It is very common these days for households to now have more than one pet.
The notion of “the more the merrier” is subjective and will be entirely dependent upon your own lifestyle, unique circumstances and of course, your existing dog. Many multi-dog owners would attest to the point that more dogs bring more love to your life. They would also tell you that the double the dog means double the responsibility and commitment which you and your family need to be mindful of before inviting a new four-legged friend to join the family.
There is much to consider before opening your hearts and your homes to a second dog.
Considering a Second Pet?
There are many reasons why families opt to welcome home a second pet. Ask the Trainers at Found By The Hound! Our Trainers each have several dogs of their own. Trainer Anthea, Sarah and Kim love working their dogs and the challenge of training with different breeds for different purposes.
The most common reason we typically hear from owners who are considering bringing home another pet is to keep their existing dog company. As many of us work, we worry that our pet may be lonely in our absence and may benefit from another companion, but we don’t recommend you purchase a dog for your dog. Often, they are happy with the current set up and having to share your time and attention detracts from them, making the purchase not meeting its intended purpose. If you wish to get a second dog do it because you want the dog for you not for your dog.
It is important to note that if your current dog is destructive, nuisance barks or displays other signs of separation anxiety, bringing home a second pet is not the solution for problem behaviours. Before considering this, speak with the team at Found By The Hound to discuss training options otherwise you will likely end up with two dogs having the same issue.
Another reason many owners consider bringing home a new pet is because they are time poor and thus need a new companion for an existing pet. A second pet should never be a substitute for your time spent with your dog. If you do not have the time to commit to your existing pet, you should wait until your circumstances changes before inviting a second dog into your life. A second dog will need time spent with it too making the time commitment increase ….. not decrease!
A family or individual that has ample time and energy to spend with both dogs, sufficient resources and financial means to manage the increased expense would be ideal to welcoming home a new pet providing that was the right decision for all involved including the existing dog.
What to consider before getting a second dog?
Before bringing home a second dog there is much to consider and discuss with your family.
Time: Time is of the essence. As many owners will be privy to, dogs require your time and attention for play, exercise and training. This will double with a second dog. Your new dog will require training, especially if it is a puppy. There will also be an introductory period where it will be essential that both dogs are supervised together which will also require your attention.
Financial Means: There is no escaping the fact that two dogs will mean more outgoings. Be sure to consider your monthly budget to ensure your family is ready for the additional financial commitment and factor in food, veterinary costs and incidentals.
Your Existing Pet: You know your pet better than anyone. Despite dogs being ‘pack animals’ many owners can attest to the fact that some dogs simply just prefer the company of their human and cope better in a one-pet-house. If this sounds like your pet, you may need to consider that a second dog may not be what is best for your family home. If your dog does not play well with others, this may need to be respected especially if your lifestyle demands that they will spend time together without supervision.
If your dog is senior it is important to note that a new puppy knows no boundaries until taught and can be quite full on for an existing pet.
That is not to say that you cannot welcome a new dog into your life. Not all dogs need to be best friends to cohabitate. The Trainers at Found By The Hound will be the first to tell you that not all family pets get along. Our Trainers are also acutely aware of any circumstances that may potentially trigger a ‘family fight’ and ensure that their pets are never put in compromising situations.
It is important that you have provisions in place to maintain harmony within the home. This may require more supervision, more one-on-one time with each pet and being vigilant with boundaries, privileges and mealtime.
Dogs can be BEST FRIENDS!
All things considered, having multiple dogs can be the best thing ever. Watching their relationship develop is truly special and adorable and everyone can live in perfect harmony.
It is still particularly important that your individual dog’s bond with YOU, the owner, rather than just with one another. The relationship you share with each of your pets is the most important one of all and should be the most significant to your dog. Whilst you want your dogs to have a blast together, they should not be each other’s constant distraction from you. To avoid the ‘terrible twos’ this means dedicating time to each dog separately and engaging in one-on-one play, training and exercise.
What could go wrong?
For many owners absolutely nothing can go wrong. It was the right decision and works wonderfully. Sometimes you can get a “mismatch”.
You will often hear trainers at Found by the Hound talk about how each dog is unique and has its own personality. This is true for all dogs and in some cases personalities can clash. Like many of us who have lived with someone and things didn’t quite work out, in some cases owners will have two dogs that just don’t like each other. Training cannot fix a personality clash. Be mindful when choosing a new puppy or dog to think about your current dog’s personality and carefully assess whether the new addition will be suitable for your existing dog.
What about siblings?
So many people purchase two puppies at the same time from the same litter. This can often lead to exceedingly difficult times ahead.
When you have two puppies from the same litter, they MAY fight between themselves. Sibling rivalry may occur, and play may often escalate into fights. Siblings will often bond very heavily with one another and the result is when they are together they don’t listen to you the owner instead they look to each other for direction. Training them requires separating them and spending lots of time working with each dog on its own, which often defeats the purpose of purchasing the two so they can keep each other busy. Getting siblings may work out to be triple the amount of work.
If you have one dog you have a pet, when you have more than one dog you have a “pack’ which changes the dynamics in the home. These changes can be fantastic but, in some cases, it can be challenging and difficult. It is important to think carefully about bringing another dog into your home. Make sure it is the right decision for you, your family and your current dog. Well thought out choices often end in beautiful long-lasting friendships. If you would like to talk about whether welcoming a second dog into your home is the right thing, please feel free to contact our trainers at Found by the Hound.