As I walk my 3 four-legged friends around our beautiful neighborhood, I’m seeing a trend of families having more than one dog. Two, three and even four seem to be a new number. If you are contemplating an addition to your family, you need to consider the dynamics of another dog in your day to day life.
You might want to start with my post “Things to consider before getting a dog”, and now add another dog into the equation. You will quickly see how things can double or triple in nature of taking care of multiple dogs!
Prospective multiple dog owners would ask me if working with the three dogs is easier. My answer would always be “it depends!” Miya (read her story) was quite easy and picked up from Jackie the routine fairly quickly. Meesha on the other hand, is much different and is much more difficult to house train. On the other hand Meesha is much easier to teach commands than Miya was. So the answer is “it depends!”
When is the best time to get a second dog?
There are many professionals that recommend when a dog is 3 to 5 years old to introduce another dog/puppy. When we decided to get Miya we waited until Jackie was 10 years old. This in the end seemed to be a bit long. Jackie was acceptable of Miya and was happy for the company, but there was a big difference in age for playing, walking and just plain romping around. That story can be found with Jackie our Golden Girl. Miya on the other hand loved being with other dogs. She couldn’t wait to charge into a dog play area and pick up with her pals a game of pull the rope, catch or not give back the ball and hide and seek!
Miya and Jackie first meet
We wanted to make sure that Jackie and Miya’s first meeting was on neutral grounds. Since Jackie has been the sole dog of the family and technically this was her home. The first greeting was a large bark from Jackie when Miya tried to hang off of her as she did with her mom Kennedy. The look on Miya’s face was priceless. The stage was now set on who was in charge!
We lead them both in the yard and we watched as Miya followed Jackie around just to make sure things were going well. Well Miya continued to follow her big sister Jackie around like a shadow which proved to be great since Jackie pretty much trained Miya to go outside to pee and poo. Miya also adapted to Jackie and my schedule of walks and errands and day to day life.
More to think about
Another regular question is “Do your dogs get along?”. Well again that is easily answered with “it depends!”. Jackie is now 13 years old and doesn’t appreciate a puppy climbing all over her. So we tend to segregate the two of them by putting gates and keeping them a part when we see Jackie has had enough. We first tried to add a second dog when Jackie was a year old, the other dog was about 4 months old but this was too soon. Jackie was not receptive to having another dog at the time. Perhaps due to the fact she herself was only 1 year old. So another family adopted the puppy. You need to consider the age of both dogs.
Miya (being 3 years of age) on the other hand thinks it just great to have a full time playmate in the house. They play for hours, which can increase destruction of your home as they tend to play quite hard. My yard doesn’t have much grass in it anymore due to dog’s wrestling and running on it.
When you start to train your new puppy, take him/her out on their own. This way you both have the full attention of each other. Otherwise you may have the other dogs quite interested in getting treats as well and will be quite disruptive to your training session. Miya is the instigator and has recently contributed to having Meesha forming bad habits. She wants to partake in the training as well as take the extra attention away from Meesha!
Each dog still requires their own attention. I walk Jackie separately to give her quality time with me, not to mention she can’t walk as far as the others.I also take Miya on her own, since she needs to have her quality time with me as well. This also gives Miya a bit of a break from Meesha, since Meesha tends to hang off her neck a lot. So make sure whenever you can, to provide each dog their own quality time with you.
So I leave you to think about what works for you and your family. I would be happy to hear of your stories of getting another dog. Especially your experiences as they grow up.