Getting a second dog is a big decision and really changes your home dynamic, which makes timing important. This article makes knowing when to get a second dog easy.
The best time to get a second dog is when your existing dog is at an appropriate age and completely trained, your family is on board with the decision, and you have sufficient time to take care of both dogs.
Let’s run through everything you need to think about.
When Is The Best Time To Get a Second Dog?
As you already know, getting another dog is a big decision and will come with a lot of additional responsibility. So getting the timing right is everything.
When people ask me “when” they should get another dog, I ask them 4 simple questions. And this so far has seemed to help them know if they’re ready or not.
4 Things To Consider Before Getting a Second Dog
Remember, it’s easy to kid yourself! So run through each question and try to be honest. What I typically suggest is thinking about the answers for yourself, then asking a family member, partner, or anyone else that will be affected by the decision to get another dog, and see what they honestly think too.
1. What’s The Age of Your Current Dog?
The age of your current dog is significant when thinking about getting a second. Age affects many aspects of a dog’s behavior, health, fitness, and ability to adjust.
If your current dog is reaching his senior years (+10) he’s probably much slower, calmer, less physically able and he may even have a few health issues.
Getting a new puppy is like getting a new ball of energy that’s relentless and feisty. This can be way too much for an older dog who needs a calmer environment and would be unfair.
Extra measures will need to be taken to ensure the elderly dog gets his peace and quiet, remains stress-free and healthy.
Only you know what your current elderly dog is like and whether or not he’ll tolerate a new puppy.
Puppyhood changes depending on your breed but generally speaking a puppy can be considered up to 1.5 years.
Why does this matter?
well, getting a second dog can potentially make your life extremely hard, especially if your first dog isn’t yet properly trained.
Much likes babies, who have a slightly older sibling, they will copy what their partner in crime does. So if your current dog isn’t obedient, makes potty mistakes, chews everything, you can bet your bottom dollar that your new puppy will follow in his footsteps.
Getting a second dog is best when your current dog is house trained and following your commands effortlessly. This will make training the second dog easier, instead of having two naughty pups.
This ties in with our next question…
2. Is Your Current Dog House Trained and Well-Behaved?
The behavior of your current dog will have a huge impact on the behavior of a second dog.
Ensuring your current dog is properly house-trained, will make it easier for your second to dog learn and get everything right much more efficiently.
When your current dog doesn’t make potty mistakes, doesn’t chew things he shouldn’t and is happy to go inside his crate when you tell him, your second dog will see this, and follow what he does.
Sure, there will be mistakes still, but it can’t be put into words just how much easier your life will be if your current dog is properly trained before getting another dog. It’s ridiculous.
It’s not just about house-training either, it’s general behavior and attitude. If you’ve managed to nurture a well-behaved, obedient, friendly dog, getting a second dog will not be an issue, but if your current dog lacks in any of those areas, it’s a wise decision to improve that first before getting a second dog.
3. Do You Have Enough Time For a Second Dog?
This is a big one! and requires you to be really honest with yourself. What’s your schedule like? and are you going to have time?
Getting a second dog (puppy or not) will require a lot of your time and attention.
Many people tend to skip over this part, but the reality is that getting a second dog will require you to give much more (not the same) amount of time that you’re already giving to your first dog.
You’ll need additional time to train the second dog, exercising will suddenly seem like it takes longer, it’s important to visit extra play parks and purposefully socialize the new puppy.
Suddenly you’ll have two dogs to groom instead of one, two dogs to bathe, two dogs to visit the vets, two dogs to feed, and the list goes on. You’ll need to have extra time available.
It’s not fair to get a second dog without being ready to give the required amount of time.
4. Who’s on Board With The Decision?
It’s important for your family and partner to be on board with this decision.
Their lives will also be affected by getting a second dog so they need to be happy about it and willing to help.
A second dog will mean more cleaning, time, money and shared responsibility to care for both dogs.
Even if you think you can do everything, there will eventually be times when you require their help, so they should be aware of that.
Another point to mention again is money. A second dog will mean extra vet bills, double the cost on food, generic pet supplies, and even pet insurance. So ensure you’re family are made aware of this if they’re expected to help with the financial side of getting a second dog.
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Summarized: The Ideal Time to Get a Second Dog
So if we summarize everything, considering the points outlined above, it’s easy to see when getting a second dog is appropriate.
How to know that getting a second dog is the right move:
- Your current dog is no longer a puppy, or too old
- Your current dog is healthy and capable of keeping up with an excitable puppy
- Your current dog is trained, well-behaved and will be a good example
- Your entire family truly wants a second and is ready to share responsibility
- Your schedule is looking pretty empty and you’ll be able to spend additional time to train, socialize, exercise and completely take care of a second dog
- Your finances allow for all your current dog bills to be doubled.
- Your current dog isn’t spending much time alone
If all of those points seem to be the case for you, then getting a second dog will work just fine.
Let’s move on to some of the reasons why getting a second dog may not be a good move.
The Worst Reasons to Get a Second Dog
There are many different reasons for wanting to get a second dog, some are good and some are bad. If you didn’t think there could be a bad reason for getting a second dog, read below!
1. Getting a second dog will keep your first dog company when home alone
Possible one of the most common (yet terrible) reasons for getting a second dog is to keep the first dog company when there’s no one at home.
This is all wrong… Why? because YOU are the one they want.
When you leave the house, no matter if you have one, two, three, or ten dogs, it becomes a waiting game for their leader to return.
Do they keep each other company? Well, yes they do, but only to some extent. It won’t change the fact that when you leave, both of them will be longing for you. Regardless of the fact that they have each other.
A second dog will definitely make your first dog happier but getting a second dog shouldn’t be because you work long hours and your current dog needs company. That’s an issue that will not go away by getting a second dog.
So if your original plan was to keep your current dog company due to being left alone frequently, that issue needs to be resolved first, before getting a second dog.
2. You don’t really want another dog but your kids or partner do
This is a tricky one, but it’s still a bad reason to get a second dog.
Everyone in the household must truly want a second dog in order for it to happen.
Another dog will dramatically change the household dynamic and will affect all family members living in the house.
It would be simply unfair on the second and first dog if there’s someone in the household that doesn’t want or isn’t willing to look after them properly.
Shared responsibility is a huge part of getting a second dog and it must be a mutual decision.
3. You haven’t thought about the financials
Not being able to fully cover the costs is certainly a reason not to get another dog.
Be ready to double everything you’re currently spending on your dog now the moment you bring your second dog home. (and even before in many cases)
Supplies, crates, beds, food, vet bills, insurance, toys, and the list doesn’t stop there!
The truth is that dogs aren’t cheap and it’s important to be honest with yourself about finances and whether or not two dogs can be paid for, for the next 15 years or so.
4. You want two different breeds that don’t work well with each other
If you have your heart set on a certain breed, it must be compatible with your current dog.
Not all breeds get along and certain characteristics and personalities will not match up well with others. It’s exactly the same as it is with us.
If you really want a specific breed but deep down you know it isn’t going to work well, then you must avoid risking that problem.
It’s up to you to pick a breed that will benefit and complement the breed you currently have.
If you ignore this simple fact, you could end up with two dogs that are aggressive to each other, or one could be a constant threat to the other one.
Getting another dog will certainly be a wonderful addition to you and your family, just be sure everyone understands what getting a second dog truly entails.
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