Many new dog or puppy owners find that their pet has a lot more energy than they were expecting. The thought of our dogs expending their energy independently playing with another dog throughout the day sounds great, however it doesn't generally work that way.
Even if our dogs do find joy in playing with another dog in the household throughout the day, and they may be having a great time together, this can have vast negative impacts on our relationship with our dogs as they develop into adulthood.
Whether your dog is an adult dog new to your home, a dog you have had for a long time, or a puppy, adding an additional dog to your home is not going to provide any real benefit to the dog.
When Should I Add A New Dog To My Family?
We are not trying to say that you should only every have one dog at a time. Most of our trainers have multiple dog homes. The important thing to consider when you are thinking about adding a dog to your family is that it should be for the benefit of the humans, and not the existing family dog(s).
If you have a very young or adolecent dog in your home already, we do not recommend adding an additional dog until your first dog reaches adulthood. If you are considering adopting a new puppy, we do not recommend getting multiple puppies at the same time.
Having multiple dogs grow from puppy into adulthood together can come with unique challenges. We recommend reviewing our blog post on Littermate Syndrome to better understand the effects of this situation.
Experienced dog training professionals can provide the structure and environment needed to ensure the dogs get the right types of upbringings to manage multiple young dogs in the some home. If you're not sure if you can provide a very structured lifestyle, we do not recommend getting multiple dogs less than a year old at the same time.
Let's say you already have an adult dog and you are considering adding a new dog to your home. Its important to remember that you are adding a new dog because you, as the owner, wants to have an additional dog, and not because you want your dog to have a friend.
Many owners who have a dog that may be struggling with some behavioral issues think that having another dog in the home may help their dog work through their issues. This is not the case!
If your current dog already has any behavioral concerns, this is not the right time add another dog to your home. Behavioral concerns could be anything from fearfulness, lack of confidence, aggression, reactivity, or even separation anxiety.
In the vast majority of cases, if your current dog has behavioral problems, adding another dog to the household can exacerbate these problems. Adding a new dog to your pack with confident, well-behaved dogs can be a delicate situation as it is, and it can become even more difficult if one or both dogs have behavioral concerns.
Behavioral Concerns in Existing Dogs
Just because you have a dog that has some behavioral issues doesn't mean you can't ever hav another dog. Ensuring that a dog with any behavioral concerns has enough training to be able to be under control regardless of their surrounds will be the most important consideration when adding a new dog to the home.
Several of our trainers have one or more dogs that may be have been or have struggled with dog aggression at one point or another. This does not make it impossible to add another dog to the home. Understanding how to run a structured home where all dogs understand that the humans are in charge and make the rules.
Establishing clear and consistent rules is the best way to integrate a new dog into your home and your pack. When you have a dog that may struggle with dog reactivity or dog aggression, its important to understand that your they may not every be best friends with the new dog in their home. However, establishing rules that do not allow for aggression or dangerous behaviors will prevent any future issues.
Have you ever had a coworker that you did not really like or get along with? You had to be around them regularly, but you knew that getting into a fight or making inappropriate comments was against the rules. We try to create similar rules for our dogs. Additionally, we want to ensure that our dogs know that we control and make the rules for all of the things in their lives that they value, including food, toys, water, play, and even training.
Resource Guarding is by far one of the most common issues that owners experience in their homes with multiple dogs. Resource guarding is aggression over something the dog may value such as food, toys, or even people. Once our dogs understand that these things do not belong to them and they don't get to try to exert their control over them, we can prevent aggression from resource guarding to prefer.
When Should You Get Another Dog?
The simple answer is when you are ready and you want one. If you and your existing dog fall into one of the categories we've listed above (have a puppy already, or a dog with behavior problems) and you decide that you are ready to do what is required to add a new dog to your home, no one can stop you. However, its important to understand that if you fall short on what is required to make the new dog successful in your home and your pack, you may be dealing with significant consequences in the future.
When your current dog(s) are fully settled into your home, and are preferably well into their adulthood without any significant signs of behavioral problems, this would be the ideal time to add a new dog to your home if you so desired.
When you have decided that you'd like to add another dog, we always recommend reviewing our guide on choosing and selecting your next dog. First you should really consider why you want another dog as well as consider aspects of your daily life and routine as well as the characteristics of the breed or individual dog that you are considering.
It is very important to be honest with yourself about your lifestyle, daily routine, and how much time and effort you can reasonably expect to dedicate to this new member of your family.
Good reasons to get a dog:
• A partner for outdoor activities like hiking
• For use in hunting
• Home security
• Dog sports and competitions
• Dog shows
Bad reasons to get a dog:
• To teach your children responsibility (its the parents’ job, not the dog’s!)
• Motivate you to be more active (a dog is not a fitness coach, if you weren’t active before, having a dog may not change that)
• Because puppies are cute (they grow up and may not be cute any more)
• Because you saw a professionally trained one on TV (no dog comes trained like the ones on TV, it takes substantial time and work to get there)
• Protection (only a select few dogs have the right genetics to perform this type of work and it takes extensive time and training to perform this type of work)
• Altruism (you shouldn’t adopt/rescue a dog just to make yourself feel good)
If you think that you and your existing dog(s) are ready for a new member of your pack, feel free to give us a call, or send us an email and we can provide resources to help with the process of finding your next dog and integrating them into your home!
Learn more at www.airbornek9.com