Twice The Love or Double Trouble?

Thinking of bringing a second pup into your home? Here we take a look at the pros and cons of having two dogs, plus include our top tips on safe introductions.

For many pet owners, watching two dogs frolicking in play is a wondrous sight. For single dog homes, the thought of introducing another dog for companionship can be very tempting. But will this spell double trouble or just increase the happiness and puppy-love in your home?

Many dogs will adore the constant companionship and play another dog can bring, after all our dogs are natural pack animals and will thrive with additional pets and people. Adding another dog into a home with an aging pooch can also bring a new lease on life for your older pet. There are many benefits of having two dogs including:

  • Companionship
  • Double the love
  • Allows exercise through play
  • Easier to train your pup 
  • Makes being home-alone easier when you have a friend

But, before you head out and find your new furry family member, there are some important things to consider.

Current Behavioral problems?

If your dog has any behavioral issues, it’s very important to tackle these before adding a new pet. Dogs will learn very quickly from other dogs. Meaning; if you have a destructive dog or a pet who is exhibiting any unwanted behaviors like barking, digging or escaping, inviting another canine companion into the home may double your problems. 

Many of the above behaviors can be due to boredom. Ensuring your pet has an enriched environment, when you are not at home, can help alleviate this type of behavior. Training and adequate exercise can also assist. If in doubt, seek professional help before your new bundle of fur arrives.

This is particularly important if your dog has any inter-dog aggression issues. A professional dog handler will be able to assess your dog and also help with introductions.

It’s important to remember that if your dog is suffering from boredom and the associated behaviors, introducing another dog will just escalate this issue and you may end up with two very bored and destructive hounds. 

Do I have the Time for a Second Dog?

This is a very important question to ask yourself. Two dogs require twice as much time, particularly in puppyhood. One of the biggest mistakes dog owners make is purchasing another dog for the companionship for their existing dog, without considering the amount of time and energy another dog will bring. 

Two dogs will not 100% entertain each other, they will both need daily exercise, training and an enriching environment to spend their days. Alongside the love and attention all dogs require.

A good tip is to consider bringing your new puppy home during the holidays, so you’ve got ample time for introductions, socialization, setting routines and basic training. It also takes some time and patience. Some dogs will be thrilled with the new family member and take to them like a duck to water. Other dogs will need time to get used to the new bounding bundle of fluff. Older dogs will also need time to adapt to their new playmate. It’s not uncommon for a few growls and barks when the puppy is getting a little boisterous. If this behavior becomes an issue, it’s important to seek professional help as quickly as possible.

Related: How to Introduce a Cat to a Dog (And Keep the Peace in the Home!)

Is My Current Dog Well Trained?

This is a big one, your new pup will learn the accepted behaviors from your current dog. If you have a well-trained dog, introducing a second dog will be much easier in terms of training – as the expected doggy manners have already been set. 

If your dog is not trained, consider enrolling in some obedience. Having two dogs pulling you down the street or pushing past you on the stairs or through a doorway can not only be inconvenient (cue the spilt shopping bags) but also dangerous. 

It’s vital you also ensure you have good secure fences before pup arrives. A dog that has never roamed may quickly change their mind with a partner in crime by their side!

YES! Time for Dog #2!

If you have considered the above and have decided now is the right time to get Rover a friend, it’s time to get prepared. If you are considering adopting a pet, most shelters can organize a meet and greet to see if your two dogs will be compatible. This is a wonderful way to find the perfect match for your existing dog.

Top Tips For Introductions

Some dogs will just flourish at first sight. But with all introductions go slowly and always supervise your older dog and new puppy to prevent accidental injury through play. If your dog exhibits any overly aggressive tendencies separate the dogs and seek professional help. A few growls or moving away is natural – it’s your older dog setting boundaries. 

  • Introduce the dogs through a door so they can sniff under the door at each other
  • Keep your older on a leash 
  • Go slowly
  • Lots and lots of praise – treats work well too
  • Ensure you give your older dog plenty of attention and always greet them first.
  • If pup is getting a little boisterous – pop them into their penned area to calm down
  • Remember nose to bum is the polite doggy hello, not nose to nose!

About the Author:

Emma is a professional writer and blogger, with two furry friends and a lot of pet behavioral and pet health knowledge to share. She has written for numerous big animal magazines and health sites, and is a regular contributor to The Catington Post.

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