing about yet.
Before talking about the actual process of bringing a new dog into a house that already has one, it is exponentially more important to discuss the thought process involved in deciding to bring home another dog in the first place.
More often than not, I see people struggling with adding another dog for the very simple reason that they shouldn’t be getting another dog at that moment in time in the first place.
They skipped the most important first step to the process which is having an honest, reflective, and open dialog with themselves or their family on why they want to get another dog.
WHY DO YOU WANT ANOTHER?
If your only reason to get another dog is because they are cool, you are making a mistake.
Dog’s are cool, yes, but that is not a good reason to get another dog.
If you have read my blog before you know I don’t beat around the bush, and if this is your first time, welcome to some brutal honesty. By not taking the time to honestly reflect on why you are adding another dog you have already disrespected the significance a dog’s life represents in the first place!
A dog is a living, breathing, thinking, FEELING entity.
With a dog’s lifespan ranging for upwards of 15 years for some breeds, that is a commitment beyond what a lot of people realize. For many folks I wish they had read my article on things to consider before even getting their first dog let alone their second.
To entertain the thought of taking on the responsibility of getting another dog first requires looking at your life and understanding that everything involved with properly raising one dog, is about to DOUBLE.
Getting a puppy means a solid year of very intensive training and rigid scheduling to ensure the puppy learns how to be a stable and balanced member of your household. Housebreaking is a process that even though it varies from dog to dog, requires consistency, time, and patience. All of this would be in addition to the amount of time you are already dedicating to keeping your other dog happy and mentally stimulated.
A healthy adult dog with any type of working history or functional history of the breed will require a minimum of 2-3 hours of dedicated time, attention, training, and exercise DAILY. When people fall short of this they end up sending me an email asking how to get their dog to stop chewing up the house, barking at mouse farts, and being generally obnoxious and destructive.
Getting a new dog means taking time working with that dog INDIVIDUALLY teaching it the rules of the home as well as how you communicate. Neglecting that process means the new dog is not successfully integrated into the home. Neglect the needs of the other dog and you will then have behavioral issues that could pop up again, making integrating the new dog more challenging.
You must be 100% honest with yourself.
Any type of reflection must be honest for it to be effective. If you are looking to “rescue” another dog, ask yourself first if you truly have the time to dedicate to doing it properly. Then you really need a gut check as to whether you are doing it because you honestly feel you have the time and energy to do it or you simply want the “feel good” feeling that comes from “rescuing” another dog.
Definitely don’t get another dog because…..
You are looking for a playmate for your existing dog.
This might be the single worst reason I have heard for getting another dog. The majority of people I have encountered who ran out to get another dog to keep their first dog company, end up having some serious issues after the fact.
You are all your dog NEEDS.
If you aren’t spending 2-3 hours with your dog a day interacting, playing, training, and bonding, then you have fallen short of YOUR responsibilities and getting another dog means that will be TWO dogs who you are slacking on instead of one.
Do the bare minimum with the first one before you seek to acquire another one, while that may seem like common sense, common sense seems to be a rarity lately.
People are worried their dog isn’t getting enough stimulation. This boggles my mind because they are the ones who should be supplying that stimulation.
I have also heard people say that they are getting another dog to help their first dog’s separation anxeity.
There are no magic pills or cures for the very specific disorder known as separation anxiety. For owners of a dog with this disorder, structure, routine, consistency, and LOTS of exercise and patience is the solution.
Not another dog.
Are You Ready To Lead?
Another significant thing to consider is the relationship you have with your current dog.
Dogs NEED a leader. I am aware that many people don’t quite understand what leadership looks like often times confusing it with being abusive or physical. Quite the contrary, a leader simply leads, and does so most of the time without force. It is more about controlling the desired resources, but that’s another blog article entirely.
If you do not currently have a clear leadership role with your dog, and you find that your dog does what it wants, when it wants, getting another dog will be a problem.
Some people are OK with the above situation, having a “spoiled” dog who does as they please. While that is not ideal for any dog mentally, there are owners out there who simply are content with such a situation. The problem arises when they want to bring another dog into the mix. The lack of human leadership means its up to the dogs to settle and sort out any issues. That can mean using teeth to do just that.
If you have a dog, and you are not comfortable with being “in charge” or you simply don’t understand what that even means, another dog is the last thing you should be thinking about…unless you plan on spending a lot of money to fix the problems that are highly likely to occur down the road.
There are always exceptions and outliers. I personally know people who have the time, energy, MONEY, and space to constantly rescue, foster, take care of a LOT of dogs. It takes a truly special and dedicated individual to run a pack like that. This article isn’t for them. They honestly don’t even have time to read blogs because they are busy with their dogs.
Think about that last sentence.