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4 Things to Think About Before Getting a Second Dog

by Dennis ODonnell on April 29, 2020

When we adopted our first dog, Emmett, we were unprepared for his intense separation anxiety. After months of working with trainers and taking him to doggy daycare, we made a decision: Since he loved daycare and hated to be alone, Emmett needed a buddy. So, we adopted our second dog, Lucas. Now, with the benefit of hindsight, we realize that adding a second dog could have been a serious mistake. Here’s why:

Not all dogs are compatible.

Same-species play is an important factor for a full, enriched life—for some dogs. Novice dog owners often assume all dogs just get along. Sure, play stymies boredom, but the second dog has to be chosen carefully to complement the original dog’s personality.

The adjustment period can be intense.

When you bring a new pup home, your original dog may experience jealousy or defensiveness. They need to learn each other’s boundaries, and that can be an intense adjustment for both dogs and people.

Both dogs will need additional support.

One-on-one time with you is critical during the adjustment phase. Keep your original dog’s schedule intact. Walk them individually and together, and monitor playtime. Give both dogs a chance to get used to new routines gradually.

Individual personalities have individual needs.

No two dogs are alike. Each dog needs individual enrichment activities. For instance, Lucas loved puzzles and worked hard to solve them. Emmett preferred to chew toys instead, so it was up to us to deliver what they needed.

Emmett and Lucas ended up best friends, despite a litany of errors in those early days. It can happen, and it’s wonderful when it does. As their person, though, it’s up to you to make sure they get along, respect each other, and receive individualized attention.

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