Robin and I were at a new Home Dog Training client in Gainesville last week.  We had a great session working with him and his Bernedoodle named Wally.  Wally was a great dog and our client was thrilled with this relatively new “mix breed”.  He was so excited about Wally that he was getting ready to go back to the breeder and get another dog.  Since he was so thrilled with Wally and even more excited because we had help to make Wally a well behaved and obedient dog, he had a question for us.  He was wondering that, even though he really wanted another dog, what to expect.  If one was great would two be really great?  Was Wally the “best Bernadoodle in the world” and would a second one be a disaster?  Since they are big dogs, he was concerned on what unexpected things could come into play with more than one dog.

We always tell out clients that the very first thing they must think about before getting a second dog is if they are ready for the additional responsibilities of having a second dog. Their friend that was OK in baby sitting one dog while they were off for the weekend might want to watch two dogs.  The places they normally vacation that don’t mind it when they bring one dog might not accept another dog.  They must remember that their Vet bills and dog food bills will now be twice as much.  Their HOA might not accept a second dog.  Do they even have the time for a second dog? Their home owner’s insurance could go up by a good amount.  All these are real life things that our client needs to consider before they even continue their thoughts about more doggies.

Let’s say that our client thinks about all the things I just mentioned, if fine with all the points, and wants to move on towards getting a second dog.  Our client needs to consider his current dog’s temperament and the type of breed he may want to get.  Here are some tips:

  • If your dog is dog aggressive, territorial, or over protective of you, a second dog is a bad idea.
  • If your dog is kind of a “couch potato” or over seven years old, we suggest that you dong’t get a puppy that will be super active.
  • It is best that the second dog is about the same size as your current dog.  This will make play time safer for both of them.
  • It is important that both dogs have been neutered or fixed.
  • If you don’t want “crazy”, don’t even think about Jack Russel’s, Boxers, Labs, or Dalmatians.  (Great dogs, just high energy!)  

So you have thought through these things and are ready to start the actual dog search. Robin and I have more guidelines for you:

  • Have a family meeting and ask the simple question, “What kind of dog to you guys want?”.  Dogs you have had in the past, favorite neighbor dogs, or the “I always wanted a …” are the answers mostly heard.  Search the internet and research these breeds to see if there are any “drop dead” issues that would cross them off your list. 
  • Small children and high energy, crazy dogs are not a good fit.
  • Large dogs should be crossed off the list if you live in an apartment or have a tiny back yard.
  • A dog that required a lot of continual exercise is not a good fit if you often travel or work long hours.
  • The local Humane Society, Animal Shelters, and Rescue Groups are the best places to locate your dog.  There are so many great dogs already out there, it really isn’t necessary to go to the pet stores or local breeders.

So you have found your dog and he appears to meet all the above criteria.  It is time to see if the fit is really there.  Before you bring him home, you need to get your current dog’s approval. Here come some more guidelines:

  • Have your current dog and your potential dog meet at the Breeder, Shelter, Humane Society, or Rescue location.  Do it in a fence enclosed, outside environment and have both doggies on leashes.  Let them come close to each other and sniff.  If there is any sign of fear or aggression, separate them and try again.  Once they are “used to each other”, drop the leashes and let them to be free.  Be close at hand if they become aggressive.  If you have to, step on the leash, pick it up, and separate them.
  • Meet like this two or three times.  If, after three sessions, the dogs still aren’t really happy with each other, it is not a good fit.
  • If they appear OK with each other, it is now time to bring the new dog to your home. Have your new dog and your current dog meet in the front of your home.  Have them sniff eachother and say “Hi”.  Take them together for a little walk around the block.
  • Next, take your current dog inside the house to an open area in sight of the front door.  Bring the new dog in the house and let the two of them meet again.  Walk them around the house (on leashes).  Now you can drop the leashes but still keep both of them in sight.
  • Take both dogs to the back yard and let them play.  Use new toys so that there will not be a “possessive issue” with your current dog.
  • Feed them separately for the first few days.  After that, try feeding them together (much easier) while being on the lookout for any food possessive/aggression issues.

The secret here it to take it slow so that you can see what is happening and also let the dogs tell you if they think it is a good idea.  

Please call Robin or myself at (770) 718-7704 if you would like any dog training information.  We have a lot of good dog training articles at Best Dog Trainers Gainesville Georgia.  Find all our phone numbers, text addresses and email contacts at Dog Training Help Center Gainesville Georgia.