After weeks or months of planning and consideration, you made the decision to get another dog. Two dogs are as easy to take care of as one dog, if your first dog has been well trained and will model good dog-manners to the new dog. However, adding a second canine to the household is financially more expensive and requires more time (in terms of training, feeding, walking, and picking up after your dogs), and may reveal underlying behavioral problems in your dog. As a multiple dog household, we encourage people that are ready for the responsibility to add that second dog to the household. Benefits of a second dog include: more love/companionship, saving a dog from a shelter, a playmate for your current dog, etc.
Before you adopt, keep these things in mind:
1. Is Your Dog Ready for a Playmate?
Before adding a second dog, you should decide whether or not your dog is ready for a playmate. Determine if your dog has any underlying behavioral issues that need to be addressed, such as: separation anxiety, excessive barking, leash-reactivity to dogs or humans, pulling excessively on leash, house-training accidents, destructiveness, and aggression towards humans, dogs, or other small animals. New dogs can and will mirror your other dog’s behaviors, both good and bad. One fido terror can suddenly turn into two and require twice as much work. Two badly behaved dogs make life miserable for both your family and the dogs.
Many behaviorists recommend waiting a year before getting your dog a playmate. It can take upwards of 6 months for a dog to adjust to a new environment, followed by another 6 months of quality bonding with owners and learning house rules and commands. Integrating another dog sooner than a year is very achievable, but the owner will need to be sure to establish leadership through house rules and boundaries to ensure success.
2. Selecting the Right Dog
The Barking Lot volunteers will handle the introduction during your play date to ensure it is done properly and to make recommendations for you. Once the dog is adopted, the introduction at your home is up to you!
When you bring your new dog home from the shelter, take your family dog outside or to a neutral area (park, etc.) and repeat the greeting of the two dogs.
4. Tips for Success
“heel,” is called a headcollar (“Halti’s” or “Gentle Leader”). These tools go around the dog’s snout and gives you control of their head and, in turn, their body and mind. First introduce the tool, associate it with mealtime or another enjoyable experience, not the walk. You want your dog to relate the headcollar with a positive experience. Your dog will probably protest and try to remove the tool with his or her paws but you must disagree with that action and say “leave it” when he or she tries to touch the headcollar. Leave the headcollar on during mealtime, and then remove it afterwards and praise the dog for wearing it. After two or three mealtimes, while wearing the headcollar, you will be ready to walk your dog using the tool.
After a month of careful supervision, correcting misbehavior, structured walking, and supervised feedings, your dogs will know you are the alpha and the new/old dog is not a threat. Once your dogs begin to feel safe with one another, their true personalities will come out and you will have two wonderful pack members to entertain you and love you for the rest of their lives.
Article shared from The Barking Lot.