Adding a Second Dog to your Family by Sue Senn Sniffles and Friends Professional Dog Walkers Philadelphia, PA
Voted BEST DOG WALKERS in Philadelphia FIVE YEARS IN A ROW on PHL17 TV’s Hot List! 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 BEST OF PHILLY 2010, Philly Mag’s Best of Philly Issue http://www.snifflesandfriends.com
Many of us have debated adding a second dog to our households at one time or another Going from a single dog family to living with two (or more) dogs can be a decision that some people will soon live to regret, but this certainly doesn’t have to be the case.
Of course, in this economy we’re all pinching pennies and budgeting more closely than ever before. A second dog is a big added expense. That bouncy, athletic 3-year-old will sometimes get sick, and will eventually get old just like we humans do; so caring for two seniors some day is definitely something to consider – both monetarily and with regard to time management and emotional investment.
Consider choosing to adopt a new dog that is either one year older or one year younger than your current dog. Sometimes it helps reduce the occurrence of “competitiveness” (as sometimes occurs when two puppies from the same litter have been adopted into the same home) if you carefully space out the ages of your dogs.
In choosing the sex of your second dog, consider the personality type of your first dog. Choosing a dog of the opposite sex can sometimes be a good idea; but it often doesn’t make much difference at all. Knowing the right things to keep in mind about your first dog will certainly be helpful in making a decision about selecting the sex of your second dog.
The second dog’s disposition is definitely something that needs to be taken into consideration, especially if you already have a shy/nervous dog. An outgoing, self-confident “party animal” who is comfortable in any social situation can greatly help a more apprehensive dog to gain social skills and to be more inclined to join in and feel at ease. If you are getting a second dog to help your first dog make friends more readily, you may want to consider adopting a dog that is 2 years old or more. A dog this age has already established his personality, as opposed to a younger dog who is still changing and developing socially. This way you know what you’re getting! Of course, remember to ask any pertinent questions of the shelter or rescue from whom you’re adopting. A good foster pet parent has paid close attention and knows all facets of their foster’s personality, good and “challenging” and is happy/eager to share this information with you to ensure that their little love is going to a home where he will fit in successfully and live a happy life with a forever family.
If you and your dog share a liking for an active lifestyle, be sure to choose a second dog that has the activity level and personality that will support the lifestyle to which your family has already become accustomed. For example, if you’re a runner who is used to sprinting 5 miles each day with your Australian shepherd, it might not be a good idea to get a French Bulldog as your second dog and expect him to enjoy joining you on your nightly runs. Similarly, if you and your current dog are social butterflies and enjoy being around lots of other people and other animals, it might not be a good “fit” for you to choose a homebody or more bashful dog, who might not share your enthusiasm for being “out and about”, and prefers being a sofa spud.
Make sure you have enough help. You’ll find that it’s often much easier to find someone to doggy-sit one dog as opposed to two. Be sure to have a reliable and knowledgeable caretaker in place who doesn’t mind watching two dogs at a time. Some dog walkers, daycares, and pet sitters charge extra for a second dog. You may want to check with your family’s doggie caretaker to see if there is an added charge for a second dog or not.
These are just a few points to ponder while deciding what dog is the right fit for your family. Do your homework, research each breed and its personality/health tendencies (and keep in mind that, no matter how much research you do there is always an exception to the rule) – there is no “textbook” dog situation.
Make sure the rescue you’re dealing with is a reputable one, and always run this and any other important question with regard to your pets with your vet!
A second dog is a delightful addition to complete most families as long as it’s been given the thorough and serious consideration and forethought that any major family decision requires!