October is Adopt A Dog Month and many people ask if they should get a second dog to keep their first dog company. A lot of us work outside the home during the day, and we know that dogs can get lonely.
Have you ever heard the quote from David Frost about two children? It goes like this: “one kid makes you a parent; two kids make you a referee.”
The same holds true for dogs. If you are thinking about getting a second dog so they can train and exercise together, think again. Before you introduce a second dog into the family, be mindful of the pros and cons:
- The dog will have a friend/playmate.
- You will receive double the kisses.
- More family members can make the ‘pack’ feel more secure and protected.
- Having a companion may reduce a dog’s separation anxiety.
- Many times dogs are just happier and better behaved with a fellow canine.
- They will each need to be trained individually before they are trained together.
- It is better to be happy with the behavior of a first dog before adding the second.
- Don’t look to the first dog to necessarily teach the second dog good habits.
- The costs associated with a dog—food, vet bills, dog toys, etc.—will be double.
- They will both need personalized, individual attention from you.
- They will create double the dog fur!
- There may be sibling rivalry and jealousy issues.
Introducing a second dog into your family can be chaotic to a family’s routine, particularly if the first dog doesn’t like other dogs. Know that it is instinctual for the dogs to compete to see who is first in the pecking order, which is why it is so important you establish yourself as the pack leader. If you are concerned about how to introduce the dogs, contact a professional for some great tips and assistance.
An important question to ask yourself is: what kind of dog does my dog like? Who does he/she tend to socialize well with? Does he/she get along better with male or female dogs? If one dog is older and the new dog is a puppy, it might not be fair to either of them. The old dog may just want to live in peace in his older years, while a puppy will want to play, play, play. However, old dogs can be re-vitalized by the introduction of a puppy. Ensuring that the dogs’ personalities or temperaments are a good ‘fit’ for one another is your first step to a harmonious multiple dog home.
Although two dogs may create double the workload, it can also be triple the fun!
Vicki and Richard Horowitz, of Woodbridge, are dog behavioral therapists and trainers with Bark Busters, the world’s largest dog training company. For more information, call 1-877-500-BARK (2275) or visit www.dog-training-new-haven-ct.com.