Why Getting a Second Dog is the Right Thing to Do

Why Getting a Second Dog is the Right Thing to Do

Getting one dog is a big long-term commitment but getting a second dog means double the responsibility. Every dog owner has probably played with this idea at least once. You may wonder if it is the right time, if your first dog will get along with a second dog and if you want to buy a puppy or adopt an adult dog.

Things to Consider Before Getting a Second Dog

Before we get into all the fun and positive things about getting a second dog, you will want to consider a few things first.

How Well Socialized is My Dog?

Pay attention to how well your dog gets along with other canines. Does he prefer being around older dogs while getting quickly annoyed by puppies? Then rescue and adoption might be the better choice.

Is he okay with both female and male dogs or does he become territorial when other dogs are around? Does he show signs of jealousy when you are petting another animal? How is his temper around different pets? A calm dog might be more suited for a calm second dog.

What are My Dog’s Current Needs?

It’s best to get a second dog that fits the needs of your current dog. You don’t want to have a Labrador Retriever paired with a Bloodhound. Their exercise needs and preferences are just too different. A Bloodhound loves scent games and really thrives for them while a Labrador likes to run and swim all day.

Also, consider your dog’s size when getting a second dog. It won’t be much fun for your Jack Russel Terrier to play with a Rottweiler. The size and weight differences are just too big. My Rottweiler loves to wrestle with other dogs and getting her a small French Bulldog wouldn’t be fair for both of them.

Am I Financially Ready?

Yes, dogs are expensive and getting a second dog will double your monthly expenses. It will also require a lot more extra savings in case of emergency vet bills. Every item you currently have will need to be bought a second time.

Two dog beds, four food bowls, more toys, double the amount of food and so on. That can get pricey really quickly. You can have a look at my last post The Frugal Approach to Living with a Dog for some money-saving tips and tricks.

Do I Have Enough Time?

You might think that you are going out with your dog three times a day anyway, why not take a second dog with you? But you cannot call it a day until both of your dogs get enough physical exercise, mental stimulation and bonding time.

The first thing that people forget is one-on-one time with each dog. It’s incredibly important for the bonding process and prevents jealousy on any side. Daily training will take double the time and you will need to stay very consistent otherwise they will copy each others bad behavior.

Is My Dog Ready?

If you consider getting a second dog, first look at your own dog and see if he is old and well-behaved enough for a new brother or sister. Dogs that are too young are not yet stable in their behavior traits and might change when the other dog arrives.

Only strongminded and confident dogs should be put together with aggressive or fearful rescue dogs otherwise you might put your dog’s well being at risk. It will also make it much easier for you during training as the new dog will watch the resident dog all the time. Good as well as bad behavior can be passed on.

Benefits of Having a Second Dog

Having one dog is wonderful, having two dogs?… Even better! We are currently not ready to get a second dog because we would like to move to another place first but I would love having a second furry companion. There are so many benefits to owning two dogs and I will talk about all of them in just a second.

Getting a Second Dog to Keep the First Company

Dogs love canine interaction and what is better than having your own 24/7 play buddy at home? Two dogs will prevent each other from getting bored and are less likely to develop separation anxiety.

When being left alone, they will give each other company which decreases stress and they won’t feel abandoned. Dogs are pack animals and love company in any type of form. Playing, eating, sleeping will be double fun and it also keeps their socialization habits up to date.

Spending Less Time on Physical Exercise

Physical exercise definitely takes a good chunk of the day depending on what breed you have. Some dogs get tired with a bit of fetch and others come home and immediately wait for the second and third walk. Two dogs will be way more engaged with each other when being outside.

They will usually run and play together when being off-leash. You won’t have to spend as much time on physical exercise as before because they will do a part of the job for you. If you have a yard, you should definitely read my post on 12 Boredom Busters to Keep Your Dog Entertained in the Yard for some toy and game ideas that your two dogs can play either with you or on their own.

The Second Dog Will Be Much Easier to Train

If you have a well-behaved and obedience trained adult first dog then training will be much easier when bringing home a second dog. The new dog will try to follow the habits of your first dog as much as possible that’s why it’s so important to have him completely trained first.

Especially if you take home a new puppy, you will have less struggle with housetraining, crying at night and leash training. The puppy used to learn everything from his mother and littermates so your dog will be the primary role model. Socialization will be way easier too because the puppy watches how the older dog reacts to stimuli in every situation.

Double the Health Benefits

Ask yourself how much you really enjoy spending time with one dog. It should make you happy and release stress whenever you are with him. Dogs have many positive mental and physical influences on us. Seeing two dogs play together makes me by far the happiest and that’s why I would love having a second dog.

Two dogs will give you double the mental health benefits that hold anxiety and depression at bay. It’s incredible how happy dogs can make us which for me outruns all of the cons.

The Second Dog Syndrome

Now I have mentioned that your first dog may become the primary role for your second dog and while this might save you some time, it will set the foundation for the “2nd dog syndrome”.

You have gained some experience in dog training with your first dog and once your second dog arrives you will be more laid back and let your first dog do most of the training. This will save you a lot of time and struggle but you will miss on the huge bonding and working relationship that you had built with your first dog.

The definition of the second dog syndrome is that you won’t be the one that forms the strong relationship with the second dog. But how can you avoid this from happening?

When getting your second dog, make sure that you spend an equal amount of time with both of your dogs. The keyword here is one-on-one time. Training both dogs separately won’t make you compete with their relationship. Make sure that you take one dog alone on a walk every other day to also shift the pack perspective to you as a valued member.

Will Getting Another Dog Help My Dog Calm Down

Two dogs that get along will definitely help each other calm down, especially if your dog is struggling with separation anxiety. Their company will decrease anxiety and panic attacks through emotional support.

But the underlying issue of separation anxiety will still need to be solved. Some symptoms will still be there and the excitement of having another dog may wear off. If your dog suffers from separation anxiety, follow the tips outlined here to provide your dog with more comfort when being left alone.

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4 Comments

  1. I didn’t have much of a choice in adopting Cow – at the time, she was my neighbor’s dog and she was completely neglected, and now, years later, I can’t imagine life without her. Matilda is only about 5 pounds, and Cow’s about 27 pounds, so there’s a significant size difference, but they’ve learned to play fairly together. I always catch Cow lowering herself to the ground to give Matilda a more fair chance, and she pretends to let Matilda spook her… or, more likely, she actually does get spooked sometimes. It’s so fun to watch them, they’re like a lava lamp!

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