Do You Have a Well-Behaved Dog?
Are there any behavioural problems with your dogs? Before adding another one to your pack, it would be best to address those first.
Dogs with aggression, resource guarding issues like food aggression, or anxiety will affect your new dog. There is always the possibility that a dog will pick up behaviours from the dog you have at home.
Many believe getting a second dog will solve your first dog's behavioural problems. There is almost no evidence that this is the case, and adding another pet to their environment can worsen things. Suppose your dog has even just one behavioural issue. In that case, I'd wait until that dog is fully trained to avoid escalating the situation.
Is Your Dog Good With Other Dogs?
Despite their well-behaved nature, some dogs dislike the company of other dogs. When you're alone with your dog, he's well-trained. But what happens when there is another pup in the picture?
Try taking your dog to a dog park or doggy daycare if he isn't used to playing with other dogs. Watch their body language and posture for signs of aggression and redirect their attention as needed. If your dog shows aggression or fear, you may need to socialise your current dog before adding another.
When people are unsure how their dog will react to other dogs and are committed to getting another dog, I recommend they foster and try it out. By fostering a dog, they can learn how to live with it while also saving the dog's life, which is mutually beneficial. It might be a good idea to foster if you are still unsure.
What's Your Dog's Age?
Just like kids, dogs' ages can influence their relationships. While some people prefer to have two dogs close in age, others believe it's best to bring a second pup into the family when the first is older. In reality, there isn't a hard-and-fast rule.
Getting a second dog is not necessarily the best idea when your first dog is a senior dog since most senior dogs want to spend time with their owners in a quiet setting. You might want to consider a puppy if your senior dog still has plenty of energy. The arrival of a puppy upsets the entire balance of the house.
Do You Have Medical Issues With Your Dog?
It can be challenging for both dogs and their owners to navigate illness. Check with your vet if adding another dog would be detrimental to your dog if it has a medical condition. If you're worried that a second dog might harm your existing dog or undermine their treatment, it's best to wait to bring a new dog into your home until you're sure they'll be safe together.
Additionally, remember that an additional pet will require more time and money and extra attention and costs for maintaining your existing dog. Consider your options carefully if you already lack either of those resources. Get a better understanding of dog ownership costs.
At the moment, you might find yourself at home more than usual with your dog. Consider how often you will be home and available to your dogs both now and in the future before you decide whether to get another dog. Two dogs require individual attention and dedicated time from you.
Many people get dogs or an extra dogs because they are homebound, lonely, and can't travel. All of these things might be short-term. Therefore, you need to ask what will happen when you return to work.
Can you still give them individual attention? Can your dogs stay home alone all day if you leave them alone? Whenever you have to travel, who will look after your pups? Since the start of the pandemic in Australia, some pets have been home with their owners 24/7. In the future, if things drastically change, new pets joining your family may experience a nasty case of separation anxiety due to a false sense of what to expect from you.
Find out what separation anxiety issues in dogs look like and how to treat them.
While you may be home around the clock, staying with your dog is quite different from training, walking, and fun activities like playing fetch. Getting a new dog will require lots of quality one-on-one time together, so you should ensure you can devote this time.
Dogs need two things from us: time (plenty of time) and commitment. While they don't need us to be glued to their skin 24 hours a day, give them what they need in terms of energy and attention.
If you are often busy with other tasks at home - working a demanding job, for example, or caring for young children - now is not the best time to double your dog duties.
Is there space for a second dog in your house?
Many factors determine whether your dogs have enough space, including where you live and how big and active they are. For example, Great Danes are huge dogs, but they're super lazy, so they may not need as much space as a Golden Retriever, who's not lazy and wants to run around.
Nevertheless, getting another dog is only a good idea if you have enough space to give each of them their own neutral space.
As you and the dog get to know each other, every dog should have a safe space all to themselves. The last thing you want is for either of them to get territorial and take their frustration out on the other.
When it comes to space, you also need to think ahead. It is wise to consider your living situation in 12 months and whether having two dogs instead of one will be easier.
Are You Able to Afford a Second Dog?
It can be a worthwhile decision to add another dog to your family, but it can also be expensive. Dog care involves a long list of expenses, including vet bills (expected and unexpected), food, grooming, daycare, and more.
If you think getting a second dog will only slightly increase your budget, think again. Most likely, it will cost twice as much. It's not just a little bit more.
Although many pet insurance providers will offer discounts to multi-pet households, the size and breed of the dogs can affect rates. For example, you'll have to add the cost of your new pet's medical care to the cost of your current pet's. Be prepared to double the cost of regular medications like flea and tick preventative treatments. You'll also likely spend twice as much on dog food as you do now.
Most of the cost issues can be solved through education and planning. A pet savings account or even pet insurance can make a massive difference if you plan.
10 Years from Now, Will You Still Want a Second Dog?
If you're a dog parent, you already know the responsibilities of having family dogs. A second dog means even more responsibility in the long run. Think about where you'll be in 10 years. Maybe even five? How will your life be? Can you imagine what your home will look like? Can your family grow?
The last question is a big one. Consider whether you will have children in the future because that can really disrupt your second dog setup. Taking care of two dogs on their own can be challenging, but adding young children to the mix can be both time-consuming and stressful. The good news is that plenty of families have kids and multiple dogs so that they can manage everything at once. Ultimately, the question is, is this combination of responsibilities right for you?
The decision to get a dog won't just be based on your personal preferences if you share your home with other family members or roommates. Your entire household needs to be committed to getting another dog, so you should wait until everyone agrees.
As well as deciding whether to get a second dog, it would help if you discussed how the new dog's responsibilities would be divided. The entire family must be on the same page when training a dog. Otherwise, the dog will become confused, and you won't be able to make any progress.
Having a second dog in your home can be exciting and rewarding, but it is a decision that should not be taken lightly. Before you decide whether to get another dog, consider all the possible scenarios. Prepare for the unexpected. Just because you've done well with one dog doesn't mean you'll do the same with another.
A second dog can be a very welcome addition to your family. There is no perfect time to get a second dog; you can make it work if you put the time and effort in.Adding a dog can be a life-changing decision for humans and dogs already in the house.
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Just make sure you consider all these questions and think about them carefully. A happy dog with a happy family is a happy ending.