So, you are thinking of getting another dog?
The first question you must ask before you add another dog into your family is
Why are you getting another dog? Is it because you want one to keep your other dog company when you aren't around? perhaps you have recently lost your dogs companion and are ready to bring a new pup home, maybe you have a "dream dog" that you have always wanted or maybe you think having a companion will help stop your current dog from barking or engaging in destructive behaviours due to anxiety or boredom.
If your reasoning is the latter and your current dog is as gentle on your garden as a gallon of round-up followed up by a landslide, then you can bet your bottom dollar a second dog is only going to add to the carnage.
On the other-hand, if you are sure you can handle another dog in regards to time, money and space and that your current dog enjoys canine company, then by all means - begin the search!
But, what should you look for in second dog? first, you must look at your existing dog.
Is your dog old, small, large, blind or of ill health?
Is your dog shy, nervous, boisterous, high drive?
Is your dog a roughhouse player or gentle snuggler?
Knowing your dog will help you narrow down your options and find a compatible companion for both yourself and your dog.
Older or slower dogs often struggle with the addition of a young pup, unable to speedily remove themselves from the puppies often enthusiastic attention and at times not confident or quick enough in correcting the pup when play gets too rough. While it is certainly possible to integrate a pup into a household with a senior dog, it will require a bit more supervision during the early stages so that you can intervene when you can see your older dog is starting to find the pup overwhelming. Keep interactions short, sweet and supervised.
Next, look at the size and play-style of your current dog, if you have a Chihuahua, then adding a Great Dane to your family may risk what was meant as play or a warning snap turning into a trip to the vet for your little one. Does your dog play nicely with other dogs, freely and eagerly swapping between playing the predator and the prey? or is your dog more of a run-it-down-and-pound-it-into-the-ground player? Make sure that your dogs will enrich each others lives - not endanger them! size and play style matter.
Lastly, take at look at your dogs personality - like people, dogs have different personalities and as we know, personalities can clash. Dogs are not simply carbon copies of their breed stereotypes; at around 7 weeks of age a pups individual personality starts to emerge. If you get the chance to pick a pup from a litter, take the time to observe the litter at play; see if you can identify which pup is the sook, always hiding behind mum, the bully, starting play-fights and jumping all over litter-mates heedless of their protests. The shy one, the lazy one, the brave one, the resilient one who doesn't jump at sudden movements or noises, the submissive one who belly crawls to mum and backs down in a scuffle. Pick a personality type that both you and your dog can handle.
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