INTRODUCING A NEW DOG TO YOUR HOME
Opening your home and heart to a new dog can be exciting, but there are many things to consider before adding a new member to your pack, especially when you already have a fur baby at home.
Before taking the plunge, it’s essential to examine the pros and cons. This is a decision that will affect your family significantly, so being prepared and educated is the key to keeping the household in balance.
The process of introducing a new dog to the home can be taxing at first, but in the end, your family will experience double the love! Dogs truly are man’s best friend, and what better way to spread the love than by expanding your fur family?
You’ll also be able to provide Dog #1 with a playmate/wrestling buddy/partner in crime. Historically, canines are pack animals, and adding a second pup can help them feel more socialized and less lonely. Dogs with separation anxiety may feel more at ease when you are away from home if there is another dog with them. Most importantly, you are giving a new pup a happy and safe place to call home.
In addition to doubling the love, you will also be doubling everything else that comes with having a dog. This includes vet visits, food, grooming, potty clean up, training, and more. It’s essential that you consider finances and time management before bringing home the new dog. Can you afford to give two pups the same creature comforts you provide for one?
You also want to take note of how compatible the two dogs will be. You may notice some sibling rivalry, jealousy, and bad habits.
Don’t think of these as dealbreakers! Yes, another dog can be a lot of work, but if you and your family are ready for the task, it can be the most rewarding decision you’ll make.
One of the biggest factors when deciding if to become a two-dog household is determining whether or not Dog #1 is ready for the addition. Just because you are ready for another companion, doesn’t mean that your dog is. If your pup at home is not the most dog-friendly, it’s best to test the waters before committing to a second dog. You could ask other dog parents you know to meet you in an outside area with their pups to see how your dog does. If your attempts don’t go as planned, try investing some time in behavioral training.
Your current dog and the adopted dog may not be the best of friends right away. Don’t be discouraged if they aren’t hitting it off in the beginning. Similar to humans, they need time to adjust, and if that means coexisting, that is a win! You’ll want to have the dogs meet somewhere outside of your home, like the dog park. This encounter will ease the transition and allow them to meet each other on neutral territory without it being an overwhelming experience. Try taking them on a walk to learn to walk alongside one other in a neutral space.
Once home, keep the two dogs separate with dog gates or crate training, and gradually let them intermingle. You’ll also want to feed them in separate areas, as they may experience resource guarding with food. This can extend to other things like toys or spaces. It’s of utmost importance that each dog has its own safe space.
Things to Consider
Activity Level, Age, and Size:
Is your dog at home a couch potato or a high-energy breed? You may want to find a pup with a similar activity level to avoid conflict within the home.
You can find similar issues with dogs in different age ranges and sizes. A senior dog may bode well with an adult dog rather than a puppy, or a 100-pound dog might not be a good match for a 5-pound dog.
You may find this is not the case. Use your knowledge of your current dog to find the best match.
Gender and Breed:
Does your pooch prefer dogs of the opposite sex or get along with particular breeds? Generally, males and females do better together as there is less competition for them in the home. There are always exceptions, and with proper introductions dogs of any kind can learn to live together.
No matter what the breed, age, sex, etc. it’s important to remember that every dog is an individual. While there are characteristics that can help you find your pup’s perfect match, every dog’s personality is unique.
Being consistent at home will set your dogs up for success when it comes to coexisting in their new environment. If you are ever frustrated, don’t hesitate to reach out to your vet, trainer, online forums or communities, or friends and family for advice!
Blog Post Written By: Jasmine Kemper
JustFoodForDogs Nutrition Consultant