Post # 1
So Darling Husband and I might be contemplating getting a second dog. Our current dog is 3 years old, 65 pounds, neutered male, and loves to play with other dogs. I am leaning towards getting a 1-2 year old, 30-50 pound dog. I’m not set on any particular breed; I’m looking more for the right personality.
Does anyone have advice on bringing a second dog into the home? My concerns are:
- My dog likes other dogs around, but does anyone have advice on how he might react when he figures out this dog is not just visiting?
- My dog is very well-behaved currently; is bringing in another dog likely to lead to behavioral changes?
- Any advice on anything else I might not have thought of?
Post # 3
How he reacts to another dog living with you depends on your dog and his personality. Most dogs, being pack animals by nature, enjoy having other canine companions as part of the family, but some do not. Most adjust pretty well, and pretyt quickly, but there may be some jealousy issues, (like, you’re petting Dog 2 and Dog 1 gets jealous and tries to push Dog 2 out of the way). Introducing the dogs on neutral territory can help this, (like at a park, or if you’re adopting from a shelter, at the shelter). We’ve done foster care for dogs, and had a couple people who already had a dog in the family bring the dog to our house to meet the foster dog.
Doing obedience class with both dogs is a good idea as well. It helps reinforce good behavior and listening to you as the pack leader.
As far as behavioral changes…dogs can learn behavior from each other. This is good when the behavior is good, but can be bad when the behavior is undesirable. I have heard of people who had dogs who didn’t bark bringing a new dog into the home who barked a lot, and suddenly their first dog found its voice. These behaviors can be temporary, or they may be permanent, depending on if they are reinforced or not.
As foster families, we’ve had a lot of dogs come and go. At the time we adopted our current dog, he was the only dog. He has a laid back personality, and accepted the other dogs’ arrival and departures. Yes, there were a few squabbles, but nothing major. If you have a dog who is more dominant, it would be a good idea to find a dog who isn’t dominant…two dogs fighting for the top position isn’t fun to deal with.
As and FYI, many rescue groups have foster-to-adopt programs that might be a good idea in your situation. Basically, you agree to foster the dog for the group, with the intention of adopting the dog if it works out with your family/resident dog. If things don’t work out, you just foster the dog until a forever family comes along.
Post # 4
@Miss Apricot: Thank you for your response! I can see our dog being whiny and passively jealous at times. The behavioral changes do concern me somewhat. Right now he doesn’t bark, get in the garbage, take things off the counter, etc. He’s pretty easygoing. I was thinking of trying to find a dog that he would be dominant over, though. I think that would make the transision easier?
I may look into foster to adoption programs in my area. Thank you!
Post # 5
Just so you don’t freak yourself out too badly, our dog is a well-behaved dog. We’ve had foster dogs who barked a lot, foster dogs who had potty accidents on the floor, foster dogs who counter-surfed, foster dogs who chewed things, (destroying both stuffies and things they shouldn’t be chewing on, like the TV remote). Through it all, our dog hasn’t picked up a single bad habit from any of them. When we moved into our current house, we had the carpets cleaned professionally, and the guy found a couple pet stains from the previous owners. He said one of the benefits of them treating the stains was that my dog wouldn’t smell that and have accidents in our house…I laughed and told him we weren’t worried about that, that we’d had plenty of doggy accidents with our foster dogs and our dog never once pottied in the house because of it, (it IS a legitimate concern, and one of the main reasons pets soil in the house).
So don’t worry about it too much, just be aware that it CAN happen.