Because I have several families who have more than one dog (often more than one of MY dogs!), I thought I would put some thought into advice for the families who are considering doing the same. My thinking was inspired by a family who is actually taking a second one of my adult dogs that I have retired from breeding to “live the good life.”
There are a lot of articles on the Internet about this situation. (I will post links at the end of my column here.) They all agree that you, first of all, need to consider a second dog for the right reasons.
- Your current dog is aggressive and needs to learn its manners.
- Your current dog is nervous around other dogs and needs reassurance/
- Your kids want another dog.
Happy and healthy Havanese…that’s our goal
- You have the time and resources to train, care for and enjoy another dog.
- You want a companion for your current dog.
- Your present dog is getting older and a second dog will often “add years” to its life.
- You and your family love dogs and isn’t two better than one?
- You recently lost one of your dogs and your current one misses him.
So you have made the decision, now what? First of all, consider timing. I don’t recommend getting a second dog until your first one has completely bonded with you and is on its way to being socialized, trained and has adjusted to its new home.
Then, put some thought into what kind of dog to get. If you are delighted with the one you already have, maybe stick with the same breed, size or temperament. On the other hand, if you have reservations about your experience with your current dog, consider alternatives.
Is your current dog a rescue with health issues? Consider a pure breed where health history is a known quantity.
If you, yourself, are getting older and your present dog is a large one, maybe think about downsizing to a smaller breed to make travel, condo living, etc. easier.
Are your children part of the equation? Consider their ages and what breed might be good for them.
Finally, how do you introduce the second dog to your first one?
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First, be sensitive to the fact that your house is Dog #1’s house. Initially, it will see Dog #2 as an intruder and competitor for food, attention and living space. Make sure Dog #1 still has its own toys, food and water bowls, bedding and crate.
Second be sensitive to both dogs’ temperaments. If Dog #1 is low key and at all submissive, you might make the introduction in your own home so that the second dog realizes this house is #1’s house….for now. But if Dog #1 is outgoing and confident, maybe introduce them in a neutral place where #1 won’t overwhelm #2.
Then, my best advice is to go slow and always supervise their interactions during the first few days. Let each dog have its own space, own bowls, own toys and own bedding. Begin with one in its crate and the other outside of theirs. Then reverse the process.
Play with them together so that one doesn’t think the other is getting more attention. Walk with them together for the same reason. Watch for any signs of stress…stiff postures, ears down, tail down, lips lifting and staring. If you see an issue, calmly separate them and try again in a few hours.
And, remember, you are on your way to a wonderful life with your fur babies. Just give them time to adjust.
Here are some links for further reading:
Getting a second dog.
Here is one more.