Let’s Talk: Considering Another Dog?

another dogThere is a lot to think about when considering adding another dog to your household, whether you currently have one dog, or an entire pack. Here are some of the most important things to ponder if another dog might be in your future:
What effect will another dog have on the resident dog? Some dogs love having other dogs in the house. Others consider them nothing more than competition for attention and food. Ask yourself:

  • Does your dog like other dogs? Does he feel differently if they are in his house and sharing the water bowl? What about sharing your time and attention?
  • If your dog likes other dogs, does it matter if it’s male or female? In general, it’s better to mix sexes and have one male and one female in the house. But dogs don’t read that chapter, and there are only two sexes to choose from—what if you want three dogs, or four? Be sure you are aware how your dog reacts to members of the same or opposite sex. 
  • What about personality and play styles? Some dogs like to play rough and wrestle, while others prefer to play “Let’s Race!”. Some dogs are easily cowed and would be a bad match for a pushy personality striding into the house and taking over. Be sure that the dogs’ personalities and play styles are a good match.

What effect will another dog have on you and your family? Two dogs are not necessarily twice the work of one; sometimes the increase in work is exponential.

  • Another dog might reduce the time you spend with one dog if they entertain and exercise each other. However, there’s an old sheepdog trainer saying: “The only thing one dog will learn from another is a bad habit.” Be warned.
  • Barking is contagious. If you have a dog who barks a lot when visitors come, expect a full-throated chorus from two, three or four.
  • If you take your dog(s) on leash walks, think about the logistics of taking several dogs at the same time. Sometimes you’ll need to take the dogs out separately, especially when the new comer first arrives. Be sure you have the time to do that.
  • Between paying for vet bills, food and toys, multiple dogs can strain your bank account. Look carefully at your budget.

What’s Your Plan B? What if the dog you have chosen looks like a perfect match—until it doesn’t? It’s always good to be patient, and to do all you can to help a new dog settle in. But even the wisest and best plan may need to be revised. Always have a good idea about what to do if things don’t work out before bringing a new dog into your home.
Enjoy Your Pack! Don’t let these considerations discourage you once you have thought them through. Trisha thinks three dogs are perfect for her household, and can’t imagine having fewer. Willie, Tootsie and Maggie send best wishes to you and your pack, no matter how many paws it includes!

A great resource for multi-dog families will go on sale June 22nd-June 25th. Keep your ears pricked! Here’s your chance to get Feeling Outnumbered, How to Manage and Enjoy a Multi-Dog Household for 50% to 60% off! We want to encourage shelters, rescue groups and trainers to send this booklet home with anyone adopting a dog. Readers tell us it’s a great resource to use when teaching any dog to be patient or polite—even a pack of one.
Another great resource for people considering a new dog is Love Has No Age Limit—which is always on sale so that dogs are sent to their news homes with the best chance of staying there, forever.

A young man was out running with his four American Eskimos when he passed another man pushing his twin daughters in a stroller with two Golden Retrievers walking along side. The two men looked at each other in a moment of mutual admiration and understanding before the father quipped, “I am quite sure that four of a kind beats two pair!”

From Feeling Outnumbered, by Karen London & Patricia McConnell


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