You may have reached the point in your life when you’ve decided that you’re ready for some more love and want a pal for your furry friend. However, introducing a second dog into your home is not always a simple process. Dogs, regardless of breed, have their own personalities and, just like humans, two dogs’ personalities can clash. Here are a few pointers to help you introduce a new dog into your home.
Consider Whether Your Current Dog Is Ready For a Friend
First and foremost, your main concern should be the dog you already have at home. You need to think about your dog’s physical and mental health first and how adding another dog into the mix might affect this, for better or worse. If your dog suffers from behavioral issues such as separation anxiety or aggressive tendencies, then you might want to hold off on your decision to get a second dog, focusing instead on correcting those issues first. If you bring another dog into your household, it is likely that the new dog might mimic these behaviors or make your current dog’s situation worse. You want to allow some time to train your current dog and allow her to bond with you and feel secure in her environment before bringing in another pooch. The ease of integrating another dog will depend on your current dog’s attitude, so think about this before making the final call.
Test Your Dog
If you’re not sure how your dog is going to go with a new pooch friend, try a few test runs. If you have friends with dogs, get them to bring their dogs over to hang out and see how your dog reacts; note whether your dog seems okay with having a new canine in her space. This might give you an idea of the types of breeds and personalities that best complement your dog.
Select the Right Dog
You want to choose a second dog that is going to get along well with your current dogs in terms of energy, personality, and needs. Consider temperament, size, age, sex and breed when it comes to choosing another dog. If your dog is dominant and assertive, adding another dominant dog could lead to problems. Similarly, if your dog is old and not very mobile, then a high-energy, bouncy breed might not be the right fit for your household. Remember that these two dogs will be spending almost 24 hours per day together, and you’ll want them to get along.
Get the Dogs Acquainted Before the Move
Introduce the two dogs to each other before you bring your second dog into the home. This is a good way of acquainting the dogs with one another. It’s also a good idea to rub a towel or toy with the new dog’s smell so you can give it to your current dog to examine, allowing her to identify the smell and get acquainted with it. In order to ensure she associates the smell with positive things, give her lots of hugs and treats near the scented object.
Monitor both dogs’ behavior when introducing a second dog to your home, especially around feeding time and play time. Look for body language such as pinned back ears, stiff body stance, or tails held high, as these might suggest a dog is uncomfortable or agitated. If this is the case, distract the dog and tell him/her to lie down or sit until the body language becomes more relaxed.
Organize Appropriate Care
If you work long hours or are going to be away in the early days of having two dogs, they may require more attention than usual during the settling-in period. Make sure that they have visitors to check up on them, and consider getting doggy daycare or having them walked separately if they are still getting used to a new routine. This can help to ease any tension during the adjustment period.
Getting a second dog is sure to be an adventure, but you also want it to be as conflict-free as possible. Ideally, you want both you and your current dog to find a friend for life, so make sure to think long and hard about the decision before making your choice.