Post # 1
My husband and I are talking about getting a second dog sometime after Christmas – we are visiting family for Christmas and because everyone is bringing their dogs there will already be 7 dogs in one house so we don’t want to bring a new dog into such a chaotic environment. We think our current dog would be happier with a companion around and I will be starting to work from home in January so it seems like good timing.
I’d love to get some tips/advice for adding a second dog to the mix! We will be looking for an adult dog, not a puppy if that makes any kind of difference.
Post # 2
I would recommend researching decompression phase for adoptive dogs. It’s usually about a 2 week period for them to adjust to the new enviroment, some shorter and some a little longer.
Post # 3
We did that with our first dog who we adopted from a shelter so we feel like we have a pretty good handle on that – it’s part of why we won’t be getting a new dog before Christmas.
Post # 4
Make sure you introduce your dogs in a neutral zone (e.g. not your house). If you can, try to have them meet several times before you bring the new dog home. This helps them to figure out their pecking order before you force them to share a space.
Otherwise a quick google search will bring up lost of resouces about adding a second dog to the family
Post # 5
Make sure to keep your new pup away from your other for at least a week to watch for illnesses. This is a very common mistake. Shelters are a place of close containment areas and illnesses are easily spread. Symptoms can be hidden for up to a week so your pup could be sick and contagious before showing any symptoms. A very common virus in shelter animals is parvo and it is highly contagious and deadly. Make sure your current pup has all his/her shots three weeks before you bring in your new pup as well because the shots usually take 2-3 weeks before being fully effective. And shots do not cover every illness so still consider a week quarantine. Congratulations on looking to accept a new pup into your home! I am so glad there are people like you adopting older dogs and giving them a forever home!
Post # 6
Agreed with PP about having the dogs meet in a neutral zone, several times if possible. When we introduced our dogs, there were territorial issues at first and we had to keep a close eye on them and have lots of distractions (toys/treats on opposite sides of the room) until they got used to each other. Now they are the best of friends. I also recommend lots of positive reinforcement for good behaviour and taking them to do fun activities together (e.g. going on hikes, going to the beach, off leash parks, etc.).
Post # 7
Think thoroughly about your dog’s personality and how s/he interacts with other dogs that come over and this should give you an indication of any “toubleshooting” you may need to do.
E.g. over-excitement, territorial/possessive, jealous of affection, etc
Our dog is very social and has great social skills. She’s often lived in situations with another dog. However she is not great about sharing “her” things. She’s not aggressive just very watchful of other dogs near “her” things and will run over to take back possession before the other dog can “steal” it. E.g. her bed – if another dog goes near her bed she’ll run over and lie down on it.
So when a new dog comes over we make sure to have lots of treats so that as the dog is exploring and sniffing the new environment, we give her a treat anytime the dog goes near ‘her’ stuff. This allows the new dog to explore uninterrupted, prevents any accidental scuffle/tension, and reinforces to our dog “new dog going near your stuff is a good thing! yummy treat!”. (Also, giving new dog some space while they explore the new environment is also good practice – your dog will want to investigate new dog but new dog should be given uninterrupted “explore” time as EVERYTHING is new to him)
It sounds like your dog is quite social and exposed ot other family dogs so you should be able to watch him/her closely over the holidays to come up with a game plan for any “watch outs”.
Also, giving the new dog a space that is all his/hers often works well. Especially if your dog is an over-excited individual. A bed/corner where current dog isn’t allowed to follow or interact so that new dog has a quiet escape spot if they want it. When pickign up a new dog I bring “their’ bed to the shelter with me so that on the drive home the dog is on that bed and it’s already starting to smell like them. Typically if I then place the bed somewhere in the house they already know they can use it because it smells like them. I then use their bed as their “safe space” – current dog isn’t allowed to go over and interact with new dog if new dog is on the bed. I also have the two sleep in different areas at night until I’m confident in their relationship.
Post # 8
I second the watch for illness to prevent it from spreading! When we foster to adopted our second dog we noticed him sneezing a lot, we thought it was allergies as we had never been around a dog with kennel cough. The vet I took him to for a checkup was so worried about proving my thoughts on other things wrong that she never listened to his lungs or did a complete exam of the sneeze… leading me to believe it must just be allergies of some sort. My rescue owner called to check on him a couple days later and she immediately knew what I was describing as kennel cough! Luckily our other dog was vaccinated for this so she didn’t catch it, but she is older and would not likely have survived had she come down with it.
We didn’t wait the full week to introduce, I think the decompression guides do give guidance on when to introduce pets to each other… and then realized if we would have followed it a little more closely we wouldn’t have had the scare with our older dog.