If you’re considering adding in a second dog to your family, read this first!
As a dog-mum of three wonderful dogs (Indie, Shelby & Lucy), I’m pretty well versed on the multi-dog household and want to give you some tips and advice on the ideal time to introduce a new dog to the family with your existing dog.
It can be really tough to fight the urge to bring home a second puppy because the first one is so cute, and doing so well and you’re absolutely through the puppy blues, and it could be easier to just get all of this jazz done at the same time and leverage the efficiencies of having more than one dog, right?
I mean, if you’ve raised one, raising a second can’t be that much work, right?
Well, yes and no to both of those questions.
Here’s my recommendation….
When Is The Best Time To Get A Second Puppy?
When your first puppy is about 2 years old.
Aka, this is when you’ve finished the bulk of your training the first one to a reasonable and reliable standard. At this age, your dog (whilst still lively and energetic) is a lot more level headed, there will be fewer emotional swings, developmental changes and other factors associated with growth that will affect your dogs’ temperament.
When your dog reaches this stage, you naturally kind of take your foot off of the gas, and you get to enjoy your dog and switch your training to cruise control.
This is the perfect time to get a puppy, or throughout your existing family dogs’ adult life but before they become a senior.
The Benefits of Multi-dog Households
✅ Feeding, cleaning, watering and walking are no more work than one dog.
✅ They’re great playmates for one another
✅ You can occasionally fill a gap with a second pup (like if you wanted a cuddle dog but your first isn’t a cuddler)
✅ You can leverage things like recall training
Getting a second dog can be a great idea, and it can be everything you needed and more! Two dogs is double the joy, after all and if one dog is good, wouldn’t two dogs be better?
They can give you a lot of laughs and joy, and it can be a real blast having two woofs around the house.
The Problem With Multi-dog Households
❌ Training takes way more work
❌ Vets bills are more expensive for contagious things
❌ Each dog needs alone time with paw-rents.
❌ They can teach each other bad habits before you curb the behaviour.
❌ Things get furrier twice as quick
This is where the reality hits, having more than one dog is not really as ‘time efficient’ as a lot of people think it is. You don’t tend to get bulk discounts with anything dog either, because they know you need it. So, sadly it’s rarely cheaper to have two dogs either. It makes holidays much more expensive and it becomes a little bit of a task to keep up with everything.
Bad Reasons To Get A Second Dog
❌ To Help Your Existing Dog With Separation Anxiety
❌ To fix any behavioural issue
You run the risk of creating two monsters with who you’re struggling to cope with. Instead of getting a second dog, get a trainer or behaviourist involved. This means that you can bring your pup into an emotionally stable and confident state – and if you can do this? You may not even want a second dog! And can you imagine, if you ended up with two struggling with the same thing? Gosh, one reactive dog is enough!
My View As A Dog Mum of 3
In my opinion? I’ll never plan on having three dogs again. It’s a lot of work to meet everyone’s needs. Especially if they decide they’re in a bad mood that day, or similar (which happens!). Sure it has it’s perks. There are moments of my day that are pure joy when they’re all interacting and being fun, but there are also moments where they all decide a thing his happening and you have a german shepherd keen mind, and two, obsessive coonhound minds that don’t like to let things go that I sometimes have to remind myself that I love my dogs, I really do love them…. And that’s the reason I wear this shirt sometimes! (Warning! Foul language)
Sometimes my patience is less than divine! And that’s okay. But it definitely is a consideration I’d urge you all to think about before committing to a second dog.
Sometimes? One Is Enough
Remember this too! Just because you have the urge to get a second dog, doesn’t mean you need to.
Take everything I’ve said into account above, and of course, make your own decision. But I promise you? Sometimes it’s easier said than done, and that’s a huge reason that I would urge you to wait until puppyhood is truly over on round one, before heading into round two. That’s my very best advice for you and your puppy!
And, if you’re wondering about how best to introduce your puppy to your existing dog, this one’s for you.
Author, Ali Smith
Ali Smith is the Positive Puppy Expert, dog trainer and is the founder of Rebarkable. She is passionate about helping puppy parents get things right, right from the start. To help create a puppy capable of being a confident and adaptable family member and keep puppies out of shelters.
Ali has won multiple awards for her dog training, and has had her blog (this blog!) rated as 2021’s worlds’ best pet blog!