Going from a single dog household to living with multiple dogs can be a burden and a decision that some people regret, but it doesn’t have to be that way! Last year we made a post about things to consider when thinking about getting a second dog, and I wanted to follow up that article with some more information, specifically what to look for in choosing a second dog.
Age – Depending on the current age of your dog, consider looking for a dog that is at least one year older or younger than your current dog. Spacing out the ages of your dogs can sometimes help reduce competition and other problems that arise with dogs of similar age, similar to when you get two puppies from the same litter.
Male/female - The sex of a second dog really depends on some personality traits of your first dog. Sometimes going opposite sex can be a good thing when getting that second dog, but in some cases it really doesn’t matter. Knowing the right things about your first dog will help you make a decision about selecting the sex of your second dog.
Lifestyle – If you have an active lifestyle with your dog, make sure your second dog has the physical traits that can still support your lifestyle. Here are some examples of my point:
- If you’re a runner and typically run 8 miles a day with your Belgian Malinois, don’t get a Basset Hound as your second dog and expect that dog to join you on your runs
- If you are very social with your dog and are around people, children, and other animals often, maybe a bully breed or typically protective and aggressive breeds should be crossed off of your list*
Personality – The personality of a second dog is very important, especially if you have a shy and nervous dog already. A confident and outgoing “goofball” who is socially stable can greatly help a shy and nervous dog to gain confidence and be brave. If you are getting a second dog to help your first dog, consider adopting a dog that is 2+ years old, this way you have a better gauge of their personality compared to a very young puppy. Remember to always ask a ton of questions when rescuing a dog from a shelter.
These are just a few things to consider when choosing a second dog. These tips are great, but the most important information and decisions should be based on your first dog in order to help make the transition go as smoothly as possible. If you live in the Austin and Leander area and need help selecting or training your second dog, please contact us.
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* I have met plenty of great, stable, well-socialized dogs that belong to the “bully” category. Training makes our dogs act and behave in certain ways, but breed traits should always be considered as well. My point is to make stack the deck in your favor.