I love having multiple dogs – the most I’ve had is 3 at once but my parent’s dogs are also a regular part of family so that gets us up to 5 in lots of situations. I love the different dynamics, the different personalities and the different ages and all that brings. However, adding a new member to your family should be considered carefully and I wanted to share my thoughts about doing this.
Firstly, have you considered if your existing dog would actually like to have another dog? For example, if they are older and you are wanting a pup – this is fair? Pup won’t have any manners and will just want to play and rough and tumble all day, and your older dog really might not find that fun. What happens if they don’t get along? Have you thought through the fact you might need to have a divided house? Could you cope with this?
When people ask for my opinion on whether a second (or third, fourth) is the right choice then my first response is you only get another dog if you personally want one. You don’t get one just as a play mate for your existing dog. It doesn’t make life easier!!!
Adding another dog means twice the work, twice the time, twice the money. Whatever time you spent raising and training your first dog, your second dog also needs this same amount of 1 on 1 time plus your existing dog shouldn’t miss out so want time with you too. Food, insurance and vet bills will double. If you get a pup then they need to be walked separately, socialised and trained separately (so they don’t become too dependent on your older dog) and then your older dog still needs their longer walks and training/play time. Yes, after some time you can do walks together (when pup is able to do longer walks) but it’s really important to still have 1 on 1 time throughout their whole lives. I recommend a minimum of a 2 year ago gap if you are getting a youngster so that they have time to mature and time to learn their own training skills.
If you rehome a dog, then you need to spend time doing gradual introductions and make sure both dogs are comfortable with each other. Comfortable to share you, space, food, toys etc. This process can take some time. Training them both to walk nicely on lead when in the company of a second dog, especially if one doesn’t have any learning yet, will be a challenge. Can you hold 2 dogs if they both pull perhaps if they see something exciting like a squirrel?
I always like to try to make sure existing dog takes priority – their life shouldn’t be negatively impacted if I want to add another dog to my household. However, the new one usually needs the most amount of your time initially, so be prepared to allow the time and space to give both dogs what they need.
We had a foster dog recently that didn’t get on with Cuba (my male dog) so we had to separate the house (closed doors) to keep everyone happy and safe. We did this for 9 weeks and honestly, I found this really stressful; I was worried about a mistake being made with an open door and the dogs having a fight. I felt guilty not giving all the dogs as much time as I would have liked. I know lots of people that do live with a spilt house, but it’s not something I would like to have long term. Thankfully he has now found a new home and is now very happy with his new family.
This isn’t a ‘please don’t do this’ type of blog. Social learning, so your older dog showing the younger one the ropes, is definitely a thing. It can make some things easier as you don’t have to show your new dog all the ‘house rules’. However, I do find the new dog usually just learns all the things that from your other dog that you wish they didn’t!!!
I love sharing my life with dogs and feel very blessed to work with all your dogs too and knowing that each and everyone is so unique and really can give us such joy and pleasure.
PS The photo is of Pauline who recently added a second Corgi to her household, and this is one of her first walks where she is confident walking both dogs together 😊 I love supporting people to achieve their goals of a happy relationship with their dog – no matter how many they have.