Dogs react differently when they are introduced to other dogs. One factor is temperament. A placid dog can react in a certain way. However, a dog with a strong guarding instinct can react in a completely different way. Aside from temperament, the reaction can also depend on whether the needs of the current pooch have been met.
How do you know that your four-legged friend is satisfied with the care you have provided him? Let the following questions be your guide.
3 Important Questions to Ask Yourself before Getting Another Dog
1. Is your first dog completely out of puppyhood and fully trained?
Raising and training a puppy is hard work. Adding another one when your current dog has not yet fully matured takes three times more. Aside from training and supervising your puppies closely, you also have to train both of them to live together. It is not right to think that the dogs will be able to take care of each other’s needs by themselves. You have to spend time with each dog individually to create a bond between you and your dog.
Ensure that your current pooch is well-trained before adding another so that they are less likely to learn bad habits from each other. This way, the experience will not be overwhelming for you.
2. Have you been able to meet his walking/recreational, grooming, and feeding needs?
Have you been able to exercise your current pooch regularly? Have you been able to spend time playing with him? How often have you enlisted extra help to care for your canine housemate?
A dog whose needs have been satisfactorily met is a well-adjusted and secure pet. As such, he is better disposed to having a canine buddy and can live with one harmoniously. If your current dog socialises well, is confident of your affection, and looks happy and healthy, then you can say you have done a good job.
3. Do you know what your current canine companion likes and dislikes?
Do you know what sort of companion would suit him? Your preferences should not be the only consideration in deciding to add a new canine addition. Take note of the age, temperament, and sex of the dogs that your pooch likes to interact with, especially during your walks. How he relates with other canines in such situations should give you enough clues.
Temperament and age are important considerations. Some dog breeds simply do not make good bedfellows on paper and in real life. You can use a dog breed comparison tool to learn more about it. However, there may be exceptions, and that is where your observations in actual dog interactions come into play. Naturally, senior pooches will not find a suitable companion in a puppy or a dog with high energy levels. If your current dog is advanced in age, you should consider a mature or calmer dog.
Tip: It may be better for your new furry friend to be of the opposite sex. Some owners have found male-female partnerships more harmonious than same-sex pairings. This may be because a pack typically has an alpha male and alpha female. Having dogs of the same gender may trigger competition for the top spot. However, according to some behaviour specialists, male-male pairings are better than female-female pairings.
Dog Ownership Considerations in Future Tense
Rehoming dogs, whilst a humane option, is a sad event for both canine pets and owners. As such, it is best to avoid this option as much as possible. Taking your future outlook into consideration before bringing home a new pet is one way to do that. These questions should clarify your multi pet ownership decision further.
- Can you afford the costs of a multi-dog household?
If you need to forego some of the necessary expenses in caring for another pet properly, like veterinary visits and essential dog gear, then you are probably not financially ready for a new canine addition. The same is true if you lack ‘disposable income’ that you can allocate for the care of your furry friends. On average, the annual cost of keeping a canine companion is about £1,700. It includes expenses on toys, vaccination, insurance, collars, and other accessories. This does not include the initial costs of acquiring one. Consider whether you can allocate this kind of amount for the entire lifetime of the second pet.
- Are you going to be busy in the coming months?
If you are going to have more professional or personal responsibilities, you will have to postpone getting a new dog. It will be unfair to both your pet and your commitments if you are unable to juggle your responsibilities sensibly.
Tip: Adding a new dog will significantly affect the household not just financially but in terms of additional work that needs to be done. Make sure that every family member approves before you take home a new pooch.
Start on the Right Paw
After ticking all the boxes to getting a second dog, introducing your current dog to the new one is your next challenge. That is because first impressions do matter with dogs. You can start by bringing both of them on a neutral ground to avoid territorial issues. You can enlist the help of another person for this as each dog must have his own handler during the introduction. It could be the previous owner or a local trainer.
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