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Bringing Home a Second Dog
Take two and double the fun
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If you’re like most dog folks, sooner or later you may think, “As wonderful as one dog is, two would be even better!”

There are many great reasons to add another canine family member: more to love, more to be loved by, companionship for Dog One, saving a life, companionship for a child and more. There are also many reasons not to: more vet bills, more food and toys to buy, more poop to scoop, less individual attention for Dog One, more potential behavior problems…

Assuming you’ve carefully considered the pros and cons and made an educated decision to adopt another, here are some tips for a successful introduction of your new dog to your existing canine pal(s):

1. Make sure Dog One is dog-friendly. If you don’t already know that One is the life of the dog park, find a friend with a very dog-friendly dog and introduce One to Friendly in a safely fenced neutral territory. One may tell you in no uncertain terms that he’d rather be an only dog. If so, consider maintaining your one-dog status. Or, if you’re dead-set on another dog, find a good, positive trainer/behavior consultant to help you convince One of the benefits of having a canine pal. If the introduction goes well, take the next step.

2. Select the right dog. If your current dog is very assertive, adding another “top dog” could be the equivalent of holding a lit match to an open gasoline can. Look for a dog who defers to your “Boss Dog.” However, if your current dog is a Wilting Willie, an assertive new dog may take over. Willie will probably be fine with this, but you may have a hard time seeing him pushed around. If so, look for a non-assertive dog.

Size needs to be taken into account. If you have a three-pound mini-dog, there are inherent risks in adopting a large-breed dog. Even in play, big dogs can cause serious, sometimes fatal, injuries to toy-size canines. It’s not impossible to have very disparate sizes in a household, but it requires committed supervision and management.

Grooming and energy levels are still other considerations. If Woolly Bully requires daily grooming to stay mat-free, perhaps a shorthaired dog is in order. Or, if you finish brushing Woolly and are eager for more, a second Old English Sheepdog may be right up your alley.

If your current Border Collie mix is an Energizer™ bunny, another active dog might help wear her out—or you could end up with two bunnies.

3. Script your introductions. Set up your introductions in that safely fenced neutral territory. This is best done prior to your commitment to adopt Dog Two. Both of you armed with hot dogs, have a friend, hold one leashed dog at the far side of the area while you enter with the second. Watch body language; they may become alert and a little tense, or act all waggy and playful—both are acceptable responses. If one or both dogs exhibit serious aggression—lunging, frenzied barking, snarling or snapping—stop the introduction and seek professional assistance.

When the dogs notice each other, calmly feed hot dog bits, until each is focusing on the person providing the treats. Now slow the rate of hot dogs until the dogs glance at each other, then look back at you for hot dogs. If both dogs appear happy and/or reasonably relaxed in each other’s presence, drop the leashes while still at a distance and allow them to greet each other. Leash restraint can sometimes cause otherwise compatible dogs to behave aggressively. Leave the leashes on for a few moments so you can safely separate the dogs if necessary. When it is clear that they are getting along, call them back and unclip the leashes so they can play without becoming entangled (which can also cause a fight!).

At home, introduce them again in your fenced yard, and, to minimize indoor stress, don’t bring them into the house until they’ve tired themselves out playing.

4. Train and manage for success. Installation of baby gates and tethers in strategic places can help keep the peace. When dogs are still getting to know each other, separate them when you’re not home. If there are food-bowl or feeding-station issues, feed the dogs far apart, perhaps in separate rooms or crates, to avoid confrontations. Make sure there are enough toys to go around, and ample beds located in low-traffic areas.

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Submitted by Anonymous | January 23 2013 |

Just Saying, its the Enigizer Battery and the Duracell bunny. O.O

Submitted by JP | August 17 2014 |

Please don't assume every dog owner lives in a house with a fenced yard.

Submitted by Sharon Smith | August 17 2014 |

First I brought my dog to meet the new potential dog at their home, then a ride in the care together. 1 failed immediately in the car. Next the dog park. Next a visit to friends and their dogs. 1 failed there. Last is home. My 16 yr old has had 3 "friends" live with us, and he has loved them all. I find it is really important to be patient with the new dog, and realize this is traumatic for them to be re homed. I think it takes about a week for them to adjust and realize they are home.

Submitted by John Chapman | August 17 2014 |

The introduction of a second dog into the family, was simple for me.
Dog #1 (A Basset)was already familiar with dog #2 (A Maltese), as we all live on the same farm. I simply began letting dog #2 into the house, & in no time they acted as brother & sister ! :)

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