Whoever is in a well-functioning dog-human relationship and has a lot of joy with his four-legged friend, may be toying with the idea of doubling this happiness. If you have decided to bring a second dog into your life, there are a few things to consider so that your dream of a second dog can come true without any problems.
By the presence of a second dog your everyday life changes significantly. Besides the many advantages, there are also many challenges that come with the addition of a second dog. It is important that you consider the needs of both four-legged friends and that you meet the right requirements for living together with two dogs.
Advantages of a multi-dog household
- Dogs play with their conspecifics in a different way: Although dogs have a lot of fun playing with their favorite humans, they also need the exchange with their animal colleagues.
- Dogs can keep each other busy. The dogs sometimes feel less abandoned or bored when you have to leave the house or when you have less time.
- Two dogs can give each other security and well-being.
- Watching two happy, cheerful dogs interact is a wonderful experience for all dog lovers.
However, these benefits only come about when the dogs are a good match and work as a duo. Furthermore, you must always be aware that a second dog, besides the additional financial burden, also brings a lot of effort and work. Without careful planning and design of all joint activities, a second dog can be stressful for all involved and can massively affect your quality of life.
A second dog should not be taken as a problem solver. If your dog has problems with being left alone, a second dog should not be utilised as troubleshooter. On the contrary, it can happen that the dogs copy each other’s fears and behavior patterns.
Family addition – Yes or no?
The purchase of a second dog needs to be well considered. Therefore, you should ask yourself whether your darling would like to have a second conspecific with him and whether he would be able to cope with a second dog. Many dogs are simply not made for multi-dog keeping. An additional fur-nose in the household can also simply mean pure stress for your darling.
Whether a dog can easily cope with a new family member depends not only on its breed, sex, character and age, but also on its physical and psychological condition: In case of illness, anxiety problems, stress, strong jealousy and other problems that are not compatible with a second dog, you should definitely show empathy for your darling. Even if this means giving up the dream of a second dog.
You also have to think carefully whether you can find enough time for two dogs. Of course, with a second dog not only the pleasure increases. Also the amount of work mounts with every dog and your living together gets a whole new dynamic. It is hard work to get two dogs used to each other and to observe, manage and train their behaviour carefully. Especially in the first phase of getting used to each other, you should invest a lot of time to adjust to each other together. This requires a lot of patience and organizational skills, especially in the beginning.
Every dog wants to spend individual time with you. If you have several dogs, you have to train and walk each one individually, because the contact to you is worth a lot for your four-legged friends.
No reason to get a second dog is loneliness: Just because your dog is often alone, you should not get another animal. Instead, you should find more time for your treasure or find a help (animal sitter, etc.) to keep him occupied. Some people even hope that a second dog will take over the education for his first. However, it is very likely that in this case both dogs will develop undesirable behavior. The responsibility for an animal must never be taken carelessly.
Correct partner search – Which dog fits best?
Before deciding on a second dog, you should clarify a few basic questions.
- Does your sweetheart prefer males/females?
- Are the dogs neutered/non-neutered and/or same-sex and is it possible to separate the dogs spatially?
- What role does age play? Does your darling like puppies or are they too tempestuous for him?
- Does your dog prefer restrained or active dogs?
- Are there any breeds that your furry nose cannot cope with?
- Would your dog prefer to be a single dog?
Before moving in, you also have to deal with the upcoming challenges of everyday life. Think carefully about the problems your first dog will have to overcome and what you have to teach him before a second one joins you.
For example, if your sweetheart is annoyingly announcing when someone is at the door, you should work on this problem before a second dog moves in. Otherwise it could easily happen that in the future two dogs will bark at the door in a race.
Tips for introducing the dogs to each other
- It is better getting to know a new dog colleague too slowly than too quickly. Negative experiences, which are made at the beginning, can disturb the relationship between both dogs lastingly. To make a good start, you can visit your new dream dog together before you bring him into your home.
- Get to know each other on neutral ground. Do not simply put the new dog into your home, this rarely works well. Rather look for a place where both dogs have never been and let them get to know each other slowly.
- Joint walks with enough time for sniffing, looking around and other quiet activities slowly build up the relationship between the dogs. In contrast to wild play, there is less risk that the mood will change and both dogs start to fight.
- If everything goes well, enter the apartment together after the walk.
- Offer your two pets enough space so that they can avoid each other if necessary. Each dog should have its own place of retreat. Nursery schools can be helpful in many ways.
- At the beginning, you should try to create as many positive associations as possible with the presence and approach of the new family member. For example through food, stroking and exciting activities.
Rules for a happy multi-dog household
- In order to meet the needs of both dogs properly, individual walks are advisable. These walks allow you to observe your dog better, to get involved with him, to recognize changes in behavior earlier and to train him without distraction. In this way you can also prevent that one dog does not want to be alone without the other.
- A successful coexistence also means that you are aware of your responsibility to foresee/prevent conflicts: Dogs should not have to deal with conflicts among themselves. Otherwise there is the danger that the dogs do not understand each other anymore or even that they get hurt. If there are signs of stress and discomfort you have to help. Then you should separate the dogs briefly. If the dogs cannot rest together, you should also establish certain relaxation rituals to avoid conflicts.
- Do not leave important resources lying around (food, toys, …) that your pets could fight over. A
- Name game can help: Before the resources are distributed, you say the name of the respective dog. Then the dogs always know who is next, this prevents frustration and quarrels.
- Avoid leash chaos: The ability to walk on a leash should be trained individually before practicing walking together.
- You should also distribute your affection fairly: Don’t give either of your pets the feeling of being preferred. Otherwise this can quickly lead to jealousy and insults.
- Whether a second dog would bring more advantages in your home and how to get both dogs ideally used to each other, you can discuss with a dog trainer, who will be happy to assist you with his or her expertise.
In a household with two dogs, things can go haywire. Important resources such as toys, food, space, access to master/sitter should never become a topic of dispute between your two treasures. Your love, as well as treats and toys, should be distributed fairly. If everyone gets the same attention and the mutual approach is positively linked, there is nothing to threaten your happy cohabitation. The basic prerequisite for this is that your two dogs get along well. For humans as well as animals applies: Sometimes two individuals simply cannot stand each other! If both dogs can “smell” each other, fit well together and are well accustomed to the living with a second dog, nothing stands in the way of a harmonious relationship and your family will finally have a additional member.