It is fulfilling and entertaining to watch two dogs play games, watch the world outside and spend time together. Dogs are by nature a pack animal; they are at their happiest and secure when part of a family unit. It is their way of survival, and living with humans means there is a mixed pack. We love interacting and spending time with our human family; so do dogs with theirs. Having a second dog can re-energise older dogs and boost confidence in anxious ones. Taking on a second dog needs careful contemplation and compliance from all members of the ‘human’ family. If everyone is prepared to take on the responsibility, then here is what you need to consider before searching for your dog’s new best mate:
Who gets really excited to buy their dog a puppacino at their local café? Or get that extra special grooming done for your best mate? Not to mention when your dog’s gut doesn’t agree with them and it’s off to the vet ‘just to make sure’ everything is ok. Our luxuries go to the wayside when our beloved canine companions need special treatment to keep them happy and healthy. Unfortunately, that can lead to expensive bills and with one dog the expenses are already high. Can you afford to maintain the same standard for a second dog? It is best to crunch the figures and make sure you can sustain both dogs financially. If at this stage you cannot provide for two dogs, then maybe wait before getting another. After all, it is difficult to spoil one dog and not the other!
Training with Two Dogs
If you thought training one dog was challenging enough, training two dogs can be quite an interesting experience. If you have trained your first dog successfully meaning they respond consistently to your commands, they are socialised well with other animals and you are leader of the house, then training the second dog will be a lot easier. Look at your dog’s habits – if there are any behaviours that are not desirable, it is best to correct your dog of these habits before introducing the second one. You do not want your dog teaching the newcomer undesirable behaviours, you could have double the trouble. This also works vice versa. If you are adopting a dog or puppy you will need to watch and adapt their training to ensure your dog does not pick up on undesirable behaviours. It will be a balancing act at the beginning – ensuring that both dogs listen to every human in the house individually and as a pack. It would be highly valuable for you to attend dog-training classes with both dogs.
Exercise & Stimulation
For those that work long hours or maintain a busy lifestyle, having a second dog can be a godsend. Knowing that your best mate is not alone waiting for you all day, but has a friend to play and hang out with, can make the world of difference to you and your beloved companion. However, it does not substitute for your time and attention. Both dogs will want one on one time with you, building relationships with you as individuals and as the leader of the pack. Going for outings and getting exercise is still important for both dogs. They can fulfil their instincts to roam and explore, giving you happy and healthy animals.
Ask Your Dog
Whilst we can get excited about a new family member, we do need to consider your dog’s opinion about introducing a new mate into their home. Booking a consultation with Trisha or learning how to communicate with your dog in their silent language will give you the ultimate advantage. You will be able to ask your dog the important questions: Do they want a dog friend? Are there specific breeds of dogs that they get along with? Would they prefer a male or female? What kind of friend are they looking for? A playmate? Or a lounge buddy? You can ask your dog all these questions and your dog can tell you exactly what they would like in a best friend. Picking a random dog that you like is a hit or miss choice – it is like being introduced to a total stranger & being told this is your new best friend!
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If you have considered all of the above and you believe you and your family can provide a loving home for a second dog, you are ready to seek out your dog’s new mate! Choosing to adopt from an animal shelter provides a second chance at a forever home for a shelter dog. You will have many years of watching your dogs play, relax together and shower each other with love. It just may be the best thing you could do for yourself and your beloved companion.