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  • Writer's pictureSierra Combs

The best time to get a second puppy?




Puppies are so cute! I think we all agree on this. Adding a new puppy to your home is always tempting but are you ready?


Adding a second puppy should always be a well-thought-out process. Let's explore the key factors that should influence your decision. You want to make sure this is the best choice for you and your current 4-legged family member.


The age of your current dog: Is your current dog still too young to be fully trained? If they aren't fully trained do you struggle to find time each day to train them?


Is your current dog older and struggling with health issues? Are you able to meet their needs with the added expense and time consumption of a puppy who needs vet visits, training, and lots of attention for the first few months?


Compatibility

Has your current dog reached sexual maturity and has developed a stable, adult temperament before you add to the family? This may not be as important with well-bred dogs of known ancestry and temperament but if you are adding a puppy to a home with a dog whose history is unknown many things can develop as the dog ages.

Is your current dog fixed? Unwanted litters are 100% preventable. If your current dog hasn't reached an appropriate age to be fixed it may not be ideal to add a puppy to the home of the opposite sex. It would be quite irresponsible.

How does your current dog react to other dogs? Are they eager to play? Nervous, shy, or maybe aggressive? How are they with dogs entering their home?

Consider the ideal age gap between your dogs. Puppies are typically high-energy and require significant attention and training. If you have an older dog, evaluate whether they are capable of handling a young energetic puppy.


Consider your current dog's temperament, energy level, and how they socialize with other dogs. Does your current dog have any behavior problems such as barking, destruction, aggression, or fearfulness?


Dogs that live in groups naturally establish a social structure (or pecking order). This maintains order, reduces conflict, and promotes cooperation among group members.

Getting a playmate for your dog does not solve behavior problems. In fact, in most cases, the problems will intensify. If your current dog has behavioral issues most likely a puppy will not fix them. This doesn't mean you can never add another dog it means you have things to work on prior.


Lifestyle

Take some time to observe how your existing pets fit into your daily life.


Exercise/training: Do you find time to provide the needed amount of exercise and training your current dog needs?


Work schedule: Does your work schedule allow for time to devote to caring for an added dog? Feeding, pottying, and walking a 2nd dog can add time to daily routines. Especially if you are already struggling to find that extra 30 minutes each morning to feed, water, potty, and take your current dog for a quick walk or even play fetch in the yard before work.


Expenses: Double the vetting, feed bill, training costs, toys, and boarding fees. Are you financially able to afford two dogs? Maybe you need to look hard at your current budget and see if there are things you can do without to afford the added cost of the second dog. It's crucial to budget not only for your dog's everyday needs but also for unexpected veterinary expenses that may arise. Having a financial safety net can provide peace of mind and ensure that both your pups receive the best care possible. Not only do you need to be able to afford the care of your new dog once you get them but also the upfront cost of adding the second dog in the first place.


Space: Do you have room in your home for two dogs? Is there room in your home for two crates? Do you have room in your backyard for two dogs to play or are you going to need to find a space for your dogs to safely play, run, and exercise near your home? Does your car have room to fit multiple dogs and their crates for trips?


Legal Issues and Available Facilities: Local regulations often limit the number of dogs a person can keep on a residential property. You'll want to check this out before adding another dog, rather than risk having to give up a dog after it has become a member of your family. Check local laws, neighborhood covenants, landlord agreements, and liability insurance limitations for your situation.


Is everyone in your household in agreement: It is best to ask everyone in your home what they think on the subject and find out if it meets everyone's needs. Is one person solely responsible for the current dog's care or is it a shared responsibility? How does each family member feel about the added care of a 2nd dog? If the main caregiver is not on board it is probably not a good idea.


Pros of owning two dogs

After you have considered everything we discussed above let's go over the pros of two dogs.

Two or more dogs who are compatible can provide exercise and mental stimulation for each other. This works best when they are of similar size and activity level, and both are well-trained.

Two or more dogs can provide each other with dog-to-dog social interaction. This daily contact with their species can help keep their ability to communicate with other dogs in good shape.


If you love dogs having a second dog can add joy to your household. Learning each dog's personality traits and getting to spend time with each dog separately can bring twice the joy.


Second dog Syndrome

Second dog syndrome, also known as survivor dog syndrome (SDS), is when someone is disappointed with the intelligence of their new dog compared to their first.

It is not fair to expect your 2nd dog to be a cookie-cutter example of your first dog. Even if the 2nd puppy has the same parents they will still have varying temperaments and traits.


Often families feel they have the advantage of all of the experience they gained while training the first dog and expect the second dog to be easier. This is not always the case as past experiences may vary depending on the first dog's environment and level of commitment to training.


Maybe you spent more time with your first dog individually. Maybe you enrolled in a 6-8 week training course with your first dog and 5-6 years later you decided to train your 2nd dog yourself and skipped out on important skills early on?


Next, if your first dog was the only dog it is important to remember that 'second' dogs often have a stronger bond with the other dogs in the household than with their owners. The lack of good relationships with owners can mean that the dog isn't as social as they would like, doesn't listen to commands, and gets into trouble by acting independently. You need to commit to time to train and bond with the new dog separately.


When adding a second dog to the family it is important to look at not only what you want but what is right for both dogs that will be living in your household


In short, deciding to bring home a new dog should take time. Remember that your 2nd dog deserves all of the love and opportunities the first dog had along with fixing things you may have noted you could have done better with the first dog.


With that, I think our next blog post will be about how to introduce a second dog into your home properly. Stay tuined!

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