Last Friday I was in Ball Ground with a new Home Dog Training client and his Boxer named Rosebud. Rosebud was just a puppy, so we spent most of our first lesson working on potty training, nipping, manners, and socialization. She was very smart and was making very good progress. My client also understood what he needed to accomplish in order to be Rosebud’s caregiver and leader. He was on a long way to building that all important relationship that will last a lifetime. As we were finishing up, he mentioned that having Rosebud was one of the best experiences in his life. He wondered if getting another dog would be good for Rosebud.
From time to time, our clients ask our opinion about getting a second dog. I always like to tell them the story of a client I had many years ago. Manny had me come out and start training him and his Jack Russell, Brownie. This was his first dog and he wanted to do everything right.
Even though Jack Russells are normally very crazy and high strung, Brownie was very calm and obedient. He quickly learned all his commands and was just a great dog. Without mentioning anything to me, Manny thought “If one dog is good, two will be great” and he got another Jack Russell.
The next time I came over to train Brownie, the place was a complete wreck. The dogs had started going to the bathroom in the house, baseboards were chewed, pillows were destroyed, and on and on. It appeared that Manny’s second dog turned out to be just crazy and insane. The problem was that the new dog taught Brownie to be crazy and insane. It took many months of retraining and redirection to get things back to even a reasonable sense of normalcy.
I use this example to let my clients understand that even though they may have the best intentions and they can see absolutely no reason why a second dog would be great; it is not a sure thing. If any of my clients are really thinking about a second dog, I suggest they consider the following:
- If they feel that their dog is “lonely”, what if they just take him to a great doggy daycare several times a week. I have seen great social and behavioral results with adding this activity in a single dog’s schedule.
- Are they willing to spend at least 50% more “doggie time” with their current and new dog? They still need to maintain leadership, establish calm focus, and create a lasting bond between them. This takes time. With two dogs, it takes more time.
- Do they have the space where two dogs can actively run and play? If that space isn’t the back yard, are they willing to let the dogs “go crazy inside”?
- Can or are they willing to take on the expense of another dog? Heartworm medicine, regular checkups, and all those doggie goodies add up quickly.
- Are there any rules where they live that may disallow more than one dog?
- Dogs use barking as a form of communication. That means that there is the distinct possibility that they will become vocal between each other. Are they willing to accept this or spend the time to correct it?
- If they often travel, can the find a place that will accept two dogs? Many places have a “single dog” limit.
- Very important! Does their dog like other dogs?
These are just a few things for them to think about. If they still are dead set on getting another dog. I suggest that they first have the two dogs meet in a neutral place for several play dates. They should make sure that the dogs can get along and play well together.
Next, I suggest that they bring the other dog home for a two or three night “stay over”. This is a “dress rehearsal” for what their lives will probably be like with two dogs. If they see any inappropriate behavior, they can make the appropriate decision after weighing those challenges.
You need to remember that there is an entire new set of dynamics when you go from having one dog to two dogs. We encourage you to call us at (770) 718-7704 it you are in need of any dog training help. We have a lot of excellent dog training advice at Best Dog Trainers Ball Ground Georgia. You can get all our phone numbers, text addresses and email contacts at Dog Training Help Center Ball Ground Georgia.