We were out in Weston a few days ago working with a current Dog Guard Out of Sight Fence client and their dog. She had her Golden Retriever for about two years and thought it was time to get another dog. We, of course, could help her make sure the new dog would not get out of her yard. Knowing that we were also master dog trainers and had worked with over 3,000 dogs, she had a general dog ownership question for us. She had heard good and bad things about bringing additional dogs into the family and was wondering if we could give her some advise and observations about bringing an additional dog into the family.
The first thing that we always ask people is if they are ready for the additional responsibilities and time requirements of having multiple dogs. If they use a neighbor to “doggie sit” their dog, will their neighbor “doggie sit” two dogs? When they travel with their dogs, to the hotels where they normally stop accept more than one dog? Are they willing to pay for the additional costs of the second dog? Don’t forget that pet food isn’t cheap. Vet bills will probably double. Hotels might charge additional fees for two dogs or you might have to stay in more expensive hotels. Does your association allow you to have multiple dogs? The (possible) additional noise of the two dogs playing in the back might not be acceptable to your neighbors. Do you have time for two dogs? Could your home insurance increase because of having multiple dogs? I am not trying to be a nudge or trying to let the “air out of your new doggie balloon”. I just want you to be prepared for what you should expect.
Let’s say that you are fine with all the situations that I have just finished mentioning. Now it is time to turn to your dog and think about the type and breed of dog you should consider.
- If your dog is dog aggressive, protective of you, or territorial or areas, food, or toys; you might want to stop thinking about second new dog.
- If your dog is more of a “couch potato” or over seven years old, don’t get a puppy.
- Get a dog that is roughly the same size of your current dog. This will make play time safer for both of them.
- Make sure that both dogs have been neutered or fixed.
- If you want a calmer household, do not consider breeds such Jack Russels, Boxers, Labs, Golden Retrievers, or Dalmatians. (Great dogs, just high energy!)
Now that we have jumped through this hurdle, it is now time to start your search. Here are some more tips:
- Have a family meeting and ask “What kind of dog would you like?”. Dogs you have had in the past, favorite neighbor dogs, or the “I always wanted a …” normally will be mentioned. Perform research on the internet. Dog Breeder Info Center is a great place to look.
- High energy dogs might not be a good choice if you have small children.
- If you live in an apartment or have a very small back yard, a big dog requiring a lot of exercise might not be appropriate.
- A high energy dog might not be appropriate if you work long hours or can’t devote at least one or two hours a day to his exercise and play.
- We have always been big supporters of the Humane Society, Animal Shelters, and Rescue Groups. There are so many great dogs already out there, it really isn’t necessary to go to the pet stores or local breeders.
Once you have identified your potential next dog, you need to see if he will truly be a good fit for you and your current dog.
- Have your dog and your potential doggie meet at the Humane Society, Shelter, or Rescue location. You should meet in a fence enclosed, outside environment and have both doggies on leashes. They should approach each other and exchange their doggie sniffs. If you see that there is any sign or fear, aggression, or nervousness, separate them. Once you see that they are calm and aren’t focused on eachother, drop the leashes and allow them to wander. Never be too far. If needed, step on the leash, pick it up, and separate them.
- Repeat the above process for a second and possibly third visit to assure that they are fine with each other. If, after three sessions, there are still signs of aggression or fear, this is not the right fit.
If everything is going well, you are ready for the next step.
- Have both dogs meet in the front of your house. Let them sniff and re-greet each other. Take both of them (with two people) for a little walk around the neighborhood.
- Take your dog inside the house to an open area in sight of the front door. Bring the new dog into the house and let your dog greet him again. Walk them around the house (on leashes). Drop the leashes so they can move on their own. Keep both of them in sight.
- Now take them into the back yard and let them play. Keep the leashes on just in case you need to separate them. Use new toys so that there will not be a “possessive issue” with your dog.
- Feed them separately for the first few days. After that, try feeding them together (much easier). Monitor them for about two weeks to make sure that no lingering food aggression from either might pop up.
Follow these guidelines you are on your way to having a great life with your larger human/canine family. We have five dogs and this process has successfully worked for us. If you have any questions about bringing home multiple dogs, dog training, or out of sight dog fencing, please contact us at lease contact us at The Best Out of Sight Dog Fence Trainers in Weston and South Florida.