Things To Consider When Bringing An Additional Dog To Your Family

I have had Wolfie as a great member of our family for years and am thinking about adding another dog.  I've heard stories, good and bad, about families bringing additional dogs into their fold.  What are some things that I should watch out for and what things should I consider?

The very first thing that you should consider about getting a second dog is if you are prepared for the additional responsibilities of owning a second dog.  Your neighbor that was fine in baby sitting one dog while you were away for the weekend might not have the ability to watch two dogs.  The places you travel that don't mind you bring Wolfie might not accept a second canine guest.  Your Vet bills and dog food bills will now be twice as much.  Your association might not allow a second dog.  Do you have time for a second dog? Your home owner's insurance might drastically change.  Again, these are just a few real life things to consider before you even continue your thoughts about more doggies.

Now, let's way you got past those first, few hurdles.  You need to consider Wolfie's temperament and the type of breed you might consider.  Here are some tips:

  • If Wolfie is dog aggressive, territorial, or over protective of you, you might want to stop thinking about another dog.
  • If Wolfie is more of a "couch potato" or over seven years old, you probably don't want to consider getting a puppy.
  • Consider a dog that is roughly the same size as Wolfie.  This will make play time safer for both of them.
  • In my opinion, I would make sure that both dogs have been neutered or fixed.
  • If you are not prepared for a high energy environment, do not consider breeds like Jack Russels, Boxers, Labs, or Dalmatians.  (Great dogs, just high energy!)  
With these things handled, it is now time to start your search.  Here are some more tips:
  • Start your search with a family meeting with the open ended question, "What kind of dog would you like?".  Dogs you have had in the past, favorite neighbor dogs, or the "I always wanted a ..." normally will be mentioned.  Go on the internet and research these breeds to see if there are any red flags that would pop up about them.  Dog Breeder Info Center is a great place to look.
  • If you have small children, large, high energy dogs might not be a good fit.
  • Large dogs in apartments or homes with small back yards might not be a good idea.
  • If you work long hours, dogs that require a good amount of exercise or require a good amount of interaction might not be a good match.
  • Check out the local Humane Society, Animal Shelters, and Rescue Groups to locate your next doggie.  There are so many great dogs already out there, it really isn't necessary to go to the pet stores or local breeders.
Now, you have found your next doggie and he appears to meet all the above criteria.  Now is the time to see if it is really going to work.  Now is the time to see if Wolfie will really get along with this potentially new member of the family.  More tips for you:
  • Have Wolfie and your potential doggie meet at the Shelter, Humane Society, or Rescue location.  Be in a fence enclosed, outside environment and have both doggies on leashes.  Allow them to approach each other and exchange their doggie sniffs.  If there is any sign of fear or aggression, separate them and try again.  Once they are "used to each other", drop the leashes and allow them to wander.  Always be right there in the event they become aggressive.  If needed, step on the leash, pick it up, and separate them.
  • Repeat the above process for a second and possibly third visit to assure that they are fine with each other.  If, after three sessions, there are still signs of aggression or fear, this is not the right fit.
  • If they appear to be the right fit, it is now time to bring the new canine family member home.  Have your new doggie and Wolfie meet in the front of your house.  Let them sniff and re-greet each other.  You might want to take both of them on a little walk up and down the street.
  • Now, take Wolfie inside the house to an open area in sight of the front door.  Bring your new doggie in and have Wolfie and him greet again.  Walk them around the house (on leashes).  Now you can drop the leashes but still keep both of them in sight.
  • Take both of them to the back yard and let them play.  Use new toys so that there will not be a "possessive issue" with Wolfie.
  • Feed them separately for the first few days.  After that, try feeding them together (much easier) while being on the lookout for any food possessive/aggression issues.
If you follow these guidelines, you are on your way to having a great life with your larger human/canine family.  For more information, please contact us at The Best Dog Trainers in South Florida.


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