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Double Fun or Double Trouble?
Nadia Crighton takes a look at the pros and cons of bringing a second dog into your home.
Ok so your current pup is all grown up, and there is that niggling feeling deep down that he could do with a constant companion. But before you go out in search of your perfect second hound, there are some things you should consider.
Are you ready for dog #2?
- Time. I know this can sound a little crazy, but the fact is, it’s not just your current pooch you need to consider in this new addition to the home. You need to be sure that you can budget for a new dog, and that you also have the time to care for another dog. Having two dog’s means twice the work, twice the amount of care, love and attention. A second dog will not entertain or exercise the first. You will have two dogs that will need daily walks and attention.
- Training. If you are looking at purchasing a puppy ask yourself if you have the time to train the new addition? If not, then consider looking for your new family member from a shelter and perhaps rehome and older dog who is already house-ready.
- Behaviour. Does your current fur-baby have any undesirable behaviour problems? If so it’s best to iron these out before you invest in another dog. It’s well known that dogs will pick up on each other behaviour and you could end up with two dogs digging up your yard, barking up a storm, or chewing your shoes (nooooooooooooo!!!).
- Patience. It takes time to introduce a new dog into your home. Dogs are pack animals and have a natural pecking order. Hopefully this order will go humans (up the top) and pets (underneath). When you bring in a new addition, be it human, canine or feline, this order can be disruptive to the current dog. Some pooches simply do not mind, while other may start to display unwanted or unusual behaviour. So introductions can take time and patience until you have a BFF situation. See the intro-tips below for some good advice. If you are concerned at anytime when introducing the new family member…contact the local training facility or dog behaviour specialist for additional advice.
- Fences. Is your home/dog’s area well fenced? A dog who has never escaped and roamed the neighbourhood could change their mind when they have a partner in crime. On a personal note, my dog never roamed…wouldn’t even leave the fence-line even when the gate was left open. #2 arrives…whole new ballgame. So ensure you have secure fences and dog runs before pup arrives home.
So you’ve confidently ticked YES to all of the questions above? Then it sounds like you are ready to take it to the next step and become the proud owners of a second dog.
Shelter dogs are great, and many good shelters like Animal Adoption Agency in NSW will find the perfect dog/pup, for your family and current fur baby. This is a wonderful way to see if the dogs will get along, and if your dog is really ready to share you with another fuzz bucket. Alternatively if you want a pup of a specific breed, please ensure your pup is coming from a good breeder who breeds for the love of the dog, and not the dollar signs. Doing your homework is imperative.
The day has finally arrived and your current dog is going to meet his new BFF. So what way is best?
- Pop your current dog behind a door like a bedroom or a laundry. Allow the puppy to have sniff around the house.
- Take the pup out of the house and let your dog come out and have a sniff around.
- The pop the pup behind the door and encourage your dog to sniff under the door.
- Do not hold a puppy in your arms above your current dog for introductions. This can be quite intimidating as you are saying that this dog is ‘bigger’ etc.
- Then in a controlled environment, with your current dog on a leash, allow the puppy to come out and have a little meet and greet.
- Remember nose to bum is the ‘polite’ way dogs meet and greet.
- If your dog gets a little excited and jumpy…introduce “AH AH…gentle” command.
- Remember big pats…lots of praise. This can be a very unnerving experience for your dog.
- Try not to shower the pup in too much affection. Both dogs will need the same love and affection…and the same RULES.
- Slowly but surely they will become great friends. But take it slowly in the beginning until they become accustomed to each other.
- Your current dog may not allow the pup to sleep near them, and may also get a little growly when they investigate their toys and food. With gentle reminders and patience this will calm down. Your current dog is learning on how to set the boundaries with the new pup.
If you are concerned, at anytime, regarding your dogs reaction to the new addition. Seek professional help.
A BIT ABOUT THE BLOGGER:
Nadia Crighton is a well-known and accomplished Australian Journalist and pet magazine Editor. As a busy mum of four humans, two dogs, 50 sheep, three cats, a handful of chickens and a goat named Billy, she simply adores pets of all shapes and sizes.