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Should I Get a Second Dog to Keep My First One Company?
I get it. You work 8 hours 5 days each week and by the time you add in travel time and a little extra to “clean up” before you leave, you’re really gone from the house at least 9 hours each day. Then, if you stop at the grocery store, well there goes another hour. Now, if you subtract the hours you spend taking your children to soccer, baseball, dance and karate; and minus the hours it takes to complete your other errands, how much time do you REALLY have for your furry friend?
On the surface it sounds like a great idea to get a second dog to keep the first one company. But is it really? As usual, the best way to decide is to make a pro and con list. I’m here to be the objective voice for both sides. So let’s make that list:
- Your dog won't be lonely – they’ll keep each other company
- You don't have to worry about leaving them alone all the time
- Twice the love for you
- Extra dogs mean extra exercise – although they can be walked together, events such as ball catching would be doubled – that’s good for the dogs AND for you
- Dogs living together will often play with each other Keeping their minds occupied and adding exercise into their day
- If it’s protection you’re looking for, 2 dogs make double the noise and may pose as double the threat
- Each dog has their own unique personality and will quickly win their way into your heart.
- Assuming your original furry friend was properly trained, the second dog will learn good habits from the first one
- 2 dogs are much more expensive than 1
- Twice the Vet bills
- Twice as much food
- Twice as many toys (they can be expensive)
- Twice as many grooming bills, depending on the type of dog you have
- Twice as much dog hair in the house
- Twice as much poop to pick up
- 2 dogs to brush
- 2 dogs to bath
- 2 dogs to walk
- 2 dogs to arrange for care when you go on vacation
- 2 dogs that will age and long term may have health issues causing them pain and your heart to break
- 2 dogs can get into double the trouble
- The personality of the dogs may not be compatible causing them to fight instead of forming a friendship resulting in extra work and frustration for you
Now let’s talk about what to consider if you do decide to get a second dog. Understand that there is no carved in stone here. There are many variables and since each dog has its’ own personality, these are guidelines only.
As far as compatibility is concerned, it’s more important to consider the energy and personality of the dogs rather than the sex of the dogs. An older, less active dog may not respond well to a hyper active puppy. Having said that, there are some older dogs that still have a lot of energy and would welcome a younger companion to keep up with. Typically, dogs that are spayed and neutered are more even tempered than those who are not. It is vitally important to make sure the dogs get along before you leave them alone.
This is a serious decision. Don’t rush it. Set up some play dates. Use different places; your dog’s turf, the “new dog’s” turf, neutral turf. While their together spend time with just your dog, then just the new dog, to see how they react to “sharing” the attention with each other. You’ll also want to see how well they share their belongings with each other; their toys, feeding dish, their blanket or bed. Some dogs are territorial and won’t share anything. Find these things out BEFORE you commit to a new dog. You want to know exactly what you will have to deal with.
Although it’s not always the case, it is common for same breed or similar breed dogs to bond well and quickly. As a general rule of thumb, a well socialized dog will likely get along with almost any other dog. Ideally both dogs will be well socialized. Be careful of adding a new hyper dog to an existing hyper dog. That’s a lot of hyper! Can you handle that much energy in your house?
Even if your dog is well trained you’ll want to keep a very close eye on both dogs until they both learn to adapt to the rules. You will have to be very strict with both pets regarding training and socialization to ensure success. Your new pet may very well learn good behaviours from your original dog, but your original dog may pick up some naughty habits from your new dog.
And here’s one more Pro… You’d be the proud recipient of two times the love. Oh, did I say that already? Well, it’s SO MUCH love that it’s worth saying twice.
Remember to hug your dog(s) today.