Should you get a second dog?
It’s important when looking at getting a second dog that you are getting one for you, NOT for your dog.
It is such a common misconception that a second dog will fix your first dogs issues.
While it seems like logical sound advice “your dogs just bored, his lonely, having a friend will help with that.” And sometimes it can work out well MOST of the time however it doesn’t.
In reality it adds to the work load, and usually people opt for a younger dog, usually a puppy, not only do you have the first dogs problems to deal with now you have to work through teaching your new dog the basics on top of that you will then be experiencing teething, toilet training, boundary pushing as the pup experiments with the world around him, adolescents – which is where everything you have been teaching your pup some how gets thrown out the window seemingly overnight and he no longer listens to you.
All this can in fact place more stress on the first dog AND you.
Another problem is most people haven’t been able to teach their first dog how to walk really well on lead, which some people are ok with a bit of pulling and that’s fine, I’m not in the business of judging it’s about you and what standard you are happy and content with so if you can comfortable walk your dog and you are motivated to do it regularly great! Do not change a thing, but keep in mind as the second dog reaches it’s full weight and strength that’s now two dogs pulling on the lead, more weight and more pressure on your shoulder, and well body over all really, and on theirs too. To add to that, pulling in some dogs can create emotional tension and heighten their reactions to things that excite or scare them, dogs respond well to one another’s emotions which can work for and against us, so if your first dog doesn’t react well to certain situations out and about but it’s some what tolerable be warned it may heighten with another dog feeding into the first dogs feelings.
Most people I work with who have two dogs knows this reality all too well, sometimes their first dog wasn’t an issue, the things that weren’t perfect were tolerable. Having one dog is easier to let things slide, manage and even train. They weren’t getting a second dog because they felt their dog needed it but because they wanted to add to their family. Awesome! Except all the above still happened.
My advice on adding a second dog to your family, make sure the first one is going to be a great influence, emotionally, mentally and physically before you go ahead with your next dog. That they can walk really well on lead it’s going to make walking and training the next one all the more easy and make sure you are prepared for double the work, an extra dog does not help cure boredom or the need for company and connection, some dogs are more interested in people than other dogs, but what ever you have that’s lacking in your dogs life that is triggering boredom or loneliness in your dog wont be healed by getting another.
Imagine if you were home alone A LOT and someone popped another human in the house with you, for the first few days it would be good, it would be something new, different, your conversations would be fresh and exciting, after some time though of you both repeating the same stuff day in day out you would have less to talk about, feel less motivated to do stuff together and things would just start to feel meh.
If you were however doing things regularly that fulfilled both your needs, exercise, games, seeing new sights and smells, going on little adventures exploring together or just sitting and being somewhere different that would add to the quality of your relationship.
And really whether you have one dog or two that’s what should be happening regardless, you are enough for your dog if you have the right things in place and you both now how to listen to one another and communicate well, when that’s going on, that’s when it is the right time to add another dog, not for your dogs sake but just because you have a lot of love to give and you have the ability and knowledge to manage two dogs.
If you have the right things going on then yes go and get yoself that second dog, it’s twice the fun and cuddles but remember it’s also twice the work x